New Visa Code comes into force on 5 April and is obligatory for all members of the Schengen zone.
Visa applicants will have to fill in a common application form and submit common documents irrespective of the country to which embassy they are applying.
Procedure of visa processing will also be updated. Decision on the issue of visa will be taken in the course of 15 calendar days. In case of refusal, the decision will have to be substantiated. In this case, the applicant will have an opportunity to appeal the refusal.
When issuing a visa, consular services will have to introduce digital fingerprints and photographs of the applicants to the Schengen Information System.
The new Visa Code also specifies the procedure for submission and processing of visa documents. The applicant’s passport should be issued not earlier than ten years ago, and it should have at least two blank pages.
Meanwhile, according to Aleksandr Ostrovskiy, Head of Consular Department of the Ministry for Internal Affairs of Belarus, embassies of EU countries in Minsk still have no clear instructions from the European Commission regarding visa processing in passports which were issued more than ten years ago.