Russia Schengen Agreement

[273] These agreements define a border area that can extend on either side of the border for up to 50 kilometres (31 miles) and provide for the granting of permits for local border traffic to the inhabitants of the border area. Permits may be used to cross the border within the border area, are not stamped at the border crossing and must indicate the name and photo of the holder, as well as a clarified statement that the holder does not have the right to move outside the border area and that any abuse is punishable by criminal penalties. Visa liberalisation negotiations between the EU and the Western Balkans (excluding Kosovo) started in the first half of 2008 and were completed in 2009 (for Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia) and 2010 (for Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina). Before the total abolition of visas, the Western Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia) had signed in 2008 "visa facilitation agreements" with the Schengen countries. Visa facilitation agreements were then intended to reduce waiting times, reduce visa fees (including free visas for certain categories of travellers) and reduce red tape. However, in practice, the new procedures have proved to be longer, more cumbersome and more costly, and many people have complained that it is easier to obtain visas before the entry into force of the facilitation agreements. [290] [291] [292] Certain third-country nationals are allowed to stay in the Schengen area for more than 90 days without having to apply for a visa for an extended stay. . . .

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