How visa requirements work in practice: to Europe and back in one day

Experience of the first visa-free trip to Lithuania: what customs officers asked at the border and what can one have time to see in one day in Europe

Irina Gudz
journalist
Yesterday the visa-free regime with the European Union began to work. And in the first two days it was tested by 2,302 Ukrainians, having entered without visas to Poland, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Greece and other countries.

I flew to the Lithuanian capital Vilnius for a day, where, three and a half years ago, the runaway president Viktor Yanukovich “changed his mind” to sign an agreement with Europe in order to taste what Ukraine was heading for about 10 years.

For a trip to Lithuania, obviously, tickets were needed in both directions, which could be purchased even a few days before the flight. Another unconditional condition, which everyone has long been aware of, is a biometric passport. I did it well, back in May 2016, so I did not have to wait half a day.

She also issued international medical insurance for three days of staying abroad, paying 60 UAH and spending less than half an hour a few days before departure. True, neither Ukrainian nor Lithuanian customs officials asked her to show it, because this is not an obligatory requirement for a visa-free regime. But still Ukrainians who go abroad, it is advised to do it. It is inexpensive, you can even register online with almost any insurance company, but it can help you, if suddenly you need medical help abroad.

In addition, the day before the flight, on Saturday, I called the contact center of my bank, warning that I will be abroad in the next few days and intend to use my payment card. After all, the bank can block the card if it sees an operation from atypical locations for the client.

The plane to UIA in Vilnius departed at 11:45 on June 11, and at 13:00 we were already at the Vilnius airport.

Passport control passed without a single problem – all the passengers of our aircraft were admitted to the country, asking to show only the passport and tickets. When I asked why they did not ask about financial security, the customs officer, smiling, replied: “You are for one day, no more documents are needed, a good stay at our place.”