The House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus ratified the agreements on visa facilitation and readmission with the EU on Thursday, 2 April.
The next step is ratification by the the National Assembly of Belarus and signing by the president. Then the agreements should be endorsed by the European Parliament, after which the EU Council will be able to officially complete the ratification of the agreements.
They will come into force on the first day of the second month after the parties have notified each other about the completion of the ratification procedures. The visa facilitation agreement will presumably come in force in June 2020.
Recall that Belarus and the EU signed the visa facilitation and readmission agreements in Brussels on 8 January. The agreements envisage the mutual simplification of visa procedures, as well as reducing visa fees to €35.
Belarusians will be able to apply for visas to embassies of European nations and to visa centers. The price for a Schengen visa for Belarusians will drop to €35 while the decision to issue a visa or not will be made within ten days.
The cost of Belarusian visas for the EU citizens will drop to €35 as well. The duration of stay of foreigners in Belarus will be doubled from 90 days per year to 180 days.
On 2 February the revised EU visa code increased the visa fee to €80 worldwide, Belarus included. Some embassies, considering it unfair, introduced relaxations for Belarusian children and youth during the “transition” period.