Azerbaijan, Switzerland, Norway to enjoy visa facilitation
By Nigar Orujova
Azerbaijan is set to facilitate its visa regime with two more countries in the near future.
The government of Azerbaijan has started preparations for signing two separate visa facilitation agreement and readmission with Switzerland and Norway, Azerbaijan's Deputy Foreign Minister Mahmud Mammadguliyev said on September 29.
"The negotiations with Switzerland and Norway on visa
facilitation and readmission have already been completed. Now, we
are preparing for signing the final agreements," he added.
On the date of signing, Mammadguliyev said that first, it is necessary to prepare the ground for signing these agreements and implement other intrastate procedures.
"The facilitated visa regimes with Switzerland and Norway, which are part of the Schengen area, will correspond to the terms of the agreement with the EU," he said.
Azerbaijan and the European Union signed a visa facilitation agreement in late 2013. The readmission agreement with EU was signed in February 2014.
The agreements with the EU countries entered into force in September.
Under the new rule, issuing a visa will be carried out within 10 days with two days more or less in case of emergency. Meanwhile, the cost of the application will decrease to 35 euro for Azerbaijani citizens, and the list of required documents will be reduced for certain categories of the population.
Visa facilitation agreement will also contribute to the development of relations between the EU and Azerbaijani citizens.
However, the new agreement does not cover such EU countries as Denmark, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, as well as Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, which joined the Schengen area.
To date, the EU has signed visa facilitation and readmission agreements with 12 countries, namely, Azerbaijan, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia, Ukraine, Georgia, Cabo Verde and Armenia. All the agreements, excluding the agreement with Cabo Verde, have already entered into force.
Azerbaijan has good relations with both Switzerland and Norway.
Switzerland is one of the largest investors in the non-oil sector of the fast-growing Azerbaijani economy with more than 70 companies with Swiss capital registered in the country. Switzerland invested $185.3 million in Azerbaijan's non-oil sector in 1995-2013.
Since the beginning of the 1990s, Azerbaijan and Norway have developed an increasingly strong relationship. The ties have been growing especially in the field of energy with several Norwegian companies being established in Baku.