On 27 February 2014, the EU Delegation to Armenia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the EU Advisory Group jointly organised public awareness event on the EU – Armenia Visa Facilitation Agreement (VFA) for media and interested civil society representatives. Mr Dirk Lorenz, Head of political, economic, press and information section of EU Delegation and Mr Sergey Manassarian, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs presented the EU and Armenia expectations of the implementation of the Visa Facilitation Agreement.
The purpose of the public awareness event was to provide journalists and selected civil society organisations with enhanced knowledge of the VFA that entered into force on 1 January 2014. A special emphasis was placed on benefits for Armenian citizens. The event also discussed the role of the EU Schengen Consulates in the implementation of the Visa Facilitation Agreement and the link with the Readmission Agreement, which also entered into force on 1 January 2014.
EU-Armenia Visa Facilitation Agreement covers simplified procedures for processing short-stay visas i.e. for intended stays of no more than 90 days in any 180-day period for the Schengen area.
The main benefits of the new rules for Armenian citizens are:
- Decision procedure on the visa application is quicker – a decision is taken within 10 calendar days from the date of the receipt of the admissible visa application and the supporting documents. This period may be extended up to 30 days when further scrutiny is needed.
- The visa fee is lower – 35 euro for all Armenian citizens (instead of 60 euro).
- The application process is easier for many categories of citizens who have to present less documents to justify their purpose of travel.