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Belarusian foreign minister mentions 90-day visa-free travel program as future possibility

Society 11.12.2017 | 12:55
An archive photo
An archive photo

MINSK, 11 December (BelTA) – The possibility of allowing foreign citizens to stay in Belarus without visas for 90 days was mentioned by Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei in an interview with the TV channel Current Time, BelTA has learned.

When asked about prospects of extending the current five-day visa-free travel option up to 90 days, Vladimir Makei said: “I cannot rule it out”. The official reminded that Belarus had signed a number of agreements on visa-free stay for 30 days. In particular, Belarus has signed such agreements with Israel, the UAE, Qatar, and some other countries.

The Belarusian side is now working to extend the visa-free period up to ten days. “A longer period may be allowed in the future,” added Vladimir Makei.

The Belarusian minister of foreign affairs stressed that as a transit country with an export-oriented economy Belarus is genuinely interested in making its visa regulations as attractive to foreigners as possible. “We are interested in tourists and businessmen coming here for the sake of getting familiar with the business climate in the country and conducting the relevant negotiations,” said the official.

The Belarus president decree on allowing foreign citizens to enter and leave Belarus without visas came into force on 12 February 2017. Citizens of 80 countries, including all the European Union member states, can stay in Belarus for five days without visas provided they enter via the Minsk National Airport. “To stay past the [five-day period], they will have to register with the local police department but we are working to address that, too,” said Vladimir Makei.

Work is also in progress on Belarus' two agreements with the European Union — on facilitating visa regulations and on readmission. Vladimir Makei said he believes that European partners are ready to advance work on this document. “I think we will be able to sign mutually beneficial agreements in the near future,” said Vladimir Makei. In his words, a number of technicalities and a couple of political things, which can be described as problems, are left to be addressed. Work is in progress to address them.

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