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EU States Endorse Accords Making Travel For Belarusians Easier


Belarusians will pay reduced visa fees to enter the EU.

Ambassadors of the 27 European Union member states have endorsed two agreements that will make it easier and cheaper for Belarusian citizens to enter most EU countries.

The May 20 decision will be officially rubber-stamped on May 26 by the European Council, consisting of the governments of all EU member states, with the agreements expected to enter into force in July at the earliest.

Brussels and Minsk signed the two agreements in January and Belarus's National Assembly adopted them last month, while the European Parliament gave its green light earlier this week.

Once they enter into force, visa fees will be reduced to 35 euros ($38) from 80 euros ($87), while the deadline for consulates to make a decision on a visa application will be shortened.

Several categories of travelers -- such as journalists and students -- will also be able to get multiple-entry visas with longer validity.

Visa facilitation is the first step before potentially granting the complete visa-liberalization regime currently enjoyed by the citizens of Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine.

It applies to all EU countries apart from Ireland, as well as non-EU states Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.

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