On 24 October 2014, the Belarusian side communicated to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland its rules of operation of Visa Application Centres (VAC), or so-called visa outsourcing. Pursuant to Article 43 of the Community Code on Visas, such centres can now be opened in the territory of the Republic of Belarus.
It is our hope that once successfully completed, the public procurement procedure to select an external service provider will ensure the highest quality of visa services to be rendered on behalf of Polish consular offices in the Republic of Belarus.
Entities interested in the procedure must meet the conditions laid down by the Belarusian side:
- a VAC should be a legal person under Belarusian law, and should have the right — granted by a foreign state represented by its foreign ministry or a similar institution —to accept and process at a preliminary stage visa applications and other documents (such as permits to cross the border under local border traffic);
- when conducting its activities, it should comply with the rules of foreign currency trade, and rules on the provision of services;
- when processing documents, it should protect personal data of applicants, pursuant to Belarusian law;
- it should act independently, without the assistance of other agents or subcontractors;
- it should register appointments online and through a call centre;
- it should make sure its service fee does not exceed 50% of the visa fee (including VAT).
The Polish consular offices accredited in the Republic of Belarus will continue to be able to accept visa applications directly in their premises; the application processing time will not change.