The agreement between Belarus and Russia on mutual recognition of visas will come into force in the first quarter of 2018.
No borders, no visas?!
The first stage of negotiations on this issue was held in Russia, the next round of talks will take place in Belarus.
The news was made public by Aleksei Begun, Head of the Citizenship and Migration Department of the Belarusian Interior Ministry, on 12 January.
First quarter of 2018
A group of Belarusian and Russian experts will discuss travel regulations for foreigners during the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which will take place in Russia this year.
“The Russian side insists on enforcing the agreement as from Q1 2018 due to the forthcoming football world championship. Both sides are interested in it,” noted Aleksei Begun.
A Belarusian-Russian expert group will be created to discuss how foreign citizens will be able to reach the football venues and travel in transit via Belarus.
Future plans also include arrangements for the 2019 European Games and the 2021 IIHF World Championship in Belarus.
If the agreement on the mutual recognition of visas is passed the two countries will start sharing information about issued and cancelled visas via mutual databases.
At present Belarusian and Russian agencies share information about people, who violate visa-free travel regulations in Belarus and who leave Belarus for Russia.
A drop in the ocean
“We constantly share the relevant information. We add the violators to the list of persons, who are forbidden from entering the Union State of Belarus and Russia,” stressed the official.
According to the source, about 500 violations of the visa-free travel regulations have been detected since the visa-free travel program was launched.
The Belarusian Interior Ministry now puts more efforts into raising the awareness of foreign citizens about the visa-free travel rules.
“The violations are mainly committed by European Union citizens, who have Russian visas and yet use Belarus’ visa-free travel program to enter Russia.
We believe they violate our laws by doing so and add them to the list of people, whose entry to Belarus or to the Union State of Belarus and Russia is forbidden or undesirable,” said Aleksei Begun.