Visas

The purpose of your intended travel and other facts will determine what type of visa is required under U.S. immigration law. As a visa applicant, you will need to establish that you meet all requirements to receive the category of visa for which you are applying.

See our Directory of Visa Categories on usvisas.state.gov to determine which visa category might be appropriate for your purpose of travel to the United States.

 

The U.S. Embassy in Minsk accepts applications from citizens and residents of Belarus in all non-immigrant visa classes. Due to space and staffing limitations, the Embassy does not accept applications from citizens of other countries who are not residing in Belarus.

Citizens and residents of Belarus applying for visas may use our online system to schedule a visa interview or renewal appointments in Minsk. At this time the Embassy cannot accept visa applications from citizens of other countries who are not permanently residing in Belarus. Beginning March 20, 2019, all nonimmigrant visa applicants must complete form DS160 before scheduling a visa interview appointment.

Please note that interview appointments are not available on Mondays; Mondays are reserved solely for drop off of visa renewal applications.

Applicants eligible to apply for visa renewal in Minsk also have the option of scheduling an interview appointment. Please note that applicants who schedule interview appointments must appear personally at the Embassy to be interviewed by the consular officer. For more information on visa renewals, please select “Visa Renewal Appointments in Belarus” from the drop down menu on this page.

Please note: Children under 14 do not need to appear in person at the Embassy. Visa applications of children under 16 are submitted by one parent or guardian, the child’s application should be accompanied by the child’s birth certificate, photocopies of parents passports and notarized letter authorizing the child’s travel outside Belarus from the absent parent. If the child is traveling with the grandparents, the parents do not need to come in, his/her application can be filed by his grandparents with an authorization letter from the child’s parents and appropriate birth certificates to show the relationship between the child and the grandparents.

Emergency Appointment

Emergency appointments are for urgent travel needs in one of the categories below. Please carefully review the criteria below before contacting us. (Please note: If you have been refused a visa for the same purpose of travel within the past 6 months, or if your visa has been revoked, you are not eligible for an emergency appointment.)

Medical Emergency

Purpose of Travel:

  • To receive expedited medical care
  • To accompany a relative for urgent medical care
  • To visit a relative with an immediate, life-threatening medical condition

Required Documents:

  • A letter from the doctor in the US describing the medical condition

 Death of an Immediate Family Member

Purpose of Travel:

  • To attend the funeral of an immediate family member in the US

Required Documents:

  • A letter from the funeral director stating contact information, the details of the deceased and the date of the funeral
  • Proof that the deceased was a direct family member

 Urgent Business

Purpose of Travel:

  • To deal with an urgent business matter

Required Documents:

  • A letter from the US company describing why the business is urgent, the nature of the business, and why the applicant’s attendance is required

 Students with an Upcoming Start Date

Purpose of Travel:

  • To attend classes in the United States

Required Documents:

  • Original Form I-20 or DS-2019 indicating start date of program within 60 days
  • Evidence that you have paid the SEVIS fee (when applicable)

You may request an emergency appointment by contacting us at consularminsk@state.gov. In your e-mail, please state why you believe that your situation is an emergency and provide support for your claim by attaching electronic copies of appropriate documents to your e-mail.

For more details on the application procedure, select your Visa Category from the drop down menu at the top of this page.

Important Notice: Due to issues related to security screening, no electronics (laptops, tablets or other electronic gadgets) or bags will be allowed inside the consular section. In order to save time, we recommend you do not bring a cell phone or any other electronic items with you on the day of the interview.

The Embassy in Minsk accepts visa renewal applications only on Mondays. If you are a citizen or resident of Belarus with a valid US visa or whose visa expired fewer than 12 months ago (on the day you come to the U.S. Embassy to pay the fee), and you are traveling in the same visa category, you may apply to renew your visa in Minsk if you do not fall into one of the categories below. Please see below for special information for Russian passport holders applying in Minsk

  • Summer Work and Travel J1 visa holders;
  • Petition based employment visa holders (H, L, O, or P) with a new employer or a new petition number (the petition number is the 10 digit number preceded by three alphabetic characters; it can be found on your visa in the ‘Annotation’ line: for example EAC-14-555-55555);
  • Any visa holder whose previous visa has the annotation “CLEARANCE RECEIVED”.

