Council of EU endorses agreements on visa facilitation, readmission with Belarus

On May 27, the Council of the European Union adopted two decisions to conclude a visa facilitation agreement and a readmission agreement with Belarus.

“The visa facilitation agreement <…> simplifies the documentation which needs to be presented by certain categories of citizens as well as the issuance of multiple entry visas for some categories of frequent travellers. It also reduces the general fee for processing visa applications to 35 euros. Holders of diplomatic passports are exempt from the visa obligation. This agreement applies to short term travel, defined as a stay of no more than 90 days in any 180 days period,” the official statement reads.

In turn, the readmission agreement sets out clear obligations and procedures for EU member states and Belarus on the readmission of citizens illegally residing in the territory of the other party without authorisation.

On January 8, Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, together with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior of Croatia as Council Presidency, Davor Božinović, signed the two agreements for the EU, while Belarus was represented by Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makey.

Belarusian deputies and European lawmakers ratified the agreements on April 2 and May 13 correspondingly. As the EU and Belarus are expected to exchange ratification notes in May, Schengen visas for Belarusians may cost €35 starting July, 1.

Poland cancels visa fees for Belarusian children and youth, via