Visa requirements, basic information
Send a booking application to a travel agency, indicating the length of your stay (and which hotel will be reserved for you / your party). Note the names of tourists, their dates of birth, and their passport numbers in this application.
- The agency arranges for you (your party) to stay in a hotel on these dates. Following that, they will email you a confirmation along with a charge for you to pay (you can also pay the bill in cash on arrival).
- Once you have paid the bill, the agency will send an invitation and a copy of the tourist services contract to the Embassy of the Republic of Belarus in your country.
- In the Embassy, you fill out a form, pay the cost, and get your visa as soon as possible (up to 48 hours).
- If there is no Belarusian embassy in your country, you may get a tourist visa upon arrival at Minsk National Airport. The process may take anything between 10 minutes to an hour and a half.
- You arrive in Belarus (e.g., in Minsk) and check into the hotel that has been reserved for you after obtaining a short-term visa (valid for 30-90 days, depending on your place of origin, and cannot be extended).
- You are automatically registered in the hotel for the duration of your stay.
- After that, if you wish to rent a private flat, you must register with the local Migration and Citizenship Department OGIM (you can learn details in your travel agency). It would take some time and about USD15.
Visas are not required for citizens of the following countries:Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cuba, Ecuador, Georgia, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Qatar, Russia, Serbia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Venezuela.
Belarusian visas are granted for €90 at Minsk National Airport (MSQ) to citizens of countries with no consular offices of the Republic of Belarus. However, the fees for nationals of nations having a Belarusian consulate are very expensive – €180 when applying at MSQ Airport upon arrival. Standard papers, such as a letter of invitation, must also be supplied – a hotel reservation is insufficient, at least for a tourist visa, but not for other entry points.
For citizens of other nations (Austria, Argentina, Belgium, Bulgaria, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, China, Estonia, Egypt, France, Hungary, Germany, India, Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Latvia, Libya, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Republic of South Africa, Slovak Republic, Montenegro, Switzerland, Sweden, Syria, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, USA), visas may be granted upon arrival only under extraordinary circumstances. This option, however, will be inaccessible to individuals having Belarusian embassies in their countries from September 1, 2012, unless the cause for admission is urgent, such as sickness or the death of a family member.
A visa may be obtained through a Belarusian Consulate or Embassy. The quick visa is more costly, but you will get it in less than a half-day.
Visa costs and processing times vary, so check with the local embassy or consulate before planning your trip. A visa will take up a whole page of your passport, so be sure you have at least one page available.
In general, visa fees are as follows:
- transit (B) visa – USD35 (for US citizens: USD160, regardless of the number of entries; for UK citizens: GBP55)
- short-stay (C) visa – USD75 (for US citizens: USD160 for single entry, USD190 for multiple-entry; for UK citizens: GBP75)
Visa costs are waived for Japanese and Serbian passport holders.
There is currently a tendency to avoid the requirement for transit visitors to apply for a transit visa at MSQ Airport. There is no document with rules accessible to the public, however if you come from a migration-secure country and travel with Belavia via Minsk to the third destination, you are unlikely to need a transit visa. Check with the Minsk Airport Consulate first.
Except for the Minsk National Airport, there is no way to get a Belarusian entry visa at the border.
The Embassy Sites provide the most up-to-date pricing and processes. Pre-issued visas save a significant amount of time while entering the country.
Belarusian visas are granted in 5 working days, with the option of obtaining them quickly in 48 hours for a cost of double the standard amount.
The standard cost for a single Belarusian private or business visa ranges from USD40 to USD80. Visas for minors under the age of 16 are granted free of charge; however, some Belarusian embassies or consulates may levy a visa processing fee in this instance.
You will also need a passport and an invitation, as well as additional documents depending on the kind of visa you apply for. If you do not have a policy that is valid in Belarus, you must get state medical insurance. This insurance costs USD0.50 per day, rounded up to the closest dollar (i.e. 1–2 days: USD1, 3–4 days: USD2, etc.). The citizens of the United Kingdom are the only ones who are excluded from this process. Even if your medical insurance is valid in Belarus, customs officers often need you to buy insurance at the airport. This may be bought shortly before going through customs, so bring a few euros with you.
A foreigner must show an invitation from any Belarusian legal organization legally registered in the Republic of Belarus in order to get a Belarusian business visa. The invitation should be printed on letterhead paper and include the visitor’s name, personal and passport information, as well as the purpose and length of the visit. The invitation must be signed and carry the official seal of the organization that is inviting you. Embassies and consulates (with the exception of the Consular office at the National Airport) may often accept faxed invites. Multiple business visas are available through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Consular department, for a fee of USD300 with presentation of all necessary papers (contact phone + 375 17 222 26 61).
To obtain a 30-day short-term visa for private purposes (visiting Belarusian relatives, friends, or other private matters) for citizens of the EU as well as nationals of several other countries, including Australia, Andorra, Argentina, Bahrain, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Chile, Iceland, Israel, Norway, Swiss Confederation, Republic of Korea, and New Zealand (letter of invitation etc. documents). Short-term visas may be obtained at the Minsk airport, consulates, and embassies.
To get a visa for private reasons, a foreigner who intends to remain in the country for more than 30 days must submit an invitation issued by his citizenship and migration office to a Belarusian resident. In this instance, the original invitation should be handed up to the embassy/consulate or Consular office at the National airport; faxes or photocopies are not permitted. Foreigners visiting close relatives are granted several private visas with proof of the original invitation. Belarusian consulates often issue private visas to citizens of migration-secure countries who do not have any invitation documents.
Visas may be issued for one, two, three, or more entries. They must be utilized within the time frame specified.
Foreign visitors to Belarus must register with the local Migration and Citizenship Department within 5 business days of their arrival and have their registration recorded on their migration card. If you are staying at a hotel, the hotel will arrange this for you.
Private or business visas may be renewed for up to 90 days in Belarus if necessary. On presentation of all necessary papers, it will be completed by the Minsk city citizenship and migration office (contact phone + 375 17 231-3809) or the regional citizenship and migration office in Hrodna, Brest, Minsk, Mahilyou, or Homel.
Exit permits are needed for all foreigners with expired visas who want to exit the country. They are issued by the Minsk city passport and visa office, as well as regional passport and visa offices in Hrodna, Brest, Minsk, Mogilev, and Homel.
Some firms provide letters of invitation, residences, airport transportation, and other services. Links should be provided by any decent search engine. Avoid belarusrent.com since there have been complaints of them collecting money through PayPal, not delivering the services, and rejecting returns.
Entry from Lithuania
Only at the Consulate in Vilnius can you submit your papers to apply for a visa to Belarus. All visas are issued on the same basis. If it is urgent, you may pay twice as much, receive the visa on the same day, and it is valid from the next day; otherwise, you pay the standard price, collect it on the same day, but you can only travel within one week.
The visa system for EU nationals is expected to become lighter in the near future. The first visa-free travel efforts are made in the Polish and Lithuanian border regions, where individuals (who live there permanently) will be allowed to travel visa-free in the 50 km (31 mi) border area.
Visa free access to the Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park
Since 2015, visitors to the Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park in western Belarus have been able to visit for up to three days without the need for a complete visa. To do so, you must “book tourist services” in advance and fill out a form, after which you will get an e-mail with a simplified visa. Bring a passport and a printout of your visa to enter the park from Poland through the Pererov-Belovezha border crossing.