Important: If your previous visa has an annotation “CLEARANCE RECEIVED”, you may schedule an interview appointment in Minsk. You must appear for your interview in person and bring your current resume, an invitation from the person, group, business or event you plan to visit, and list of your academic publications (if you have any) to your interview.

For more details on the renewal definition and application procedure, select your Visa Category from the drop down menu at the top of this page. If you have questions regarding your case or questions regarding the renewal procedure in general, please write to us at consularminsk@state.gov.

If your visa application does not meet the criteria described above, or if you are not a citizen or resident of Belarus, you may not renew your visa in Minsk.

Important Notice: Due to issues related to security screening, no electronics (laptops, tablets or other electronic gadgets) or bags will be allowed inside the consular section. In order to save time, we recommend you do not bring a cell phone with you on the day of the interview.

A citizen of a foreign country who seeks to enter the United States generally must first obtain a U.S. visa, which is placed in the traveler’s passport, a travel document issued by the traveler’s country of citizenship.

Certain international travelers may be eligible to travel to the United States without a visa if they meet the requirements for visa-free travel. The Visa section of this website is all about U.S. visas for foreign citizens to travel to the United States.

(Note: U.S. citizens don’t need a U.S. visa for travel, but when planning travel abroad may need a visa issued by the embassy of the country they wish to visit.).

What is a U.S. visa?

A citizen of a foreign country who seeks to enter the United States generally must first obtain a U.S. visa, which is placed in the traveler’s passport, a travel document issued by the traveler’s country of citizenship.

Certain international travelers may be eligible to travel to the United States without a visa if they meet the requirements for visa-free travel. The Visa section of this website is all about U.S. visas for foreign citizens to travel to the United States.

(Note: U.S. citizens don’t need a U.S. visa for travel, but when planning travel abroad may need a visa issued by the embassy of the country they wish to visit.).

How do I read and understand my visa? What do the dates mean?

As soon as you receive your visa, check to make sure all your personal information printed on the visa is correct. If any of the information on your visa does not match the information in your passport or is otherwise incorrect, please contact the issuing authority (i.e. the U.S. Embassy) immediately.

The expiration date of your visa is the last day you may use the visa to enter the United States. It does not indicate how long you may stay in the United States. Your stay is determined by the Department of Homeland Security at your port of entry. Be aware, however, that staying significantly longer than you indicated at the time of your application can negatively affect your ability to receive another U.S. visa.

Further information about interpreting your visa can be found at the Department of State’s Consular Affairs website.

How much time does it take to get a visa?

Successful applications are usually processed within 2 – 5 working days. If you were advised at your interview that your application was refused under Section 221(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) pending additional processing, you should allow approximately 60 days from the date of the visa interview for your application to be processed. In some cases, however, processing can take six months or longer. Please see “Administrative Processing” for further information.

Please note that we cannot guarantee visa issuance or visa processing times in advance. All processing periods quoted are estimates only. If you require a visa, we recommend that you apply well in advance of your intended travel date and do not make non-refundable travel arrangements until you have been issued a visa and are in receipt of your passport.

How long does the interview last?

The interview typically lasts just a few minutes. Prior to the interview staff will collect, data-enter and review your application and a set of your fingerprints will be electronically scanned.

Do I need a notarized letter of invitation in order to apply?

Letters of invitation are not required.

What additional documents do I need to qualify for a visa?

Review this information on Visa Types for details on documentary requirements for your type of visa. For most applicants, the only documents you are required to bring to your interview are a printed copy of your appointment letter, your DS-160 confirmation page, one 5x5cm photograph taken within the last 6 months, your current passport and all previous passports (if available).

You may choose to bring whatever other evidence you believe will help to establish your strong ties to Belarus. However, more important than any document are your answers during the visa interview. Give clear and honest answers about your planned trip to the United States and your reasons for returning to Belarus.

If you have education or work experience in a specialized scientific field (including applied sciences like engineering or computer science), it may also be helpful to bring a current resume and a list of your scientific publications.

Finally, we advise you to familiarize yourself with the list of items you should NOT bring to your visa interview. This list includes cell phones or other electronics, large handbags or luggage, food, and weapons of any kind.

Why are visas to Belarusians issued only for one year?

