EU urges stricter visa procedure, border check for Russian citizens

European Commission demands higher scrutiny from member states in response to Russia’s escalation of security threat.

EU urges stricter visa procedure, border check for Russian citizens

The European Commission urged on Friday EU member states to apply stricter visa procedures and border checks for Russian citizens in response to the increased security threat.

The recent events, including partial military mobilization in Russia, the illegal annexation of four Ukrainian regions by Russia, Moscow’s nuclear rhetoric, as well as the suspected sabotage attacks against the Nord Stream pipelines underline that the European Union is facing an “escalation of security threat,” Ylva Johansson, EU commissioner for home affairs, said at a news conference in Brussels.

In order to adapt to these security challenges, the EU executive body updated its visa and border guidelines, she explained.

The new rules demand EU member states apply “stricter, more thorough” security checks when they issue visas to Russian citizens.

Authorities should act with a “restricted approach” when assessing individual reasons for the visa application, including the case when someone is fleeing Russia because of military mobilization.

They should also assess carefully and deny the application if a person asks for a 90-day visa with the aim of staying longer in the EU, Johansson added.

EU member states should only accept applications from Russian citizens filed in consulates on Russian territory and refuse those who start the procedure from a third country.

The EU countries are also invited to revise the already granted visas to ensure higher security scrutiny.

In addition to these, authorities are demanded to carry out heightened border controls.