With the new rules, Russian citizens no longer benefit from privileged access to the EU and “will have to undergo a longer, more expensive and more difficult visa application process”. The new visa regime for Russian citizens takes effect this Monday, September 12.

“A country that, like Russia, is waging a war of aggression, should not be able to benefit from measures aimed at facilitating the issuance of visas as long as it pursues its destructive foreign policy and its military aggression against Ukraine, demonstrating a total disregard for order”, reads the statement released by the European Commission.

“The proposal presented is a strong and united response from the EU. We will soon follow up with additional guidelines to ensure reinforced control of visa applications and border crossings by Russian citizens, without, however, closing the door to dissidents and representatives of Russian civil society”, said Ylva Johansson.

This means that the EU leaves its doors open to Russians who need to travel for "essential" reasons, such as: journalists; civil society representatives; political dissidents; humanitarian reasons; relatives of citizens of EU countries.

“At the moment, there is no basis for trust or a privileged relationship with Russia, nor for Russian citizens to have easy access to the European Union”, added Ylva Johansson, quoted by Público, stressing that “being a tourist in the EU is not a right fundamental”.

The suspension of the agreement on facilitating the issuance of visas puts an end to all the facilities for Russian citizens who apply for a short-stay visa (up to 90 days) for the Schengen area, and the general rules of the Code of visas

In practice, Russian visa applicants will be faced with:

Higher visa fee: Visa fee will increase from EUR 35 to EUR 80 for all applicants;

A longer processing time: the normal timeframe for consulates to make a decision on visa applications will be reduced from 10 to 15 days. This period may be extended up to a maximum of 45 days in specific cases, when it is necessary to carry out a more in-depth analysis of the request;

More restrictive rules regarding multiple-entry visas: applicants will no longer have easy access to valid multiple-entry visas in the Schengen area;

A longer list of supporting documents: when applying for a visa, applicants must present the complete list of supporting documents, rather than the simplified list contained in the Agreement on Facilitation of Issuance of Visas.

And what happens to the 963,000 Russian citizens who have valid visas to enter the Schengen area? Commissioner Ylva Johansson explained that "there is a possibility that these authorizations will be reassessed", quotes the same newspaper.