The U.S. bases its maximum period of visa validity for Belarusian on the basis of the visa validity offered to American citizens who wish to visit Belarus. Please note that a visa valid for 12 months means the visa holder may use the visa to request entry the U.S. at any time during the 12 month validity period. It does not mean the visa is valid for a twelve month stay. It is the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (www.cbp.gov) officials at ports of entry determine if a person can enter the U.S. and, if so, for how long they may remain.

How much to I have to pay for a U.S. visa?

The processing fee for tourist, business, and student visas is $160. For petition based visas, the fee is $190. The fee is payable in cash, U.S. dollars only, on the day of your appointment. Please note that the fee is not refundable, regardless of whether your application is approved. Please also note that the visa fee is non-transferrable (it can only be used for one person) and that a fee paid in one country cannot be used in another country.

Which tourist agencies work with the Embassy?

The U.S. Embassy does not work with any tourist agencies. Every application, whether filed by an applicant him/herself or with the assistance a travel agency, is considered individually based on the individual applicant’s own merits.

Can someone NOT from Belarus apply for a visa in Minsk?

Any foreigner permanently residing in Belarus may apply for a visa in Minsk if he/she meets the criteria outlined under “First Time Applicants” and “Applicants renewing their visas” on our website at https://by.usembassy.gov/visas/.

My passport has expired, but the U.S. visa in it is still valid. Do I need to apply for a new visa?

If your visa is still valid you can travel to the United States but you must take both passports (old and new). Both of the passports must indicate the same nationality, and your name must be identical. Please note: A valid visa is not guarantee of entry into the United States. Final determination of entry is at the sole discretion of the CBP Officer reviewing the documentation.

If your name changed due to marriage, you can travel to the United States with both passports but you must carry a copy of your original marriage certificate translated into English by a certified translator.

My passport is more than 10 years old. Embassies of the Schengen Treaty countries will not accept passports that are more than 10 years old. Can I apply for a U.S. visa?

Yes. The only validity requirement to Belarusian passports we have is that they should be valid for another 6 months from the date of your departure from the United States.

Does the U.S. Embassy in Minsk issue immigrant visas?

No. Belarusian citizens applying for immigrant visas must do so at the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw.

Can I work in the U.S.?

You may not work on a tourist or transit visa in the United States. If you wish to work in the USA, please see “Work Visas”.

How much money can I bring into the United States?

You may bring into or take out of the country, including by mail, as much money as you wish. But if the total sum is more than $10,000, you must note it on your customs declaration when you arrive. Ask the Customs officer for the Currency Reporting Form (CF 4790). The penalties for not complying can be severe.

If you have any questions about U.S. Customs regulation visit U.S. Customs Web Page http://www.cbp.gov.

How much alcohol can I bring into the United States?

You may bring into the U.S. (without duty/tax charges) one liter (33.8 fl. oz.) of alcoholic beverages if you are 21 years old, if it is for your own use or as a gift, and if it does not violate the laws of the state in which you arrive. Federal regulations allow you to bring more than one liter of alcoholic beverage for personal use, but you will have to pay duty and Internal Revenue Service tax.

Can I take some sausage and ‘salo’ as a treat for my relatives in the United States?
Can I bring fruits and vegetables from my own garden to treat my relatives in the U.S.?

You MAY NOT bring fresh, dried or canned meats or meat products from most foreign countries. Also, you may not bring in food products that have been prepared with meat. It is best not to bring fresh fruits or vegetables into the United States. See http://www.aphis.usda.gov/travel/ orwww.aphis.usda.gov/ppq/permits for information.

How can I bring my cat/dog into the United States?

Cats and dogs must be free of evidence of diseases communicable to humans when they are examined at the port of entry. If the cat does not seem to be in good health, the owner may have to pay for an additional examination by a licensed veterinarian. Dogs may require rabies vaccination If you are bringing your pet to the U.S. on an airplane, you should check with the airline about their requirements for transporting animals. Many airlines require a certificate of health from a veterinarian. Please visit the U.S. Customs question and answer page for more information.

I have just come from the U.S. where I was on an exchange program sponsored by U.S. Government. My J-1 visa says “Subject to a two-year residency requirement.” Does that mean I cannot travel to the US for 2 years?

The two-year residency requirement means you are not eligible to for a work visa (H or L – see “Work Visas”) or an immigrant visa until you have been physically present in your country of residence for at least two years after the completion of your J1 program. You may travel abroad, including to the U.S., as much as you would like, but you may not obtain a work visa or an immigrant visa until the two year requirement is met.

