Do you intend to get a Belarus long-stay visa? How do you plan to get one? Perhaps you’re planning a trip to this beautiful country; are you aware you may not even need a visa to g there?
Belarus, or the Republic of Belarus, is a country located just West of Russia in Eastern Europe. It is one of the few European countries that belong to the European Union or the Schengen Area. Despite this, the country maintains several agreements with the EU and some of its member states.
Do such agreements, however, include visa-free travel? Are Europeans required to get a long-stay visa to relocate to Belarus? We’ll be discussing these things in this article. We’ll also cover what requirements you need to secure the visa and how exactly you can secure it.
In this article
About Belarus Long Stay Visa
A Belarus visa lets you legally enter the Republic of Belarus for a predesignated period. There are several types of Belarus visas, including; the transit visa, the short-stay visa, and the long-stay visa.
The Belarus long-stay visa, therefore, is an authorization by the Belarusian government that lets you stay in the country for an extended period. The visa validity is dependent on the applicant’s reason for applying. However, the validity is usually between 90 days and five (5) years.
People get long-stay visas for many reasons, from career to academics and even to reunite with family. However, the primary basis for obtaining a Belarus long-stay visa has to be the intended length of your stay in the country. That is, you must intend to stay beyond 90 days.
Who Needs a Belarus Long Stay Visa?
The next question is whether you need a long-stay visa to move to Belarus.
Belarus has several visa-free travel agreements with several countries, including the European Union and countries on several other continents. However, most of these agreements last only 30 – 90 days. Only a few countries have clearance to enter Belarus indefinitely with only their national passport. They are;
If you aren’t a citizen of any of the following countries and wish to stay in Belarus for more than 90 days, you will need to get a long-stay visa. For example, citizens of EU countries, the United States, China, Cuba, etc., can only stay as long as 30 days. In contrast, citizens of Argentina, Brazil, Ukraine, Venezuela, Mongolia, etc., can stay up to 90 days. However, they will all still need a Belarus long-stay visa.
Types of Belarus Long Stay Visas
Depending on your reason for wanting to go, there are different kinds of Belarus long-stay visas. Your reason for traveling will determine how long your visa will be valid and what documents you will need to present.
The significant kinds of Belarus long-stay visas are;
- Employment/Work Visa: For foreign nationals coming to Belarus for work. This visa gives you the authorization to live and work in Belarus.
- Humanitarian Visa: The humanitarian visa is for those coming to Belarus for volunteer work, refugees, etc.
- Business/Commercial Visa: The business visa is for foreign nationals coming to Belarus for economic purposes. These usually have the intention of investing in the country’s economy.
- Internship/Research/Sport/Cultural Visa: This Belarus long-stay visa covers the widest range of activities. Students and recent graduates who want to learn on the job sometimes come to Belarus for such opportunities; hence, the Internship visa. Researchers could also have some long-term work; the same goes for sports and cultural reasons. This visa covers all those reasons.
- Religious Visa: As the name implies, the religious visa is for those who wish to engage in various forms of religious activities in their time in Belarus. Most of those who apply for this visa are missionaries.
- Journalist Visa: Journalists are wherever the news is happening. Hence, a journalist visa is for foreign journalists coming to Belarus for official duty. However, they have to prove that they are, in fact, on official duty.
- Private Purpose Visa: This visa is usually issued for emergencies and severe cases. Such cases include a family member’s grave illness or death in Belarus, etc.
Documents Required for Belarus Long Stay Visa
You will submit certain documents to the visa-issuing authorities to get a Belarus long-stay visa, much like any other visa. These documents will validate your credibility and help determine whether you will be allowed into the country. Hence, you should hold each one as important as the last.
#1. Application Form
You must download the Belarus long-stay visa application form and fill it out correctly. A good recommendation is to fill it out in block letters to make it legible. Once you’re done filling it out, and you’re sure it’s all good, sign the form. However, if you’re a minor, a parent or a legal guardian must sign it themselves.
#2. Passport-Sized Photographs
The next thing you’ll need to get is a pair of passport-sized photographs. These passports must match the Belarus passport specifications; a full-color passport photograph showing your entire face with even lighting. The required dimensions are 35mm×45mm.
#3. National Passports
Your national passport identifies you as a foreign national in Belarus. For certain foreigners, it enables them to enter Belarus without a long-stay visa. However, for you, it will serve as the document to which your long-stay visa will be attached. For a national passport to be valid, its expiry date must be up to 3 months beyond your proposed return date. It should also have at least two blank pages left; one of those will carry the visa sticker if approved.
