MINSK, 30 June (BelTA) – The Belarus-EU visa facilitation and readmission agreements will contribute to closer links between Belarus and the European Union, Head of the European Union's Delegation to Belarus Dirk Schuebel told BelTA.
“The EU-Belarus Visa Facilitation Agreement and the EU-Belarus Readmission Agreement enter into force on 1 July. These agreements represent an important step for strengthening the EU's engagement with the Belarusian people,” Dirk Schuebel stressed. “They will pave the way for improved mobility of citizens, contributing to closer links between the EU and its Eastern Partnership neighbors,” he added.
Dirk Schuebel noted that the visa facilitation agreement makes it easier for Belarusian citizens to acquire short-term visas to come to the European Union, with the visa fee generally reduced to €35 and waived for certain categories of travelers. In addition, the service fee (charged by visa application centers) has been limited and the deadline for consulates to take a decision on a visa application has been shortened. Several categories of travelers will be able to receive multiple-entry visas with increasingly longer validity (up to five years), while having to submit less supporting documents to prove their purpose of travel.
The European Union and all of its member states are planning for a safe re-opening of Europe once the COVID-19 pandemic recedes. "Protecting the public health remains our priority,” Dirk Schuebel noted.
All EU Member States are in agreement that the lifting of the restrictions on non-essential travel needs to take place in a gradual and coordinated matter as soon we the epidemiological situation allows, the head of the delegation noted.