Written by Costica Dumbrava.
The EU has imposed progressively harsher sanctions on Russia, first in response to Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, and then in response to its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Successive packages of EU sanctions, adopted in the framework of the EU’s common foreign and security policy, include entry restrictions for specific individuals linked to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.
After partially suspending the EU-Russia visa facilitation agreement in February 2022, the Council decided to fully suspend the agreement in September 2022. This made the visa application process for all Russian nationals more expensive, lengthier and subject to increased scrutiny.
The EU Visa Code, which lays down common procedures and conditions for issuing short-stay (Schengen) visas, requires the competent authorities of the Schengen states to examine and decide on each individual visa application. An individual assessment is also required by the Schengen Borders Code when carrying out checks at the EU’s external borders.
In both contexts, the competent authorities of the Schengen state concerned need to assess whether individuals pose a threat to public policy, internal security, public health or international relations. Moreover, an individual who has previously obtained a Schengen visa may still be denied entry into the territory of a Schengen state based on the (separate) risk assessment carried out during the border check. Neither the Visa Code nor the Schengen Borders Code contain provisions on imposing generalised visa or entry bans, however.
Read the complete briefing on ‘EU entry restrictions in relation to Russia’s war on Ukraine‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.