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Visa Liberalisation Impact: Ukrainians and Moldovans Save Hundreds of Millions in Schengen Fees Annually


Ukrainian and Moldovan nationals had to pay hundreds of millions in fees for visa applications until they reached an agreement for visa facilitation in 2013, according to Schengen Statistics.

As the data show, between 2009 and 2013, when the visa facilitation agreement was approved, Ukrainians spent €285 million on visa applications, as 3.7 million applications were filed, while Moldovan nationals filed 1.1 million applications, spending €89.8 million in total during the four-year period.

A visa-facilitation agreement enables third-country nationals to apply for visas under facilitated conditions, such as presenting fewer documents, exempting certain categories from visa application – which can be the case for diplomatic position holders, as well as reducing visa application fees, with applicants paying €35 instead of €80 after visa facilitation agreement entered into force.

On average, Ukrainians spent around €71.4 million during this period, and visa applications cost Moldovans around €22.4 million during the same period. In addition, the average amount spent on visa applications that were denied for these two nationalities varies between €2.9 million for Ukranians and €1.1 million for Moldovans.

As the data available between 2009 and 2013 shows, the average number of applicants from Ukraine is almost 892,000, indicating that since 2013, the visa facilitation agreement entered into force, almost €9 million have been saved up. This means that in one decade of visa-free travel to the EU, Ukrainians have spent nearly €9 million less for travelling to the borderless zone.

Commenting on the issue, Besart Bajrami, founder of SchengenVisaInfo.com, said that the number of visa applications that were denied between 2009 and 2013 reached around 36,605, which caused €2.9 million paid by Ukrainian applicants to go to waste.

Based on these calculations, from 2013, when the agreement was signed, until 2023, Ukrainians have saved up €29.2 million,” Bajrami points out.

Similarly, the number of Moldovan applicants in the same period reached 290,000, with the amounts spent on Schengen visa application fees peaking at €5.8 million. Considering that the average number of applicants from Moldova was 80,000, Moldovans have saved around €5.8 million since the visa facilitation agreement became effective in 2013.

However, the number of denied applications of Moldovans between 2009 and 2013 stands at 5,500, on average, indicating that €439,000 have gone up in smoke generally.

Based on this calculation, Moldovans have saved €4.4 million in total for the ten-decade period since the visa agreement was reached in 2013,” Bajrami says.

He also explains that after Moldova reached a visa-free travel agreement with the EU in April 2016, its citizens saved approximately €5.8 million yearly, or a total of €34.9 million.

Comparing data for visa applications filed by Ukrainian nationals between 2009 and 2013, it is evident that the highest number of applications was filed during 2011, with a total of 1.3 million Ukrainians applying for a visa. This means that in 2011 alone, Ukrainians spent €105 million on visa applications, with the fee costing €80.

Moldovans, being considerably smaller in numbers than Ukrainians – 3.4 million compared to 43.7 million, filed fewer applications, but the most significant year for higher application rates was 2009 when 131,419 applications were submitted compared to 51,787 that were filed in the following year. This means that Moldovans’ highest expenses for visa applications were made in 2009, totalling €10.5 million.

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