European Countries to Relax Entry and Visa Requirements for Ukrainian Nationals
Since 24th February when Russia started its invasion of Ukraine, over half a million refugees are said to have fled Ukraine to find shelter in neighboring countries.
Many worldwide governments have opened their borders and welcomed Ukrainian refugees. So far, approximately 600,000 Ukrainians have already escaped their country and this number may increase to millions as the conflict intensifies.
In the face of these tragic events, the entire Europe unified to express its solidarity with Ukraine.
Many European nations have decided to relax their visa and entry procedures for the people fleeing from this unjustified war.
European Countries: New entry and visa requirements
Since 2017, Ukrainian biometric passport holders have been allowed to enter the Schengen Zone's countries and stay for 3 months (90 days) out of every 6 months (180 days) visa-free.
As of 28th February 2022, EU ministers decided to allow the refugees from Ukraine to stay in EU countries for up to 3 years without needing to apply for asylum first.
Poland is welcoming all the refugees from Ukraine, including those people without valid passports.
There are nine reception centers along the Poland-Ukraine border where people fleeing the Russian invasion are offered medical care, food, and information on where to go next to find help.
Poland has already welcomed over 450,000 people escaping from the Ukraine territory. This number is still increasing since the refugees are continuously crossing the Polish border.
The Slovakian authorities, similarly to the Polish government, decided to permit entry to the country to all refugees from Ukraine. Those who do not hold valid travel documents will be also allowed to the Slovak Republic. They, however, are subject to an individual screening.
Those fleeing the war are also declared as temporary refugeesand are permitted to stay in Slovakia for 3 months (90 days).
The British government has made some changes in visa policy for close family members of Ukrainians living in the UK. Now, Ukrainians whose family members are British nationals are eligible for a family migration visa. They can obtain it for free.
Previously, the visa policy included only spouses or civil partners, unmarried partners for at least 2 years, minor children under 18, parents if the grandchild is younger than 18, and adult relatives who are guardians.
Currently, anyone being an adult parent, child over 18, sibling, child over 18, or grandparent of the Ukrainian settled in the UK can also apply for a family migration visa.
Those Ukrainians who do not have relatives in the UK cannot benefit from the new visa regulations.
The UK also plans to open a visa sponsor route allowing British businesses to bring Ukrainians to the island.
As of 25th February 2022, Ireland lifted visa requirements for Ukrainian citizens. The country's authorities allow them to arrive in Ireland without a visa. However, they have 3 months (90 days) after arrival to arrange visa formalities.
The Hungarian government accepts all Ukrainian citizens and legal residents. Hungary will also provide travel documents to those without valid ones after making the proper screening of the persons entering the country.
Romania allows citizens of Ukraine to enter the country based on a biometric or simple passport that will be checked at border checkpoints. Those refugees applying for asylum in Romania may be allowed with other identification forms, like birth certificates or ID cards.
Ukrainian citizens may also enter Romania without holding a valid document for humanitarian reasons. They need only to declare their identity.
Ukrainians who seek a safe transit or stay can also choose Moldova. The country welcomes Ukrainian citizens too. Those who do not hold valid passports can enter Moldova with domestic IDs.
Some Ukrainians have already applied for asylum in Moldova.