Belarusian Visa Price Has Risen to EUR 180 if Issued at the Airport
The main aim of a visa regime is to regulate migration flow and to prevent eventual illegal immigrants from entering the country. What kind of illegal immigrants could come to Belarus from the EU or the USA?
How is Belarus going to become one of the world’s top 30 economies by easiness of doing business, which the government has declared as its goal, if it has one of the most expensive visas in the world? The solution should definitely be to ease the visa regime or even its de-facto cancellation, as it has been done in Ukraine and Georgia.
The explanation for this Soviet-styled decision, however, seems simple: the West is still seen by the Belarusian government as a potential threat and a potential source of danger for the regime. In the past, visa issues have been used as a tool to force several Polish Catholic priests from Belarus. Along with Polish priests, who have presumably been promoting Polish nationalism instead of doing their primary spiritual work, foreign journalists, human rights activists and observers can easily be forced away from the isolated country in the middle of Europe.
However, if investment attraction is priority for Belarus, the visa regime for the EU and the US should definitely be liberalized. Besides, the EU itself could initiate this by lowering the Schengen visa price for Belarusians from the current EUR 60.
Starting 2010 the price for a Belarusian visa has risen to 180 euros for the citizens of the EU. First of all this concerns those who receive visas at the airport upon arrival to Belarus, the consular department of Belarusian Foreign Ministry told. The cost increase for Belarusian visas is due to new amendments to the Tax Code of the Republic of Belarus.
As explained in the Consular Section of the Minsk National Airport, potential tourists from the European Union, who wanted to come to Belarus, could previously have received a single journey short-term visa for USD 60. The new visa price is EUR 180. Long-term visas for citizens of the EU and the United States cost more than EUR 200.
Since the New Year the Belarus authorities charge for visas in Euros, not US dollars. Another change was introduction of three types of visas: transit, short-term and long-term. There is no separation between tourist and business visas, the Belarusian edition of RFE/RL reported.
“They have a choice, either to get the visa at an embassy of Belarus in their country for EUR 60 or at the airport for EUR 180,” – representatives of the consular department of Belarusian Foreign Ministry said.
In the consular at the airport “Minsk-2″ noticed that foreign nationals are paid and the new tariffs. “Nobody yet refused”, – reported at the airport.
Tourism agencies say that foreigners are beginning to refuse to travel to Belarus because Belarusian visas are among the most expensive visas in the world.
Belarus Officials Fly to Russia for Oil Talks
The Belarusian-Russian oil conflict once again demonstrates the fact that relations between both countries are far from what could have been called friendly. All the declarations of “eternal Slavic brotherhood” vanish once real money gets involved. The fight about eventual Russian oil duties has burst out just several days after the pompous establishing of the Customs union of Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan. This may only be a signal that this post-Soviet integration initiative is the same farce as its uncountable predecessors.
Russia wants to reshape its relations with Belarus and make them more market-based. The Belarusian officials are trying to retain Russian financial preferences that create a huge annual flow of cash into the pockets of the Belarusian government. In any case, in the mid-term Belarus will inevitably have to accept that expensive oil and gas is the price it has to pay for a real and sound independence from Russia.
MINSK, Jan 5 (Reuters) – Belarus sent a delegation to Moscow on Tuesday for talks to resolve an oil dispute that has disrupted crude shipments to Belarussian refineries and raised the spectre of winter supply problems for the European Union.
“The delegation will fly today,” Belarussian government spokesman Alexander Timoshenko said by telephone, adding that the delegation included the head of Belarus’s Belneftekhim state oil company, Valery Kazakevich.