US citizens traveling to or transiting through Belarus for any purpose are required to have a visa. Temporary stay visas permit stays of up to 90 days in one calendar year. Belarusian authorities enforce visa validity very strictly. If you overstay your visa by even one day, you will not be permitted to depart Belarus until the Department of Citizenship and Migration grants you an extension. Therefore, it is best to request a visa that is valid for enough time to allow changes in your travel plans. It is necessary to have proof of health insurance to apply for a visa, and applications that do not include a copy of the policy and proof of purchase will not be considered. If you are transiting through Belarus on your way to another country, you must have a transit visa (type B), no matter how short your stay in Belarus will be. Transit visas permit 48 hours of stay in Belarus. The transit visa requirement is strictly enforced. US citizens who arrive in Belarus without the proper visa will be subject to sanctions, arrest, and deportation and potentially banned from returning to Belarus for up to ten years.
To avoid such situations, be sure to have all the necessary documents for your visa:
- Valid Passport
- Passport Photos that meet the government of Belarus’s requirements
- Invitation Letter
- Proof of Travel Arrangements
- Proof of Health Insurance
- Proof of Sufficient Funds to support your trip
- Properly Completed Belarus Visa Application Form
- Money Order
Depending on the details of your trip to Belarus, you may also need:
- Business Introduction Letter
Children born to Belarusian parents or to one Belarusian parent and one foreign parent, even if born in the United States and in possession of a U.S. passport, may not be issued a Belarusian visa for travel to Belarus. The Belarusian Government considers these children to be Belarusian citizens until age 16, when they may choose to accept or reject that claim to citizenship. Instead of a visa, a “certificate of return” is issued that will allow the child to enter Belarus. It is imperative that parents of such children understand that, in order to leave the country, the child will be required to have a Belarusian passport if he/she does not already have one. It can take anywhere from two to four weeks to complete the application procedures and receive a new Belarusian passport.