In February 2020, the costs of visa processing will be increased from €60 to €80. The amendment will have a direct bearing on Belarusians.
For the citizens of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, the fee will not change. They will continue to pay 35 euros for the visa — this amount is specified in the agreements of these countries with the EU to simplify the issuance of visas.
The corresponding regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June has been published by the Official Journal of the European Union today.
According to the new rules, applicants will be able to submit their applications 6 months prior to the planned trip instead of the existing 3 months, and no later than 15 days. It also introduces a harmonized approach to the issuing of multiple entry visas to regular travelers with a positive visa history for a period which increases gradually from 1 to 5 years.
Moreover, the visa fee may be waived for children from the age of six years and below the age of 18 years. Where possible, application forms will be completed and submitted electronically.
According to the experts, the upcoming rise is the bad news for the Belarusian authorities.
“This is a very unpopular measure. I think that our Foreign Ministry will do everything to tackle the issue of visa liberalization. By the end of 2019, a Schengen visa will cost Belarusians €35 instead of €80 or € 60,” Vlad Vyalichka, General Director of International Consortium EuroBelarus, believes.
During the events linked to the 10th anniversary of the Eastern Partnership in Brussels, Belarusian Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makey expressed hope that the agreement on visa facilitation will be signed before the end of the year. European Commissioner Johannes Hahn noted that the negotiations on this document were ‘more or less’ completed. After the agreement enters into force, Schengen visas should go down in price to 35 euros (when issued at the embassy), the number of free and long-term visas will increase.