How do I apply for a Belarus tourist visa?
Important: for those flying into Minsk after 9 February 2017 Belarus is visa-free for 5 days.
In very simple terms getting a tourist visa has the following steps: firstly, flights in and out booked (or train, etc.), destination hotel or hotels booked (agreed with the inviting party if any), range of (my) services booked and confirmed, visa application filled out and forwarded to me, invitation issued by my partners comes back to you, applying for the visa, getting to Belarus...
Still not sure if you'd like to go to Belarus? Take a look at what an American guest has to say:
People willing to tour Belarus can apply for a visa in any Consulate of Belarus across the world by mail or in person. There is also a Consulate at MSQ Minsk National Airport available for application to all nationalities. Please, locate your local Consulate of Belarus using the official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus.
Applying at their local Belarus Consulate, the citizens of migration-secure states (e.g. the USA, Canada, Japan and others) can obtain short-term tourist visas (can be issued for up to 30 days) by presenting:
- a printed-out Belarus visa application (with a passport-size photo);
- a valid passport that expires 180+ days after the departure date from Belarus;
- a letter of invitation (LOI) from a Belarus travel agency - a printed-out copy of a scanned invitation (such a letter is provided when you book and pay for your accommodation through the agency that fixes the letter - the law stipulates that at least 2 services must be booked to enable the agency to issue a letter; note, that today the agencies are unlikely to provide plain invitations without bookings);
- (with an agreement of Consul who may or may not accept it) a scanned copy of a hotel booking confirmation issued by the hotel itself, with manager's signature and seal (the term of such a booking cannot exceed 10 days and booked hotel nights = your visa days; it will be hard to get such papers from the hotels even in Minsk, try Garni Hotel or Monastyrsky Hotel). Sometimes though not often electronic confirmations by hotels are accepted by our consulates, sometimes they want to see you've paid for the hotel).
These papers you must submit to the Consulate of Belarus with a visa fee receipt as described on your local Belarus Embassy website. Locate your country Consulate of Belarus using this link.
No consulate of Belarus in your country? You can apply in any Consulate of Belarus as you travel or upon landing in MSQ Minsk Airport. Applying at MSQ Consulate you should be aware of the following issues.
Important! Applying at Minsk Airport Consulate the citizens of migration-secure states must have the original letter of invitation delivered by the inviting party (a travel agent, a hotel - note, invitation letter is not a hotel booking confirmation) 2 business days in advance.
Check consular fees for other countries here (double-check with your local embassy website! they new rates came out on Jan 2015). Belarus Consulate at Minsk Airport accepts foreign cash only (EUR/USD), crisp new bank notes. The citizens of other countries (from Africa, Asia, etc.) who normally apply for a Belarus tourist visa in person at their local Consulate of Belarus will have to present the original of the invitation letter and a standard travel services contract provided by a travel agent.
If you are from a migration secure country and would like to arrange Belarus visa support or Belarus medical insurance online - don't hesitate to contact me!
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