APRIL 1 2013 19:04h

Russians, Ukrainians, Turks need visa for Croatia

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 Croatia, which is due to join the European Union on 1 July, starts applying the European Union visa regime for all citizens from non-EU countries as of Monday, 1 April, which means that tourists from some of the countries such as Turkey, Russia, and Ukraine from where a rising number of holiday-makers has been arriving in Croatia in recent years, will be required to have visas when entering Croatia.

This has caused fears in Croatia's tourism sector that visa requirements for those categories of guests may cause certain difficulties, which's why the tourism ministry in cooperation with the foreign and European affairs ministry has worked on finding solutions to simplify the procedure for issuing visas to tourists from Turkey, Russia and Ukraine and other non-EU countries.

Tourism Minister Darko Lorencin has announced that applications will be invited for selecting tour operators and travel agencies that will collect necessary documents on the said markets for issuing visas to tourists coming from the above-mentioned three countries so as to expedite the procedure. Also. the Croatian foreign ministry has sent a number of its employees to those countries for the same purpose.

Croatia was required to align its visa system with that of the European Union no later than three months before accession. Since Croatia is scheduled to join the EU on July 1, its visa system has to be in line with the EU's by April 1.

For entry into Croatia, Russian citizens will be required to apply for a visa with the Croatian Embassy in Moscow, through travel agencies accredited with the Embassy or through visa centres in Russia. The procedure may last no longer than five days and costs for visa issuance will be EUR 35.

The number of Russian visitors in Croatia in 2012 rose 8% year on year and they made 1.6 million overnight stays, up 5.3% y-o-y, according to Croatian's statistical bureau. The Russians, thus, moved upward to be in the group of the top ten countries from where the largest number of tourists came to Croatia in 2012.

Similar models for visa issuance will be applied for guests with Turkish and Ukrainian passports.

In 2012, the number of holiday-makers from Ukraine rose by 25% and their overnight stays also climbed by 25% year-on-year, while the number of Turkish tourists went up by 10%.

Croatian citizens travelling to Turkey will need a visa as of April 1, the Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs said this past Friday. Visas will be available at border crossings or in Turkish diplomatic and consular missions.

Likewise, Turkish citizens, holders of ordinary passports, will need a visa to enter Croatia as of April 1.

More information is available on the ministry's website at: http://www.mvep.hr/hr/konzularne-informacije/vize/pregled-viznog-sustava0/. (Hina)