2020.11.30 10:18

Lithuania mulls issuing free visas to persecuted Belarusians

BNS, LRT.lt2020.11.30 10:18

Lithuania's Foreign Ministry has proposed issuing free national visas to Belarusians who are persecuted by the regime.

Under the proposed bill, national visas would be issued for free after receiving a request from an institution or a non-governmental organisation registered in Lithuania.

"An increasing number of Belarusian citizens are arriving in Lithuania due to the violence used by the authorities and the ongoing human rights violations," the Foreign Ministry's document to the government said.

The ministry also noted that Belarusians arriving under the so-called humanitarian exception, which grants them a Schengen visa, need to apply for a national visa if they want to stay in Lithuania long-term.

The government will consider the ministry’s proposal this week.

Humanitarian corridor

In mid-August, the Lithuanian government opened a so-called humanitarian corridor for Belarusians after the regime launched a brutal crackdown against protesters.

Belarusians willing to come to Lithuania for humanitarian reasons need to turn to the Lithuanian Embassy in Belarus for a Schengen visa and provide information regarding their circumstances.

Once in Lithuania, Belarusian citizens can ask for asylum or apply for a national visa that allows them to work.

Those fleeting emergency situations can also lodge asylum requests at a border checkpoint.