[Updated] EU: New Guidelines for Implementing Visa Restrictions for Russian Nationals

Last Updated on February 23, 2023

This article was originally published on 22 September 2022 and was updated on 3 October 2022 to reflect new information.  

3 October 2022 Update: The European Commission released additional guidance on the suspension of its visa facilitation agreement with Russia. Under this guidance, European Union (EU) member states are requested to assess the conditions under which Russian citizens are issued a Schengen visa. According to the announcement, this includes taking a stricter approach on issuing visas to Russian citizens fleeing military mobilization.  

The guidance recommends that Russian citizens planning to remain in the EU on a long-term basis must apply for a long-stay visa. For short-term stay purposes, consulates are recommended to examine the need for a humanitarian visa.  

Member states with border entries into the EU are advised to implement stricter entrance requirements and complete more detailed document checks.  

Key Points  

  • The European Commission introduced guidelines to assist EU member states in implementing new changes for the handling of short-term visa applications from Russian nationals  


The European Commission introduced guidelines aimed at assisting European Union (EU) member state consulates in handling short-stay visa applications lodged by Russian citizens. The EU will continue to remain open to Russian visa applicants traveling for essential purposes.  

According to the guidelines, the European Commission recommends that member states’ consulate offices implement the following approaches: 

  • Deprioritize visa applications submitted by Russian nationals for non-essential travel purposes, such as tourism.  
  • Extend the decision processing time period for applications submitted by Russian nationals. Consulates have the potential to expand timeframes from 15 days to up to 45 days for some cases so that more thorough checks on applications can be conducted.  
  • Requesting additional supporting documents to be provided, such as criminal background checks. 

The Commission also advised that member states take the following steps: 

  • Ensure a stricter approach is taken when reassessing valid short-term visas that have previously been issued to Russian nationals. 
  • Revoke short-term stay visas that have been issued to Russian nationals who may present a security threat to the EU. 
  • Refrain from issuing multiple-entry visas with long validity periods and instead issue single-entry visas with shorter validity periods. 

For additional information and insight into the proposed guidelines for EU member states and their process for issuing short-term stay visas to Russian nationals, check here.  

What are the Changes?  

The European Commission introduced recommended changes for EU member states’ consulates to consider when issuing visas to Russian nationals. According to the announcement, these guidelines are intended to assist member states in ensuring that consulates can implement proper measures for the processing of short-term visas following the suspension of the EU visa facilitation agreement with Russia.  

Looking Ahead  

Continue to check the European Commission’s website and Envoy’s website for additional information regarding the suspension of the EU’s visa facilitation agreement with Russia. Additional information on the crisis in the Ukraine can be found here.  

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Content in this publication is for informational purposes only and not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an attorney at one of the two U.S. Law Firms working with the Envoy Platform or another qualified professional. On non-U.S. immigration issues, consult an Envoy global immigration service provider or another qualified representative.