Switzerland and Russia sign Readmission and Visa Facilitation Agreements

Press Release, FDJP, 21.09.2009

Berne. Federal Councillor Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, Head of the Federal Department of Justice and Police, today signed a readmission agreement and an agreement on facilitating the procedure for issuing visas with the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during his state visit to Switzerland. The agreements, which will enter into force at the same time, aim to strengthen co-operation between the two countries in the field of migration.

By signing a readmission agreement, Switzerland seeks to facilitate the readmission of persons not authorised to remain in the host country. The agreement defines which authorities are responsible for determining the person’s nationality and identity, and establishes the operational procedures for the return journey. The agreement also contains provisions for the transit of third-country nationals and stateless persons. Both countries also signed an implementing protocol defining exact procedures.

The Visa Facilitation Agreement provides for the accelerated procedure in issuing short-term visas for Swiss and Russian nationals, and defines the fees for issuing visas. The agreement also regulates visa exemption for holders of diplomatic passports for a stay of maximum 90 days within any six-month period. The agreement brings Switzerland’s practice into line with the policy of the Schengen member states (which concluded a similar agreement with the Russian Federation in June 2007) and thus ensures a uniform visa policy within the Schengen area.

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