Belarus and the European Union signed the Agreements on Visa Facilitation and Readmission on 8 January. The ceremony is broadcasted on Belarus MFA’s Instagram.
The agreement will come in force on the first day of the second month after the exchange of instruments of ratification. The decreased visa fee for Belarusians will be presumably available in June.
Minsk and Brussels have been conducting negotiations on visa facilitation and readmission for more than five years. The first agreement simplifies the procedure for obtaining a Schengen visa, the second is important for migrants from other countries and law enforcement agencies.
Negotiations on these agreements were “at the final stage” for several years now. More than five years later, on 8 January 2020, the signing ceremony took place in Brussels, Belgium.
The agreements envisage the mutual simplification of visa procedures, including the reduction of visa fees to €35, as well as Belarus-EU cooperation in the field of readmission.
The agreements should be ratified by the National Assembly of Belarus and approved by the European Parliament. Both agreements will enter into force on the same day.
Recall that starting 2 February 2020 the revised EU visa code will become applicable, which, among other changes, will increase the visa fee to €80 worldwide, including in Belarus.
The increase would be temporary only until the visa facilitation agreement enters into force. The Schengen visa fee would then automatically decrease from €80 to €35 for all Belarusian citizens.