MP: Enforcement of Belarus-EU visa facilitation agreement in June is realistic

The enforcement of the visa facilitation agreement with the European Union in June 2020 is a realistic and achievable goal, Chairman of the Standing Commission on International Affairs of the House of Representatives Andrei Savinykh has told the ONT TV channel, BelTA has learned.

Belarusian MPs are expected to ratify the visa facilitation agreement with the European Union at the spring session. “It is not a problem with us. We have already declared our readiness to ratify this agreement in a priority manner at the spring session that will commence on 2 April. I think we will do it on the first or second day,” Andrei Savinykh said.

Once the documents are ratified by the Belarusian parliament, they should be endorsed by the European Parliament. They might come into force on the first day of the second month after the sides have notified each other about the completion of the ratification procedures. The visa facilitation agreement is expected to come into effect in June 2020. “We will try to make it happen. This is a sensible and achievable goal,” the MP believes.

Belarus and the European Union signed the agreement on facilitating visa procedures on 8 January. The visa facilitation agreement provides for mutual facilitation of visa procedures for a broad spectrum of citizens and for reducing visa fees. Citizens will be able to apply for visas to embassies of European nations and to visa centers.

The Schengen visa fee for Belarusians will drop to €35 while the decision to issue a visa will be made within ten days (30 days if additional background checks are required). Many groups of citizens will be able to apply for visas without paying the fee depending on the purpose of the visit and will be able to get multiple-entry visas with longer periods of validity using a simplified procedure. The cost of Belarusian visas for the European Union citizens will drop to €35 as well. In addition to that, the grounds for the visa waiver 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.