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Opinions & Interviews

1 Nov 2017

USA embassy in Minsk to start issuing tourist visas to all Belarusians in 2018

USA embassy in Minsk to start issuing tourist visas to all Belarusians in 2018

MINSK, 1 November (BelTA) – The Embassy of the United States of America in Belarus is going to expand the choice of consular services and intends to start issuing tourist visas to all Belarusians in 2018, BelTA learned from U.S. Charge d’affaires to Belarus Robert Riley on 1 November.

The diplomat said: “For the first time in ten years we intend to expand consular services in Minsk. Today we make the first step: we will reduce the age requirement for non-immigration visa applicants from 70 to 50 years.”

Robert Riley specified that the new requirement will come into effect as of 1 November. It will apply to guest visas, tourist visas, and business visas (B1/B2 category). “Certainly, this age requirement may seem steep to young people but it will allow a large number of Belarus citizens to get visas,” noted the diplomat.

“We intend to allow all citizens of the Republic of Belarus to apply for non-immigration visas starting early 2018. For the first time in ten years any resident of Belarus will be able to come to the U.S. embassy in Minsk in order to get an American visa. They will not have to go to neighboring countries,” pointed out the diplomat. Robert Riley explained that the decision had been prompted by the worsening relations between the United States and Russia. “The shutdown of visa services for Belarus citizens in the U.S. embassy in Moscow accelerated the process. We saw that the complicated visa acquisition process that Belarus citizens had to deal with became even more complicated. We have tried to accelerate the expansion of visa services so that complications in USA-Russia relations would not affect Belarus citizens,” he stressed.

Yet Robert Riley could not specify the exact date when the decision would come into force because the embassy has to lay down some groundwork first.

Another novelty will come into effect as of 1 November. Applicants of any age, whose American visa of any kind expired less than one year ago, will be able to apply for a new visa in Minsk. All the other visa application procedures will stay unchanged.

Robert Riley thanked the Belarusian government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for tight cooperation on the matter. He remarked that the embassy had managed to make the step to expand consular services in Minsk rather promptly.

 

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