“On the one hand, we can speak about certain positive changes in visa policy, above all the total number of issued visas, including free-of-charge and multi-entry visas. In addition, there are fewer rejections, some three per cent at present. However, these are general official statistics, while our rating is based on many other indicators, such as the ratio of multi-entry and long-term visas, application processing times and conditions for submission. The latter indicator depends on whether people can submit their applications in several places (the consular and visa departments of embassies), because visa centres charge mandatory fees for document processing, etc. Taken together, all these factors reveal many aspects that must be improved urgently. While the situation has improved somewhat for selected population groups in the past three years, absolutely nothing has changed for ordinary people.
READ ALSO: The Schengen’s Kafkaesque Castles
“When talking about specific countries, it would not be exactly accurate to simply compare their quantitative indicators, because negative parameters are often compensated by some positive ones and vice versa. Therefore, we prefer to speak about specific countries with regard to concrete problems – unjustified rejections, lack of transparency in document processing, etc. However, the most complicated situation right now is with the Italian Consulate. There are also concerns about the British Consulate, which issues only long-term visas (a positive factor, of course) but there is a significant lack of transparency in its document processing procedure. People simply don’t know who to apply to in case of rejection. In this context, the Netherlands should also be mentioned. In my view, visa problems generally arise with countries that are mentally distant from Ukraine and are reluctant to take a closer look at its organizational and administrative culture. They can often demand documents that prove nothing or force visa applicants to resort to forgeries. At the same time, neighbouring Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and the Baltic states have a better understanding of our situation, which is why they are friendlier towards Ukrainian applicants.”
Disclaimer: The print version of the latest issue mentions the NGO as Europe Without Borders. The correct name is Europe Without Barriers.