#4. Health Insurance
When you travel to Belarus, you need to have your health insured to cover for any potential injuries or health emergencies. The insurance has to be at least €10,000
#5. Proof of Funds
The proof of funds proves that you have what it takes to cover your stay in Belarus. The sort of proof you need to provide differs by reason for traveling. For example, suppose you’re seeking an employment visa. In that case, you’ll need a statement showing exactly how much your income (an offer letter is enough). Also, for a sports visa, you’ll need to establish a bank statement (yours or that of your sponsor) proving that you have enough to see you through your stay in Belarus.
#6. Proof of Accommodation
The proof of accommodation shows you have a place to stay once you get to Belarus. It could be a hotel booking, Airbnb, or a signed statement from a friend or relative in Belarus who’s willing to play host.
#7. Reason-Specific Requirements
These are requirements for the kind of Belarus long-stay visa you’re applying for. The most common of these is the visa-support letter. The body that issues the visa support letter depends on the purpose of your visit. The right authorities for the various visa types are;
- Employment/Work Visa; The Foreign Enterprise Office, Belarus. You’ll also need an employment permit from the Citizenship and Migration Department, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Belarus. You’ll usually get this from the unit in your proposed city and deliver it to the embassy.
- Humanitarian Visa: You’ll get a visa support letter directly or through the organization you represent. The authority on this is the Humanitarian Activities Department, Presidential Property Management Directorate, Belarus.
- Business/Commercial Visa: Various legal entities issue visa support letters for Belarus business visas. The one you apply for depends on the kind of business you want to carry out.
- Internship/Research/Sport/Cultural Visa: Here, you also apply to the Belarusian legal entity that applies to the visa you need. They will give you the visa support letter you need.
- Religious Visa: For a religious visa, you’ll need a visa support letter from a particular religious association. However, it has to be approved by the Commissioner for Religious and Ethnic Affairs.
- Journalist Visa: A journalist visa requires no visa support letter. However, you need a press accreditation letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Belarus.
- Private Purpose Visa: You need a visa support letter from a Belarusian healthcare institution. Where this is unavailable, a medical contract for the healthcare institution will do. You could also provide proof of ownership of real estate property in Belarus or proof of close relationship (e.g., a marriage certificate) with a Belarusian citizen or resident.
Application Procedure for Belarus Long Stay Visa
To apply for the Belarus long-stay visa, you’ll need to visit a Belarusian embassy, consulate, or visa application center in your country. The embassy in your country may add specific requirements, so you are advised to contact them and make sure their list has no additions. Once that is done, book an interview appointment with them.
Come along with all the required documents on the day of the interview. Be punctual and ensure you answer all questions correctly, as the impression you leave the visa officers that day could influence your visa application decision.
Application Fee and Processing Time
The Belarus long-stay visa costs €80. However, children under 14 years are exempt from the visa fee. The processing time takes around 5 – 10 working days. Therefore, you are advised to apply up to one month before your intended travel date.
Frequently Asked Questions
#1. Can a foreigner live in Belarus?
Yes, foreigners can live in Belarus. However, they need to obtain a Belarus long-stay visa before making their trip there and apply for a temporary residence permit once they get to Belarus. The residence permit applies only if you wish to stay beyond 90 days in the country.
#2. What is the Belarus Visa-on-Arrival?
The Belarus visa-on-arrival allows foreign nationals to apply for a Belarus visa online (in emergencies) and obtain the visa at the Minsk National airport once they arrive. For long-stay visas, you must apply at least five days before your arrival.
Applying for the visa-on-arrival does not guarantee you will be granted a visa. You still need to present the necessary documents at the Minsk airport once you get there.
#3. Can I enter Russia with a Belarus visa?
Yes, you can. Foreign nationals with a Belarus visa are allowed to enter Russia without needing a Russian visa for as long as the Belarus visa is valid.
#4. Is Belarus a Schengen country?
No, it is not. Belarus is one of the few European countries yet to join the Schengen or the European Union. However, they still maintain certain relations with EU member-states now and then. Therefore, Belarusians would still need a visa to enter the Schengen area.
#5. What language do they speak in Belarus?
The primary languages spoken in Belarus are Belarusian and Russian. Some languages that are spoken in the minority include; Eastern Yiddish, Polish, and Ukrainian.
The Belarus long-stay visa (or type-D visa) helps foreign nationals achieve different goals in Belarus, including living and working there, between 90 days and five years. If your visa expires before reaching your goal, you can always renew it. Otherwise, if you don’t intend to stay in Belarus for up to 90 days, you can apply for the Belarus short-stay visa.