Lithuania mulls further visa restrictions for Russian and Belarusian citizens

9 March, 12:05 AM
The flag of Lithuania (Photo:Peggy_Marco / Pixabay)

The flag of Lithuania (Photo:Peggy_Marco / Pixabay)

The Lithuanian government has drafted a bill which would reinforce existing restrictions on granting visas to citizens of Russia and Belarus, news agency BNS reported on March 8.

A state of emergency has been in effect in Lithuania since the migration crisis on the border with Belarus. The state of emergency decree, which is approved by the parliament, provides for more stringent procedures for issuing all documents to Russians and Belarusians – as a result, applications for these documents are denied.

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The decree also prohibits Russian citizens from entering Lithuania – except for diplomats, dissidents, employees of transport companies, family members of EU citizens, as well as Russians with a residence permit or long-term national visas issued by Schengen Area countries.

Currently the state of emergency in Lithuania is valid until March 16, but there is a chance it won’t be extended if the country's parliament passes a separate law on migrants. As a result, the sanctions against Russian and Belarus citizens will lose their force and would require a separate introduction.

Lithuanian Deputy Foreign Minister Jovita Neliupšienė told BNS that the aim of the initiative is to create a "national sanctions regime". It won’t apply to legal entities, since the decision on economic sanctions is made at the EU level.

The Lithuanian government has appealed to the country's parliament with a request to consider this issue as a matter of urgency.

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