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Belarus starts issuing multiple-entry tourist visas

The Belarusian government introduced multiple-entry visas for foreign tourists on 1 January, billing the move as "a goodwill gesture aimed at promoting economic and cultural relations and stepping up personal contacts," Belapan reported on 10 January, quoting Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrey Savinykh.

Savinykh told the news agency that foreign tourists may now apply for double- and triple-entry Belarusian visas. He recalled that citizens of the EU, Andorra, Croatia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway have been able to apply for 30-day guest or business visas without producing a formal invitation since 1 October. Simplified visa processes have also been in place for citizens of Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Japan, South Africa, South Korea, Switzerland, and Uruguay since 1 August 2003.

Savinykh said that nationals of all of the above-mentioned countries may now obtain such visas also at the consular office at Minsk National Airport upon their arrival in Belarus. "The Foreign Ministry's recent steps have reduced the formalities for issuing Belarusian visas to a minimum and are evidence that Belarus is open to foreigners to the highest possible degree," Savinykh said.

(RFE/RL 11.i.05)

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