Lukashenka signs law on ratification of agreement on mutual visa recognition with Russia

Alyaksandr Lukashenka signed the law on the ratification of the agreement between Belarus and Russia on the mutual recognition of visas and on other issues related to the entry of foreign citizens and stateless persons into the territory of the Union State.

“The agreement defines that foreign citizens and stateless persons will have the right to enter, leave, stay and transit through the territory of Belarus and Russia if they have a visa of one of the two states and identity documents. As a result, Belarus gets the right to issue visas valid on the territory of Russia,” state-run news agency BelTA reports.

The agreement is to enter into force 30 days after ratification by the two states.

“For our part, all the formalities have been completed. Now we need to wait for a similar step and corresponding notification from the other side,” quotes Anatol Hlaz, spokesman for the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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The work on the agreement had been underway over two years. It was signed in June by the foreign ministers Uladzimir Makey and Sergei Lavrov. According to Makey, the document ‘removes the problems related to the crossing of Belarus and Russia land border by third-country nationals’. In turn, his Russian counterpart said that the parties also aimed at creating a ‘common integration space’.

It should be noted, however, that the agreement does not apply to foreigners who come to Belarus as part of the visa-free program. Since January 2017, when a visa-free regime was introduced, over 350 thousand people from 70 countries visited Belarus without visas, the Sports Ministry reported in February 2019, shortly before COVID-19 lockdowns in Europe.

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