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22 December 2015

Polish Embassy issues about 370,000 visas to Belarusians in January-November 2015

MINSK, 22 December (BelTA) - The consular section of the Polish Embassy in Minsk and the Consulates General in Brest and Grodno issued about 370,000 visas to citizens of Belarus in January-November 2015, Charge d’Affaires of Poland in Belarus Michal Chabros told reporters, BelTA has learned.

"This is consistent with the number of visas issued last year," the diplomat said. Out of the total number of visas 25% of them was issued free of charge. Michal Chabros explained that Poland issues the national visas (type D) free of charge in Belarus. In addition, this year Belarusian citizens were given about 200,000 multi-entry visas.

As regards visa outsourcing, the diplomat recalled that Poland signed a contract with the VFS.Global company on 11 November 2015 to open eight Polish visa application centers in Belarus no later than July 2016. “This is the deadline. We hope that the visa application centers will facilitate visa application procedures for citizens of Belarus," Michal Chabros added.

A number of sites have been suggested for the visa application center in Minsk. "I think that the decision will be taken which site to choose in the coming days or weeks," the diplomat said. Other centers will be set up in Brest, Grodno, Gomel, Mogilev, Baranovichi and Lida. "Services will cost €15. I would like to mention that we do not limit the possibilities of applying directly to the Consulate. Only an applicant decides which path he chooses: a visa application center or the Consulate," said Michal Chabros.

He also stressed that less than 1% of applicants are denied visas by the Embassy and General Consulates of Poland in Belarus. "You have to try very hard not to get a visa," the diplomat said.

In addition, Michal Chabros noted that the simplification of visa regime in the Schengen zone is the issue for the EU. For its part, Poland is taking steps in this direction. “This is the most important in our work. Contacts between people are the best platform to build relationships at other levels, including the state level,” the diplomat added.

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