Countries that are member states of the European Union will use a “flexible approach” to issuing visas to Belarussian nationals in a joint agreement between that country and the multistate union.
Head of the European Union Delegation to Belarus Dirk Schuebel clarified that these would be short-stay visas for travel within the Schengen zone and reminded the press that the new rules apply to all countries in the world as of the 2nd of February of this year.
Improvements to the process include the ability for travellers to apply for a visa 6 months prior to departure as opposed to 3 prior and the ability to process for multiple entry visas with long shelf lifes for frequent travellers will be easier to approve.
Schuebel explained, “At the same time, the visa fee is now €80. The increase is the first one since 2006 and is in line with inflation. The visa fee is still waived for children below 6 years old, as was already the case under the previous rules. The visa fee for minors between the age of 6 and 12 years remains half of the general fee, and thus increases to €40.” Though the agreement between Belarus and the European Union still requires the approval of the EU Parliament, this is largely expected to occur.
At that point, the visa application fee will go from the current rate of €85 to €35 for Belarussian nationals. In some particular cases, visa application fees could even be waived. This is envisioned as applying to people such as athletes and cultural representatives. The intended goal of the new process is to encourage tourism and increased business linkages between Belarus and the European Union member states. To highlight this benefit, Schuebel pointed out that the EU members states are among the most visited places in the world and thus the ease of access this agreement would provide to Belarus and its people cannot be underestimated.