A Handy Guide To The Visa Requirements For Belarus

From ancient cities offering architectural marvels to medieval castles taking visitors back in time, Belarus is a country that’s rich, both culturally and historically. The country boasts of splendid natural beauty and is abundant with national parks that adorn this already beautiful land. Also in store are the numerous activities for adrenaline junkies - from skiing and snowboarding to kayaking and canoeing. The country never fails to amaze with its majestic beauty and recreational options. And while it has so much to offer, it has a fairly liberal visa policy making a trip here easy to plan. So go through the guide below, know about the visa requirements, gather all the documents and explore this diverse land ideal for every type of traveler. 

1. Who can enter Belarus without Visa? 

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The Republic of Belarus has signed several treaties exempting citizens from a visa to visit the country. Citizens of these countries can enter Belarus without a visa for varying time periods depending upon the country of residence. These countries include Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, Georgia, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia (with private invitation/tourist voucher), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro  (with private invitation/tourist voucher), People's Republic of China, Qatar, Russia, Serbia, Tajikistan, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Venezuela. 

Additionally, people from various other regions are entitled to visa-free travel options for Belarus, provided they fly in and out of the Minsk International airport only, as the visa-free entry is not applicable for any other checkpoint or airport. The allowed length of stay under this visa is 30 days and some countries included under this policy are:

  • Canada
  • India*
  • Malaysia
  • Singapore
  • United States

Other countries exempted from a visa if entering from the Minsk International airport include Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Barbados, Bahrain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chile, Dominica, El Salvador, Gambia*, Haiti*, Iceland, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Lebanon*, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Mexico, Micronesia, Monaco, Namibia*, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Oman, Panama, Peru, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa*, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, South Korea, Switzerland,  Uruguay,  Vanuatu, Vatican City and Vietnam*. Additionally, all European Union citizens too come under this policy including the non-citizen residents of Estonia and Latvia. 

* The 30-day visa-free nationals policy is applicable only if the traveler is carrying a valid passport and a multiple-entry visa of one of the Schengen Area member states or the European Union member states with a Schengen area or European Union entry stamp. The traveler must also be in possession of return tickets from the Minsk airport. 

The visa-free movement policy is not applicable to travelers flying to the Russian federation airports as these flights are regarded as internal and do not have border control. 

2. Who needs a visa to travel to Belarus? 

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All the foreigners belonging to a region not mentioned in the visa-free policy need a visa to enter Belarus. Depending upon the purpose and length of stay, the type of visa might vary. These citizens would have to choose between a transit, short-term, and long-term visa along with a single-entry, double-entry or multiple-entry visa before applying for a visa. While the short-term visas are applicable for a period of 90 days, these are ideal if you are traveling to the country for tourism purposes. 

However, travelers can also consider opting for the visa on arrival option if they are traveling to the country via the Minsk International Airport. To avail this visa, the foreign nationals will need to submit the necessary documents to the Foreign Admissions Division (FAD) of the Consular Directorate of the Foreign Ministry of the Republic of Belarus well in advance, depending upon the type of visa being applied for. 

3. How to apply for a visa to travel to Belarus? 

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Visas for Belarus are issued by three bodies, which include-

  • Consular Centre of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at Minsk Airport (in case of absence of Belarusian representative offices)
  • Consular sections of Belarus
  • Diplomatic Representative offices of Belarus

The traveler wanting to apply for a Belarus visa will need to collect the necessary documents and send in the same to one of the above bodies to get the visa application process started. 

4. What documents are required to apply for a visa to Belarus? 

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The following documents need to be submitted to the authorities in order to apply for a Belarus visa:

  • One duly filled visa application form available on the official website of Belarusian Diplomatic Service.
  • One recent passport size color photograph.
  • An original passport with a validity of at least 90 days after the expiry of the visa.
  • Visa support documents like the letter of invitation.
  • Proof of financial means to support your stay in the country (for 30 days visa-free foreign nationals). 
  • Medical travel insurance applicable across the country (30 days visa-free foreign nationals). 
  • Other documents as specified by the Consular Office depending upon the purpose of visit and type of visa. 

Remember that the duration of stay cannot be extended beyond 30 days and a new visa will have to be applied for in case of any change in travel plans. 

5. Ten-day visa-free regime of Belarus

Belarus allows for the citizens of several countries to enter Belarus visa-free for a period of 10 days. Under this policy, two designated tourism and recreation zones which combine the country’s best attractions have been included. These zones include Tourism and Recreation Zone Brest and The Augustow Canal Park. So if you are planning to visit Belarus via the two regional airports and via crossing points on the land border (with Lithuania and Poland) for a period of 10 days to tour the above-mentioned zones, you need not carry a visa along if you belong to a country listed under this policy. The documents required to avail this policy include a valid passport, travel medical insurance, migration card that will be issued on your arrival and a document proving your intent to travel to the tourism and recreation zones included under this policy only. 

6. What is the cost of applying for a visa to Belarus? 

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The general visa fee for Belarus for individual travelers is 60 Euros and for group travelers is 10 Euros per person. The fees will, however, vary depending upon the country of residence, the purpose of travel, and the type of visa applied for. 

Loaded with attractions waiting to be explored and a visa policy so liberal, Belarus is a gem for tourists. So plan a trip to Belarus and keep handy the above guide for a hassle-free vacation. 

*The above-mentioned information is in reference with the official websites only and is specific to the tourist visa. It is recommended that you visit the nearest Consular office for updated information regarding particular countries. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A writer by day and reader by night, Preksha is a bewildered soul obsessed with strong coffee and deep conversations ...

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