The Belarusian visa process confuses some travelers. In this guide we will break down everything you know on getting your Belarusian visa.
With a much similar process to that of the former Soviet states, the Belarusian visa process is not complicated but you must be a bit familiar with what to expect during the application stage. There are a few tips to keep in mind, which we will break down step-by-step in the below Belarusian visa (short-term tourist visa) guide.
If you’re interested in taking a trip shorter than 5 days to Belarus, check out our Guide to Belarus Visa Free Travel.
1. Fill out the Belarusian visa application
You will need to complete a copy of the Belarusian visa form which can be found here.
The most important part to mention when filling out this form, is that all information should match what is in your letter of invitation. If something does not match, then you will not be granted the visa.
Ensure that your purpose of visit is listed as tourism.
In general, it’s very difficult to obtain a long-term visa. It’s also very difficult to obtain a double or multi-entry visa and it’s not recommend to apply for these two. Your best chance of being accepted, and without any issues, would be applying for either a 21 day or 1 month single-entry tourist visa.
We recommend completing this step first, as you should ask any questions and have the inviting agency/person review your visa form to ensure all satisfies their requests during Step #2 below.
2. Application for a Letter of Invitation
The letter of invitation is a document stating that an official, licensed travel agency (or a third-party) is inviting you to visit the country of Belarus. The paperwork lists your personal information, a long with the hotels and locations where you will be staying during your time in Belarus.
The letter of invitation process is a bit more costly for Belarus when compared to Russia, considering the fact that most agencies will require you to order two additional services (by law) in order to receive the letter of invitation. This could include taxi rental to/from the airport, purchasing a rental apartment/hotel from their list of available properties, or ordering a bouquet of flowers (yes – this isn’t a joke). If you’d like to use one of these services, simply run a quick Google search for “Belarus letter of invitation”.
Luckily, there are a few services available which due to the nature of their business, are not required to make you purchase additional services in order to receive the letter of invitation. Generally, this runs about $30 for an invitation, and an additional $1.5-$2 per day for the required health insurance (assuming you don’t already have third-party health insurance that will cover your stay. We will get into the topic a bit later.)
We can personally recommend a third-party service that does not require the purchase of additional services, other than the LOI. If interested, drop us a line with the subject “Belarusian Visa LOI”.
Additional documents may need to be provided by the inviting person/agency along with the Letter of Invitation and this can depend on the location at which you are applying. It’s best to double-check with the inviting agency/person and to call ahead to the consulate at which you will apply prior to making a visit in person to ensure you have all necessary documents to proceed with the application for the Belarusian visa.
The LOI will look like the below form, with all of your relevant information included:
3. Apply for health insurance through an approved provider
In most cases, the health insurance from your home country will not be approved to accompany your Belarusian visa. It may be the case that some insurances can be used, but often times it can be hard to find an approved list of providers. Therefore, it’s normally easier just to go through an already approved provider that will surely be approved and can be used during your visit to Belarus.
Depending on the selected coverage and your country of residence, you will pay anywhere between $10-50 for a plan. For U.S. citizens, TravelGuard Travel Insurance or AXA Travel Insurance are recommended as it is easy to use and is sent to you in an electronic company after you sign-up and pay.
If asked during the registration process, be sure to list that you will be visiting Belarus. Normally, the insurance company will provide an extra page or document stating that you are insured within Belarus for the required amount of at least $30,000. Below you will find an example of that excerpt:
This is required, and must accompany your health insurance paperwork when submitting your Belarusian visa application.
If you’d like to receive insurance through a Belarusian company, you can do so via either “Belgosstrakh“or“Beleximgarant“.
4. Apply at the closest consulate
In order to apply for a Belarusian visa, you will need to provide the following information:
- Letter of Invitation
- Visa Application
- Valid Passport (Validity of at least 6 months from expiration of visa date with two full free pages for the visa itself)
- 1x Passport Photos
- Mandatory health insurance (Belarusian variants include “Belgosstrakh“or“Beleximgarant“)
To find the closest consulate, simply plugin “Belarusian Consulate in XXX” and insert the city where you’d like to apply. Consulate fees have been recently drastically lowered. Previously, the visa would cost Americans around $300-$400, whereas now a normal 5 business day processing-time visa will run you around $65. Expedition is possible in 2 business days, and costs normally around the $130 mark.
Simply show up with the above items and your paperwork, and wait until they contact you to pick-up your passport with the Belarusian visa inside. This might be common sense – but double-check all information on the visa is correct and matches your personal information prior to leaving the consulate.
Consular fees and more information can be found here.
It is also possible to receive your visa on arrival. If you’d like to use this option, it’s best to discuss this with the inviting agency/person who provides you with the LOI. Generally, they will nail down all of the paperwork and details prior to your arrival (with everything being already approved) and you will receive the visa once you are at MSQ airport in Minsk.
5. Entry and staying in Belarus
By law, you must be registered in Belarus when staying longer than 5 days. The apartment/hotel where you are staying must register your by law when you are visiting on a tourist visa. Be sure to double-check with them prior to arrival, that this is included in the cost of your rental, as normally it is.
If you do not register, there’s always a chance of deportation, fees, and other penalties. It’s always best to do it, and avoid any confrontations when exiting the country. The person registering you will simply need your passport, and they’ll handle the registration process at the local office/post office in a short-period of time.
When entering Belarus via air, you will also receive an immigration card as shown below:
Be sure to complete the card as shown with the examples, including your personal information. Keep this with you, as you will need it when exiting the country.
That’s the general process for applying for a receiving a Belarusian short-term tourist visa. If you have any specific questions, feel free to leave them below in the comment section.
For more information on other types of visas for Belarus, you can find more information on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus.
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