Belarusians can apply for US tourist visas in Minsk from 2018


Belarusians can apply for US tourist visas in Minsk from 2018

The USA will allow Belarusians to apply for the American visa from Minsk. This is an initiative of the American side. 

The US representatives appealed to the Belarusian government and received a positive response. 

Consular services is expanding already from November 1. Citizens of the Republic of Belarus, who are 50+, can already apply for a visa in the Belarus capital. Earlier it was possible to do this if you are 70 or older.

As for other categories of citizens of Belarus, the American side plans to start accepting their documents beginning from 2018. 

The exact date is not yet named, because the issue is still under discussion.

"For the first time in almost 10 years Belarusians will be able to come to the US Embassy in Minsk to apply for a non-immigrant visa without going to other countries," said US Charge d'Affaires Robert Riley.

According to him, the embassy considered the possibility of doing this before, but the closure of visa services in Moscow accelerated the process. This is a step aiming to help Belarusians avoid difficulties that appeared after cooling of Russia-US relations.

"We would like to thank the government of Belarus, the Administration of the President and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who helped us to take this step quite quickly," Riley added.

Such news is due to the fact that the US Embassy in Russia has almost ceased to accept visa documents. Among those affected are citizens of Belarus who filed documents in Moscow.

The staff of the consular department will be expanded. According to the head of the consular service of the US Embassy in Minsk, visas were issued for 6,000-7,000 people in Minsk in 2016.

All in all, 18,000 citizens of Belarus received American visas.

The same number of applications will be processed in Minsk next year, Riley predicts.

USA citizens can come to Belarus without visas, under the decree of the Belarus President that entered into force in February 2017. However, the USA did not respond in the same fashion with regards to Belarusians. Riley says this procedure in the USA is very lengthy and complicated.