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FYROM: Free EU visa regime enters into force

20. December 2009. | 09:36

Source: MIA

EU lifted visa requirements for citizens of FYRMacedonia, Serbia and Montenegro after experts' missions confirmed the three countries meet visa liberalization roadmap conditions.

Visa-free travel of FYR Macedonian citizens in the European Schengen space has become available as of Saturday.

Following the decision by the Council of EU Home Affairs and Justice Ministers by the end of November, short-term visas for FYRMacedonian nationals up to 90 days within six months, i.e. 180 days within a year, are annulled.

Only individuals possessing biometric passports can travel visa-free, whereas those having old passports should possess a valid Schengen visa.

The visa liberalization enables travel in 25 of 27 EU member-states, (except Great Britain and Ireland), as well as three other European countries - Norway, Switzerland and Iceland.

The standard procedure for third-country passengers will be applied when entering these states, whereas the border officer could ask for an explanation regarding the travel, place of stay or cost coverage. Those who will not be able to finance their stay could be asked to present a guarantee letter from the host.

Visa abolishment also refers to Greece, where citizens should present a sheet for entry/exit stamps, which can be obtained at the Greek Liaison Office in Skopje and the Bitola-based Greek Consulate, as well as border crossings. Citizens should hold these papers during their stay in Greece and other Schengen zone countries.

Besides the biometric passports and the above-mentioned sheet, FYRMacedonian nationals could also be asked to present documents justifying the visit's objective, as well as health insurance, documents proving they are employed, students or pensioners, along with EUR 50 for each day spent in Greece.

Visas will also not be required for travel in Bulgaria and Romania, which have still not met the Schengen system requirements, but apply its regulations.

The European Commission Delegation to Skopje has developed and distributed a leaflet having all required information, which is set at its website. Recommendations include vigilance when selecting a travel agency, travel and health insurance, as well as an international driving license and 'green card' when travelling with own vehicle.

On occasion of the annulment of visas for FYRMacedonian citizens, event titled "White Day - Visa-Free Macedonia" was held at Skopje square "Macedonia" on Friday evening. The celebration organized by "Lithium Records" included the performances of Macedonian singers, as well as foreign entertainers such as Zdravko Colic and "Fatboy Slim".

FYRMacedonian and Bulgarian Presidents, Gjorge Ivanov and Georgi Parvanov respectively, will mark the start of the visa-free regime at border crossing Deve Bair-Gyeshevo on Saturday, through the symbolic lift of the border ramp.

Moreover, the FYRMacedonian Government organizes Saturday a free one-day visit to Paris for 100 citizens, who will be the first Macedonian nationals to feel the benefits of visa-free travel and the European spirit.

They will be accompanied by Vice Premier for European Affairs Vasko Naumovski, Minister of Interior Gordana Jankuloska, 20 best students from country's universities and journalists.

EU lifted visa requirements for citizens of FYRMacedonia, Serbia and Montenegro after experts' missions confirmed the three countries meet visa liberalization roadmap conditions.

Upon Slovenia's proposal, the decision for transfer of the three countries on the 'white' Schengen list will enter into force on December 19 instead of January 1, thus giving the opportunity to countries' nationals to spend the Christmas and New Year's holidays with relatives and friends in the EU


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