I wrote this post because it took me ages to hunt down specific information on how to obtain a Belarus Visa in Vilnius without booking a tour with an official TouristAgency. Naturally, there is a lot of information on the Belarus Embassy site, but even this was a little confusing around exact requirements. Several forums discuss the process but many are from several years ago, and no one seemed to explain the exact steps to take. Hopefully, this information will help others who follow in our footsteps.
Note: We are Australians. Requirements may differ for other nationalities.
How we obtained our Belarus Tourist Visa in Vilnius.
These are the exact steps we took to get our 7-day Belorussian Tourist Visas in late July/early August 2015. I believe you can get up to 14 days if you want using the same steps.
- I booked accommodation at Trinity Hostel in Minsk for six nights. They have both dorm beds and private rooms for a reasonable price and are probably the cheapest official accommodation provider in Minsk. Belorussian accommodation can be quite expensive.
- Once I made the reservation they sent me a link to a payment site soon after. I paid for the first nights accommodation plus 20 Euro each for our letters of invitation. The payment site appeared secure, and we have had no issues during or after the payment. There was a 5 Euro processing fee on top.
- I printed out the Application Form from the Belarus Embassy Website. Click HERE for the form.
- Visa applications must be submitted at the The Consulate at 41 Muitines Street NOT the Embassy. Exact details are HERE. Use http://stops.lt to work out which bus will get you there. Details of how to use the site in our Vilnius post)
- We turned up at 8 am, 30 minutes before opening time and obtained a ticket with a number and barcode from the vending machine at the entrance. The machine has an English option, and the menu is quite straightforward.
- At this point I recommend you do something different to us. Once you have your ticket, go across the road to the Daigera Travel Agency and buy their Belorussian travel insurance. Your travel insurance will not suffice even if it specifically mentions Europe. It’s only 2.40 Euros each, so it’s not worth trying to argue the point. We didn’t do this, and I had to exit the embassy, buy the insurance and return with the paperwork before I could even submit the application.
- I waited until my number came up on the digital display with an assigned window. To enter the grounds, you need to wave your ticket with the barcode under the sensor to gain access through the gate. Note that only one person for a family group can enter the embassy. Entry is through the front door to the office. Both yours and the window numbers are easy to see. Some staff speak a little English. Those that I dealt with tried to be extremely helpful.
- I submitted our passports, travel insurance, application forms and one 3.5 x 4.5 cm passport photo on a white background each. Check Photo requirements HERE.
- I had to wait for what seemed like an eternity while our passports went out the back for checking. I have no idea why. Possibly because 51 of the 69 pages in our passports are full of visas and stamps from places like Iran, Sudan and numerous other unusual destinations. I guess they wanted to give them a thorough going over to ensure we weren’t trouble. Everyone else was processed quite quickly.
- Once they were satisfied with whatever it was they were checking I was called back to the window. It was this point I had to go and get the Belorussian Insurance, which is why I advise you do it first.
- Once our applications were accepted, I paid 60 Euro each at the cashier’s window It is more expensive for some other nationalities such as Americans and Brits. If you want it faster than five working days, it will cost you double. We submitted it on a Wednesday and picked it up the following Tuesday.
- Once I’d paid, I went back to my original window to get the copies of the insurance and the receipt for the passports. The lady was very clear I should NOT lose that piece of paper.
- We returned to the consulate the following Tuesday at 11 am, when pick ups begin, and took a number. I’m sorry I can’t remember the exact wording of the pickup option. It referred to documentation NOT “VISA Pick UP”. In hindsight I recommend you arrive by at least 10.30am as we waited for about an hour.
- Once my number came up, I proceeded to the assigned window with the receipt in hand and was presented with our passports containing the shiny, new Visas. I was made to check the details thoroughly before signing a form and leaving the office.
NOTE: The Daigera Travel Agency across the road from the Embassy arranges Visas. I checked the price, and it costs 20 Euro plus the price of the visa. If you don’t want to stay at Trinity Hostel, then this may be a more convenient and slightly cheaper option.
And that, my friends, is how we did it. So hopefully if you follow the steps above, including my recommendations, you’ll have your Belarussian tourist visa in no time at all and be off on your trip. In hindsight, it was pretty easy once you know how. I hope this info helps smooth the process for you.
Good Luck and Bon Voyage.
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