Croatia to simplify visas for Russians and possibly for Turks and Ukrainians

ZAGREB, 7.2.2013.

With regard to Croatia's accession to the European Union (EU), set for 1 July, on 1 April already Croatia will have aligned its visa policy with that of the EU and so Russian and Turkish citizens and those in other non-member states will be subject to classic visa regimes, however, due to the importance of Russia's markets we will endeavour to simplify the issuance of visas as much as possible, the Tourism Ministry said on Thursday.

The ministry informed that due to the importance and potential lying in the Russian market, the foreign ministry, Croatian Tourism Board (HTZ), Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) and tourism agencies conducted a meeting to discuss "Croatia's visa policy in light of joining the EU" with special emphasis on Russia.

Russian citizens will have visas issued promptly, in most cases within five days from submitting their application with the possibility of being issued with multiple entries, the ministry said.

The meeting heard that anyone with a valid Schengen document would not need any additional Croatian visa in the period leading up to Croatia's accession.

Visas for Russian citizens will be issued in the Croatian Embassy in Moscow but will also be available through accredited tourism agencies.

Head of consular sector at the foreign ministry Vinko Ljubicic advised that 150,000 visa applications were expected from Russia and that visas issued through tourism agencies would facilitate their issuance.

The number of tourists coming to Croatia from Ukraine and Turkey is growing each year and the visa regime cannot be suspended, Croatia is engaged in preparing conditions with the embassies in Kiev and Ankara similar to those that will apply to Russian citizens. (Hina)