Immigration: Belarus Hopes to Reach a Visa Facilitation Agreement With EU Before the Increase of the Schengen Visa Price

Immigration: Belarus Hopes to Reach a Visa Facilitation Agreement With EU Before the Increase of the Schengen Visa Price

Did immigration issues drive us to Brexit? What is the word on the streets right now?

EU hopes to ease visa regime with Belarus in 2018The government of Belarus is hopeful that an agreement with the European Union on visa facilitation for Belarus citizens will be signed soon. Only recently, the Belarus Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Oleg Kravchenko reiterated that Belarus is optimistic on the outcomes of the negotiations on the Schengen visa facilitation and readmission agreements.

“We are at the final stage already. However, I would not want to be very specific, because this is a two-way process. At the same time we are optimistic about the outcomes of the talks,” Deputy Minister Kravchenko said.

In October last year, the head of the European Union Delegation to Belarus, Andrea Wiktorin, said that the EU and Belarus might sign the visa facilitation deal by the end of 2018.

However, now the Belarus officials hope that the agreement takes place before the EU takes a final decision on the increase of the visa price. The EU parliament and council recently agreed on a proposal to update the EU visa rules. Among others, it includes the increase of the Schengen visa fee from €60 to €80.

Upon the signing of an EU-Belarus agreement, the Belarus citizens traveling to the Schengen territory will have to pay a visa fee of €35 instead of €60 as it is now. After the increase in the fees, they will have to pay €40.

The Eastern European country of Belarus is one of the few remaining European countries, which still need a Schengen visa to enter the Schengen Area. The negotiations on visa facilitation for Belarus citizens have started on January 2014.

Currently, Belarusian citizens can visit 77 world destinations visa-free, or by obtaining a visa-on-arrival, including Albania, the Russian Federation, Israel, Turkey and Qatar.

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