According to the signed agreement, Belarusian passport holders have the opportunity to apply for visas at embassies and visa centers of European Union countries. Press release: Visa facilitation and readmission: European Union and Belarus sign agreement, 8 January 2020 According to Bozinovic`s statements at the ceremony, visa statistics indicate close relations between Belarus and the EU. According to Bozinovic`s statement, in 2018 alone, nearly 700,000 Belarusian citizens applied for a Schengen visa, most of which were multiple-entry visas. The statement also stresses that the sanctions do not affect ordinary citizens, as they can still “enjoy the same benefits under the visa facilitation agreement in force since July 2020”. The former Byelorussian Soviet Republic is one of the few European countries whose nationals still need a valid Schengen visa to enter the Schengen area. Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson said: “These agreements will improve mobility in a well-managed and safe environment. Once the travel restrictions associated with the coronavirus are eased, it will become easier for Belarusian citizens to come to the EU. This means closer ties and exchanges between our peoples and societies. Perhaps the agreements signed by Belarus and the EU will also open the door for Belarusians to benefit from an ETIAS in the near future.

The European Commission has proposed to partially suspend the EU Visa Facilitation Agreement with the Republic of Belarus, which provides for the reciprocal issuance of visas to EU and Belarusian citizens for a maximum stay of 90 days for certain categories of officials associated with the regime. According to statements by Belarusian government officials, the agreement is not expected to pose significant migration risks to the Eastern European nation. The European Council partially suspended its visa facilitation agreement with Belarus due to the “hybrid attack” that Minsk launched against the European Union by promoting a migrant crisis along the Polish-Belarusian border. The decision will now be published in the Official Journal and will enter into force on the second day following that of its publication. Under the Visa Facilitation Agreement, the decision to suspend the other Contracting Party must be notified at least 48 hours before its entry into force. The Council today adopted a decision partially suspending the application of the EU-Belarus Visa Facilitation Agreement. This decision is a response to the ongoing hybrid attack by the Belarusian regime. According to the press release issued after the ceremony, the agreement is .” provides for the possibility for a greater number of categories of travellers to apply for a Schengen visa free of charge, as well as to obtain multiple-entry visas with increasingly long validity periods (up to 5 years)”. According to the partial suspension proposal, additional written proof requirements of the purpose of travel and visa processing fees apply The European Union has suspended visa facilitation arrangements for Belarusian government officials in response to Minsk`s hostile actions with migrants, the EU Council announced on Tuesday. After years of negotiations, representatives of the Republic of Belarus and the European Union signed agreements to facilitate Schengen visa procedures and the readmission of persons present on both sides without authorization. In the agreements, the parties recognize the importance of the obligations and responsibilities, including respect for human rights and democratic principles, arising from the relevant international instruments applicable to them.

In addition to Belarus, the EU has concluded visa facilitation agreements with Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cape Verde, North Macedonia, Georgia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, the Russian Federation and Ukraine. Formal readmission agreements or practical return and readmission arrangements exist with 24 countries, including Belarus. The ETIAS is an electronic travel authorization – not a visa – that can be obtained online without going to an embassy, and with much simpler procedures. It is available for travelers from countries with visa waiver agreements with the Schengen area. Following political upheavals in Belarus and restrictive EU measures, Belarus began organising domestic flights and trips in June 2021 to facilitate the transit of migrants to the EU, first to Lithuania and then to Latvia and Poland. Belarus announced this on 28 September. June 2021 also to suspend the readmission agreement with the EU. The suspension of parts of the agreement will not affect ordinary citizens, the European Council said in announcing the decision on 9 November. The suspension includes provisions that waive the requirement to provide documentary evidence, regulate the issuance of multiple-entry visas and reduce visa application fees as they apply to officials of the Belarusian regime.

This decision does not affect ordinary citizens of Belarus, who will continue to enjoy the same benefits under the visa facilitation agreement as they currently do. Regarding the visa facilitation agreement, Vladimir Makei expressed the hope that the European Union will express its support for the temporary freezing of the cost of Schengen visas for Belarusians, at least until the full implementation of the agreement. Representatives of the European Union expect the agreements to enter into force in June 2020. The agreement to facilitate the obtaining of short-term visas for Belarusian citizens to enter the European Union, with visa fees generally reduced to €35 and waived for certain categories of travellers. In addition, service fees are now limited and the time for consulates to decide on a visa application is shortened. Several categories of travelers, including journalists, students and members of official delegations, can obtain multiple-entry visas with an increasingly long validity (up to 5 years), while they have less supporting documents to prove their purpose of travel. Belarus has already unilaterally introduced measures to facilitate visa-free travel for EU citizens arriving in Minsk in the short term. Today, the visa facilitation and readmission agreements between the EU and Belarus enter into force. These agreements represent an important step towards strengthening the EU`s engagement with the Belarusian people and civil society.

They will pave the way for better mobility of citizens, facilitate travel from Belarus to the EU and help establish closer relations in relations between Belarus and the EU. “The Council today adopted a decision to partially suspend the application of the EU-Belarus visa facilitation agreement,” the institution representing EU member states said in a press release. The decision means that Belarusian government officials cannot apply for EU visas by applying simplified procedures, which reduces the number of documents required and administrative costs. Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas, responsible for promoting our European way of life, said: “Today is a concrete step that will bring Europeans and Belarusians closer together. The visa facilitation agreement will allow EU and Belarus citizens to travel more freely, and the readmission agreement will also contribute to the fight against irregular migration, which will benefit both Belarus and the EU. The agreement signed by the EU and Belarus in January 2020 aims to mutually facilitate visa procedures and reduce visa fees for Belarusians. The agreement to facilitate the obtaining of short-term visas for Belarusian citizens for the European Union, with visa fees reduced to €35 and cancelled for certain categories of travellers. .