The newspaper Vesti has published a story with this misleading headline: “Ukrainians in mass rush for visas: such hopelessness not seen even in the 1990s”. The author Alexandra Kharchenko writes that Ukrainians are desperately applying for Schengen visas, but find that instead they are increasingly being denied.
Despite Ukraine-EU cooperation deepening and a visa-free regime likely to become a reality in the near future, the very process of applying for EU visas will be more complicated with embassies demanding increasingly more documents and general attitudes towards Ukrainians worsening, claims Kharchenko. The number of visa denials has increased significantly, she point out. EU members don’t want Ukrainians coming to their countries because they are overwhelmed with huge numbers of refugees from Syria, a wave of poor, unemployed migrants from Ukraine is the last thing Europe needs, claims Kharchenko.
According to visa centers and European consulates the number of visa denials for Ukrainians has not increased, whereas the number of long term visas issued, has.
Citing Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry, the Livyi Bereh newspaper writes that in 2013 only 39% of the visas issued to Ukrainian citizens were long term visas, whereas in 2014 1.36 million Ukrainians were granted EU visas, 53% of those were multi-entry long term visas.
In 2014 when the EU increased the documentation required for Schengen visas, the number of visa denials for Ukrainians actually decreased by nearly 50% according to Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry.
StopFake asked EU Commission spokesman David Stulik to set the record straight. 2015 visa figures are still being tabulated, he responded, however, the numbers for the previous years don’t show any significant increase in visa denials, which remain at an average 2%.
Official EU records for Ukraine visas
Year number of applications visas issued percentage denied
2014 1,387,086 1,351,757 2%
2013 1,589,963 1,535,407 1.9%
2012 1,313,727 1,283,014 2%
There was a slight decrease in Schengen visas issued to Ukrainians in 2014. Sulik explains this as the result of the April 2014 Visa Facilitation Agreement which allowed more Ukrainians to receive long term multi-entry visas, making frequent reapplication from regular travelers unnecessary.