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27 May 2020

Belarus-EU visa facilitation agreement may come into force on 1 July

Belarus-EU visa facilitation agreement may come into force on 1 July
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MINSK, 27 May (BelTA) – The Belarus-EU agreements on visa facilitation and readmission may come into force on 1 July, if the EU notifies Belarus about the completion of the ratification procedure by the end of May, BelTA learned from Andrei Shuplyak, Deputy Head of the Information and Digital Diplomacy Office of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“We welcome this step of the European Union and expect to receive the official notification about the completion of the ratification procedure in the nearest future. If this happens in May, the agreements will come into force on 1 July,” Andrei Shuplyak said.

A reminder, on 27 May the European Union approved the agreements on visa facilitation and readmission with Belarus. The two agreements were earlier passed by the European Parliament. Now Belarus and the EU need to exchange the instruments of ratification and thus complete the ratification procedure.

Belarus ratified the agreements back in April. On 2 April the documents were approved by the House of Representatives and the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of Belarus. On 9 April the laws on the ratification of the agreements were signed by the Belarusian president.

The agreement on visa facilitation provides for mutual facilitation of visa procedures for a broad spectrum of citizens and for reducing visa fees. The cost of a Schengen visa for Belarusians will drop to €35 while the decision to issue a visa or not will be made within ten days (30 days if additional background checks are required). Many groups of Belarusian nationals will be able to get the visa free of charge and apply for multiple-entry visas with a long period of validity.

The cost of Belarusian visas for European Union citizens will drop to €35 as well. Apart from that, the list of justifications for issuing free visas for non-commercial purposes will be expanded. The duration of stay of foreigners in Belarus will be doubled from 90 days per year to 180 days.

Once the readmission agreement comes into force, Belarus and the European Union will have to readmit (take back) 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.

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