Visa centers open in Belarus

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The Latvian Embassy in Minsk and consulate in Vitebsk in cooperation with courier delivery service firm Pony Express have opened visa centers in the Belarus capital Minsk and city of Vitebsk for the issuance of visas for travel to Latvia, BNS learned from the embassy Monday.

These centers will serve the citizens of Belarus and third countries, who will be able to submit their Schengen visa applications for travel to Latvia there.

Latvia decided to cooperate with Pony Express delivery services provider for its visa centers in Belarus because the growth in visa applications has been dynamic and Schengen member states are planning to start taking biometrical data from visa applicants.

The visa centers are expected to significantly improve the quality of visa services, saving applicants' time, as they will not have to personally go to the embassy or consulate to file their applications.

Latvia has cooperated with Pony Express previously, opening joint visa-issuance centers in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan with the firm.

On Monday, Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics expressed hopes that May's Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga could see progress towards an eventual visa-free regime with Belarus.

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