Lithuania is Considering Establishing a Visa Application Center in Each Regional Capital in Belarus

“We will see what the demand is,” said Linas Linkevicius the Foreign Minister of Lithuania. “I hope we will start practical work in September. We will see how fast we progress because all these steps have to be approved by the leadership of Belarus.”

According to Mr. Linkevicius, an agreement has been reached for the two countries’ consular officers to meet soon in order to discuss the establishment of visa application centers.

“This is a new thing for Belarus, but it is not new for us, as we have already established more than 10 such centers in Ukraine and Russia,” Mr. Linkevicius said. “Such centers were much more needed there because, for example, it was rather difficult for Russians to obtain visas as they had to go to Moscow.”

The centers will only assist in processing visa applications, whereas Lithuanian consular officers will continue to decide whether or not to issue a visa, he noted.

As the press office of the Lithuanian foreign ministry reported earlier this week, the ministry was going to establish visa application centers in Belarus in order to solve the problem of long queues at the Lithuanian embassy in Minsk.

The centers will have “unlimited” opportunities for processing visa applications and providing additional services, the press office said.

According to the press office, the Lithuanian embassy in Minsk has hired four additional staff members, and one more diplomat and a technical worker are expected to arrive in Minsk to stay there until the end of the summer season.

The Lithuanian embassy in Minsk issues about 1,100 visas a day, the press office noted. In the first half of 2014, the embassy and the consulate in Hrodna issued a total of 110,513 visas, or 6.8 percent more than in the same period the previous year.

“The number of issued visas corresponds to the real flows of those traveling from Belarus to Lithuania, but the embassy’s technical abilities have reached their limit,” the press office said. “The online application registration system is constantly subjected to attacks. Malicious people or those seeking gain create additional obstacles to the smooth operation of the embassy’s visa department. Although more visas are issued, the queues at the embassy do not become shorter.”


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