Monday, July 10, 2017

[VISA] Belarus (Single Entry)

Belarus has no consular representation in the Philippines. Their embassy that has jurisdiction over Filipino citizens is the one in Jakarta. The good thing about this embassy is that they have a VERY detailed website regarding visa application. They even have separate pages explaining how to send your documents, how much you are going to pay and how, as well as the requirements necessary for almost every type of visit you can imagine. As such, it’s not really that hard to get that visa!

Refer to this website to start: A typical short term visa, regardless if it’s single, double, or multiple entry, costs EUR60 (~PHP3,300). This if for normal 5-working-day processing. The amount doubles to EUR120 (~PHP6,600) if you opt for rush 2-day processing. I chose the latter because I decided to just fly to Jakarta to apply personally. If you want to do the same, make sure you get an Airbnb place close to the embassy. Jakarta traffic is legendary.

I sent the embassy an email before flying. Everything was fine. Indonesia was recently included in Belarus’ new visa-free regime, which is why it wasn’t surprising that I was the only one applying during that time. The consul seemed a little bored and I was glad to hear him say that I could pick up my passport the FOLLOWING day, which meant 1-day processing. Now THAT is express service! The only downside is he gave me single entry instead of double. Why is that so? Well, they follow your invitation letter.

The Russian language institute I enrolled at in Minsk specified single entry. To avoid this hassle, make sure that your inviting institution is well aware of the number of entries that you require. As for documents, I submitted the application form with photo, a copy of the invitation letter, my Airbnb receipt for my accommodation, as well as a cover letter explaining my itinerary and purpose. You also need a travel insurance from either one of two state-run companies in Belarus. You can't get it yourself, but this guy can help you:

Belarus is NOT part of the Schengen area, which means your AXA low-cost Schengen policy will NOT cover it. You don't need to submit an actual copy of the policy. Just ask for a photo or a screenshot via email and print it. That will do.

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