Foreigners to Pay More for Belarus Visas at the Airport
Belarus News - Do You Know That?

The news has been really striking for tourist agencies, as well as their clients, who arrived in Belarus at the beginning of 2010. The thing is that the decision was taken without any preliminary notifications. However, the representatives of the main consular department of the Foreign Affairs Ministry (MFA) claimed that this issue had been processed for 3-4 years already, and the initiative was taken not by the MFA, but

by the Ministry of Finances and Ministry of Taxation. The corresponding document was signed by the president on December, 30, 2009.

What is to be changed in accordance with the new law?

1.    Visa types will not be divided into tourist and business (tourist visas were less expensive), now there will exist only three types of visas: B – transit, C – short-term, and D – long-term.

2.    The cost of the visa that is received at the consular department on arrival at the airport will be increased. Now, the foreigner, who comes to Belarus from the country where a BelarusianConsulate is located, will have to pay the triple sum of a single visit visa (for EU citizens the sum will be 180 euro, as a single visit visa costs 60 euro). Visitors from countries where there is no Belarusian consulate will pay 50% more – 90 euro. The highest visa fee is for US citizens, who will have to pay 275 euro.

According to the CEO of the tourist agency AlatanTour, these new measures will hinder the development of tourism sphere in Belarus. Many foreign visitors were satisfied with the possibility to acquire visas right upon their arrival, but now they are to face certain difficulties.

The MFA speaker claims that the main aim of these changes is not to enlarge visa fees, but to unify all visa types and manage them in accordance with the international standards. But such abrupt visa fee increase was unexpected even for the Ministry of Tourism and MFA, which are supposed to be involved into two-side dialogue, regarding such crucial issues. It looks like the dialogue will soon be launched and the only hope remains that consulate fees won’t be sufficiently increased in the short run.