Belarusians wishing to get a Schengen visa to travel to the borderless Schengen Area will have to pay a fee of €80, instead of €60 as they did up to now, per one application.
Despite of the efforts of the Belarusian side to avoid a situation in which its citizens would have to pay increased fees, instead of the much-promised only-€35 visa fee, Belarusians, as all Schengen Visa applicants lodging an application file from the first Monday of February 2020 and on, will be subject to the new Schengen Visa Code, which among others foresees an increase in Schengen visa fees from €60 to €80.
The European Union External Action had confirmed at the end of December 2019 that Belarus would also be affected by the increase, but only temporarily until the Visa Facilitation Agreement enters into force.
“The visa fee would then automatically decrease from €80 to €35 for all Belarusian citizens,” the EUEA explained at the time.
While Belarus signed the much sought-after agreements on visa facilitation and readmission with the European Union on January 8, just as previously agreed on by their representatives at the 8th meeting between the Coordination Group of both parties, which took place in Brussels on 17-18 December 2019, due to the EU procedures for an agreement to come into life Belarusians will pay decreased visa fees only by June this year.
According to the European Commission, following the signature, the agreements now shall be passed on to the European Parliament for approval, so that the Council can then formally conclude the ratification for both deals.
“A ratification procedure is also required on the Belarusian side, through approval from the Belarus National Assembly. The agreements could enter into force in June 2020 (on the first day of the second month following conclusion),” a press release by the European explains.
Since 2006, the EU has concluded visa facilitation agreements with Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cape Verde, North Macedonia, Georgia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, Russia, and Ukraine. The negotiations on visa facilitation for Belarus citizens have started almost five years ago, in January 2014.
Statistics from SchengenVisaInfo.com show that in 2018, Schengen embassies and consulates in Belarus processed 681,106 visa applications, only 2,239 of which were rejected at one of the lowest rejection rates, only 0.3%.
Poland was the top favorite country for visa submission in Belarus, as 278,214 of the applications submitted in Belarus were for Schengen visas to Poland, followed by Lithuania with 236,442 and Latvia with 58,897 applications.