Can my American friends, relatives or business partners help me to get a visa?

Visa applicants must qualify for the visa according to their own circumstances, not on the basis of recommendations or sponsorship from an American relative, business associate, or other sponsoring organization.

Miscellaneous Questions

Does the U.S. Embassy assist people in finding their relatives in the U.S. or solving legal issues like tracing inheritance, etc.?

The U.S. Embassy in Minsk has neither the authority nor the means to perform such services. You may contact the Minsk city Bar Association (+375 17 285 2105, +375 17 285 2718, +375 17 233 9802), the Minsk Region Bar association (+375 17 200 6183, +375 17 200 7453) and/or the Belarusian Red Cross Office +375 17 327 1417, http://redcross.by)

Does the U.S. Embassy provide apostilles?

The Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Minsk does not provide apostilles. Please see our page on apostilles for more information.

I intended to renew my visa, and submitted my electronic visa application before the date on which it would be a year from my last visa expiration date, but when I came to the Embassy, my application was not accepted by the consular staff?

We can accept your renewal application if your visa expired fewer than 12 months before the day you come to the Embassy to pay the fee and submit your application.

Visa Denial Questions

The Consular Officer spoke to me only for two minutes and then denied my application for a visa. How can one get any impression of a person in such a short time?

Unfortunately, due to the large number of applications, consular officers have a limited time to consider each individual application.

I had all the documents about my job, property and relatives. I think I have very strong ties. Why was I denied?

As each person’s situation is different, there is no single reason that explains all refusals. The most common reason for a visa refusal is a failure to demonstrate strong ties to your home country. Another common reason is that the applicant did not demonstrate to the officer’s satisfaction that they met the qualifications for the visa category.

Address: 46 Starovilenskaya St.
Minsk 220002, Belarus
E-mail: ConsularMinsk@state.gov
Working hours: Monday-Friday from 8.30 to 17.30 except Belarusian and American holidays.

Nonimmigrant Visas: 

If you are a citizen or resident of Belarus and have a family, medical or business emergency requiring urgent travel, please write to us at consularminsk@state.gov. In your e-mail, please state why you believe that your situation is an emergency and provide support for your claim (letter from the hospital, police report, etc.). We will then contact you within 48 hours (during the work week) with a response.

Immigrant Visas:

Please note that all immigrant visa processing for residents of Belarus is done at the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw, Poland. For further information, please contact Embassy Warsaw by phone: +48 22 625 1042 (between 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Warsaw time); Fax: +48 22 504 2088; E-mail: publicwaw@state.gov.  The number +48 22 625 1401 is 24 hour Automated Consular Services Information.

If you cannot find your answer on our website, you may also send us an email at consularminsk@state.gov. We will respond within three working days.

The Department of State manages the visa process strictly but fairly in order to best protect the United States.  We are committed to the essential openness for which the United States has always been known.  Travel to the United States is welcomed and encouraged.

We promise to you, the visa applicant, that:

  • We will treat you with dignity and respect, even if we are unable to grant you a visa.
  • We will treat you as an individual and your case as unique.
  • We will remember that, to you, a visa interview may be a new or intimidating experience and that you may be nervous.
  • We will use the limited time available for the interview to get as full a picture as possible of your travel plans and intentions.
  • We will use our available resources to fairly assist all applicants to get appointments to allow travel in time for business, study, and other important obligations.
  • We will post detailed and accurate information on visa requirements and application procedures on every Embassy and Consulate website.
  • We will provide information on non-immigrant appointment waiting times at every Embassy and Consulate posted on http://travel.state.gov.
  • We will explain the reason for any visa denial to you.

Furthermore, if you are a:

  • Student, we will make every effort to ensure that you get an appointment and, if qualified, a visa in time to start classes.
  • Medical and humanitarian emergency traveler, we will expedite processing for those dealing with life threatening emergencies.
  • Business traveler, we will establish appropriate mechanisms to facilitate business travel and expedite cases of particular concern to American business.

At the same time, we expect you, the visa applicant, to:

  • Plan your travel and visa application as far in advance as possible.
  • Complete your application fully and accurately.
  • Be forthcoming about your purpose and plans.
  • Prepare for your interview by being able to clearly and concisely describe your intentions.