Belarus is evidently one of the countries with the most significant expenses for visa applications filed, as the average number of applications filed between 2009 and 2019 is 608,400, indicating that almost €49 million were spent on applications, with Schengen visa fee charges being €80 per application, on top of other expenses.
According to SchengenVisaInfo.com, the Belarus visa facilitation agreement that was reached in July 2020 and suspended one year later has enabled specific categories to travel visa-free to Europe, resulting in less costs spent by applicants.
Among the reasons that led to this decision, the EU cites Belarus hijacking a plane, imposing restrictions, and encouraging irregular migration. Belarus siding with Russia, especially during and after the war in Ukraine, has been a major push factor for the EU to impose these restrictions on the former soviet union country.
“We strongly condemn and reject the continued instrumentalisation of migration by the Belarus regime. It is unacceptable for Belarus to play with people’s lives for political purposes. Today’s decision shows again our joint commitment to continue countering this hybrid attack,” Aleš Hojs, Minister for the Interior of Slovenia and Chair of the Home Affairs Council, stated.
While the average amount of money spent for visa applications is closely related to the number of applications submitted, the number of applicants from Belarus dropped between 2020 and 2022, which could be related to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the visa facilitation agreement entering into force, in 2021.
The most expenses recorded by Belarus were made in 2014 – a total of €70.5 million, as the number of applications peaked at 881,404. Subsequently, fewer visa applications were filed in 2021 – a total of 58,285, causing expenses to reach €4.6 million.
On a positive note, the denied visa applications were low, meaning that amounts going to ‘waste’ are evidently lower compared to the number of applications submitted.
In other words, the average number of rejected applications from 2009 to 2023 is 2,296, indicating that the average amount spent for Belarus citizens can be concluded to €183,697. However, keep in mind that the number of applications filed determines the rejection rates as well as the amount spent; spending for denied visa applications reached €2.3 million in total and around €210,000 for the 2009-2019 period, and around €89,000 for applications rejected in the pandemic and post-pandemic times (2020-2022).
Belarus visa applicants have been ranked high for the number of applications submitted. Schengen Statistics reveals that in 2022, this nationality group was 18th in the top ten applicants for the year. More specifically, 120,893 visa applications were filed last year, while in 2021, the total number of applications was 58,285, but Belarus ranked higher on the list of countries with the most visa applicants – 14th, followed by Lebanon.