Ready to visit Belarus for the first time

Copenhagen Travel Blog

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On our way to Riga

I had been looking forward to this day since Mickey and decided over too many beers that we would visit Belarus together. I still have a smile on my face thinking about that day in Charlie’s bar in the inner city of Copenhagen.

Preparing the trip had only one serious feature and that was acquiring the visa for my passport and that turned out to be something of challenge. After searching various homepages I found that there were some preparation in order to fulfill this part of the mission.

First there was the issue of getting the invitation. After some search we found a homepage where you could get the invite for a fee of 30 euro and it turned out to be the easiest solution as well compared to having a hotel do it.

There was just one catch and that was before I could use their service I had to book a place to stay at least for the first night. I identified this process little by little because during the process of preparing the papers I was in a kind of time pressure because I was flying abroad a lot so I had no possibility to forward my passport to the Belarus Embassy that also turned out to be in Stockholm.

I had just arrived back from my Guadeloupe trip and I had finally pulled myself together in starting the process of applying of the visa to Belarus because I decided to get the visa before I was traveling to Estonia.

I sent in the papers for the invitation on a Wednesday evening hoping that I could get the feedback as fast as when I applied for the Russian visa two years earlier. I had hoped that they reacted fast because I was going to Stockholm Friday and I hoped to go to the embassy there.

By Friday I had not heard anything and I therefore had to push them a couple of times before i had a reaction. The reaction from the invitation service was that they had gotten my request, which was not what I had hoped for.

I was getting kind of anxious because by Monday noon I still had not received anything and I was only in Stockholm Monday to Wednesday. Monday afternoon I finally received the paper I needed but I was booked in meetings all afternoon, so I had to fix it the following day.

The slow service from the agency brought my time to fix the visa down to the two following days, as Thursday was a holiday in both Sweden and Denmark.  I did not expect that it was possibly for and I was leaving to Estonia Friday morning and there I needed my passport.

Next part of the process was to fill the application form and them find a bank to receive my deposit for the actual visa. Due to my time pressure I had to apply for an express visa that cost twice the fee.

Tuesday morning I started to fill out the papers, which was not that difficult. The company from where I received the invitation had luckily issued a guide on how to fill in almost each box in the questionnaire. After filling in the paper I had the possibility to take the afternoon off.

I had a possibility to leave my office 1 pm and I hurried into the inner city as the amount that I had to pay for the visa had to be paid to an account in a Swedish bank. I asked a taxi driver to find the requested bank and pay the 120 Euro for the express visa service, and get the requested proof of payment that needed to follow the visa application.

After I had gotten the proof of my payment in the bank I had to find a place where I could have taken a new passport photo, as I also had to bring a picture along to be glued on the corner of the application. In the old days there were loads of photo shops but especially in the Nordic countries they have all disappeared; the entrance of the e-commerce has closed everything regarding photo equipment; it is bought on the Internet today.

I headed for the central station in order to take a photo in a passport photo booth; where I believed that there would be one. After some searching I found out that the only one was behind the payment area and I therefore I asked if I could enter without buying a ticket. I was allowed and 5 minutes later I was out of there and in a taxi heading for the embassy.

I arrived at the address of the embassy and found a housing complex that hosted embassies, privet apartments and loads of dentists. The Belarus embassy was on the 4thfloor and I rang the doorbell as the door was closed. A young woman opened the door and asked what I wanted. I replied that I wanted to hand in an application. She replied that they were closed and I could return on Thursday.

I just looked at her, probably looking like a big question mark! I told her that I had come all the way from Denmark in order to hand this in and that I had all papers, payments and photos that I was requested to have. She told me to wait and said she would see what she could do. I waited outside the door for about almost 10 minutes, before she came out and said that I could enter.

I was met by yet a beautiful woman that took all my papers and said that it looked okay and I could get my visa on Thursday, as they were closed on Wednesdays. Again I looked like a question mark as I was supposed to fly home the following day and it was a national holiday on Thursday. I had to ask if they were open on the Thursday and she just looked at me with look like if I was dumb.

I left and had to figure out where I could get a cheap hotel room for the following day. I was happy that I had managed to deliver my application and there was an actual possibility that I could pick it up and then leave for Estonia with my passport.

I was back in the building and the embassy less than 2 days later, at 9.30 am Thursday morning. When I entered the main door from the hallway on the 4thfloor to the door of the embassy there was a queue of 4 persons in the little room that soon ran out of air. I had to open the door and when I did that another person entered. I was waiting there for more than one hour before I could enter and most of the time I had been standing there looking into an empty embassy.

As soon as I entered the girl from 2 days earlier recognized me.  She quickly found my passport and I could finally leave with my visa ready to go to Estonia and Belarus later. 

Dr_Seuss says:
Like I'm one to talk really :D Given the number of run ins I've had with authorities on my travels :O though as Oscar Wilde said ''The only thing to do with good advice is pass it on. It is never any use to oneself '' ;)
Posted on: Jun 15, 2012
bernard69 says:
congrats on your feature Christian,have a fantastic sunny weekend:)
Posted on: Jun 15, 2012
Chokk says:
Ian - I know but I have learnt to be very calm in these kind of situations. Now I just see it as a part of my trip, I almost get disappointed when nothing like this happens.
Posted on: Jun 15, 2012
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On our way to Riga
On our way to Riga
photo by: the_bill