Belarus-EU visa facilitation agreement comes into force on 1 July
The agreements on visa facilitation and readmission between Belarus and the European Union entered into force on 1 July, BelTA reports.
In line with the agreement on visa facilitation, the cost of a short-term Schengen visa for Belarusians has dropped to €35. The agreement also provides for a possibility to waive visa fees for certain categories of applicants. In addition to that, the maximum fee charged by visa application centers for facilitating visa processes has also been reduced, so has the period during which consulates should process visa applications.
Several groups of Belarusian nationals will be able to apply for multiple-entry visas with a longer period of validity (up to five years). The agreement simplifies the documentation which needs to be presented by certain categories of citizens.
Once the readmission agreement comes into force, Belarus and the European Union will have to readmit their own citizens, third-country nationals, and stateless persons, who do not meet or no longer meet the requirements to legally stay in each other's territory. The document provides for a two-year transition period in respect of the readmission of third-country nationals. The joint declaration attached to the readmission agreement obliges the European Union to provide technical and financial assistance to Belarus in this field.
The agreements on visa facilitation and readmission were signed in Brussels on 8 January 2020. The documents were ratified by the National Assembly of Belarus and endorsed by the European Parliament.
The visa facilitation agreement is expected to make mutual travel easier, to promote international contacts and tourism, and to strengthen trust and mutual understanding between peoples.