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Opinions & Interviews

8 Dec 2017

Belarus plans to extend visa-free program to 10 days in 2018

Belarus plans to extend visa-free program to 10 days in 2018

MIR, 8 December (BelTA) – The period of visa-free travel to Belarus via the Minsk National Airport may be extended to 10 days in 2018, Alexander Ganevich, Deputy Head of the Central Consular Office of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at the offsite session of the Permanent Commission of International Affairs of the House of Representatives in Mir on 8 December, BelTA informs.

When talking about visa liberalization, Alexander Ganevich voiced the plans to extend the visa-free stay to 10 days for those arriving in Belarus via the Minsk National Airport, to 30 days for the duration of the 2019 European Games, and then to expand the program to cover all border checkpoints. The plan for the period up to 2021 is now being discussed by all stakeholders.

Belarus issued up to 300,000 visas a year in 2014-2015 and 275,000 visas in 2016. The number of visas issued in 2017 is expected to fall to 80,000. This will not result in financial losses for the country as the exports of tourism services have been growing. Belarus exported $90 million worth of tourism services in January-August 2017, while the losses from visas not issued amounted to $12 million. This is a positive experience, and we need to build on it, Alexander Ganevich added.

 

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