GAP Institute and GLPS held a Press Conference on the Visa Financial Costs for Kosovo and Released a Policy Analysis on this issue

May 8, 2013

On 8 May 2013, GAP Institute and GLPS held a press conference and released a Policy Analysis entitled “The Visa Business – Report on the cost of visas for Kosovars in the period 2010-2012.” The press conference opened with a release of the report which provides statistical data on the number of visa applicants, visa refusal rate, embassies with the highest number of visa applications, as well as the direct and indirect costs of acquiring a visa in Kosovo. During the press conference, panelists drew attention to the fact that Kosovo is the only country in the Western Balkans region for which the European Union (EU) applies the visa regime. Over the past three years under this regime, Kosovars living in the poorest country in Europe with the highest unemployment rate have spent 15 million euro on the visa application processes; 9 million euro were spent on direct payment to embassies (visa fee), while nearly 6 million were spent to obtain various supporting documents needed to complete the visa application form. In the last three years, over two-hundred thousand Kosovars applied for a Schengen visa, with a refusal rate of over seventeen percent. It is not likely that this rate will decrease. And those Kosovars that do continue to engage in the process of obtaining visas will face the technical and financial burdens associated with living in a European state that that is still a long way off from visa liberalization. The panelists criticized the slow pace of the reform process that should be supporting Kosovo on its path towards visa liberalization and urged the Government and supporting stakeholders to fully focus on meeting the visa-liberalization criteria in a timely fashion for the benefit of all Kosovo citizens.

The full Policy Analysis can be downloaded by clicking here.

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