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1. Posted by ess_tee (First Time Poster 1 posts) 12y

ess_tee has indicated that this thread is about Belarus

Never been to Europe.
Have a Friend in Mosyr, Belarus.
Trying to find the cheapest easiest way to get from Ottawa canada.
Any suggestions are appreciated.
How bad is the paperwork situation?

2. Posted by mtlchica (Respected Member 922 posts) 12y

I searched for Visa's to members of the Russian federation and found this website:

http://www.visatorussia.com/russianvisa.nsf/index.html!OpenForm

It also helps you track down your Russian embassy so they can help you. For info about Belarus, just scroll down and look on the left side of the page. The site is pretty informative compared to other visa sites I've seen in the past.

As for cheap ways to get there, you can either start working for an airline and get a buddy pass or go the popular internet route by checking out:

cheaptickets.ca
expedia.ca

and other popular sites. ANother way to go about doing it is get a cheap ticket to London or Paris and then fly by budget airline to Belarus.

Hope that helped a bit.

Cheers,
Katie ;)

Post 3 was removed by a moderator
4. Posted by Eurotravel (Budding Member 22 posts) 10y

Hi guys:

We can answer your questions about Belarus. We have been there many times as my wife is from Minsk. Belarus can be both expensive and a bit challenging to travel to. But if you plan correctly, you can minimize both.

For example, usually the least expensive way to get to Minsk is usually via Vilnius, Lithuania. (unfortunately there are no real budget airlines flying to Belarus at this time). Lithuanian Airlines is positioning themselves as a discount airline, so if you book early enough you can fly to Vilnius for amazingly low rates. Then just take a 4 hour train ride and you are in the center of Minsk. This is often about 1/4 of the cost of flying directly to Minsk. I don't think that Lithuanian Airlines flies to Canada. BUT if you can fly to somewhere in Europe cheaply that IS served by LAL (such as London), you are in luck. You can do something similar by flying into Warsaw, but it is a 10 hour (and more expensive) train ride.

As for paperwork, at first it might seem daunting, but it is really not so bad. You need to get an invitation from a tourist agency. I suggest using a Belarusian Travel Agency that can offer you real help and advice. To get an invitation, the agency usually will reserve a hotel for you. The invitation usually costs between $25-30. Submit an application form, the invitation, hotel voucher and photo to the Belarus embassy (usually you can do everthing by mail) and in a week or two you will have a tourist visa. Private invitations are also possible, but a bit more challenging for your friend.

We have written an indepth Travel Guide for Belarus that covers all of this in detail. Have a look at it and let me know if you have more questions. I have subscribed to this thread and come back if I see a comment.

Gene

[ Edit: Edited at Sep 16, 2006 3:43 AM by Eurotravel ]

5. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 10y

Hello ess_tee
I think no paper work would be required, for most/all european countries, if u just want to travel, and not to work. If visas are required, i think they can easily be obtained, in Canada from the various consulates. I will look up, visa requirements, for Canadian citizens, and post them in this thread later.
I think the cheapest way, to get to Europe would be to fly. Some flights would be cheaper than others, so shop around. The internet is usually where to buy the cheapest tickets. If us say from which city in Canada, to which city in Europe(if u have a particular city in mind. If u dont mind which city u fly to, of course it will be cheaper) u want to fly, i can look up some cheap flights for u.
There is also another option. U can go on standby. U go to the airport and wait, until somebody does not show up for a flight, to europe. Then the airline will sell the flight to u cheaply. I have never done this, so dont know the details about how it works.
Another option, would be a courior flight. U would bring a package, to Europe, for a company. They would in return pay for some of your flight. I also have never tried this, so dont know the details. Maybe somebody else here, can give details, about the courior and standby options.
Mel

6. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 10y

Fly to a major hub in Europe and then look at options to Minsk (generally more expensive), Vilnius, Kaunas (the cheapies fly there, but not to Vilnius, although as stated previously Lithuanian airlines is trying to come down to that level), or possibly Krakow or Warsaw.

From Lithuania, transport is frequent and easy to Belarus. Warsaw takes longer than Krakow but is probably easier.

Whilst the paperwork isn't as bad as all that, it's not as easy as it could be, due to the wonders of the old Soviet beaurocracy that are still in place (although Minsk-2, avoids much of it, although can lead to legnthy delays). I wouldn't bother with a private visa, unless yopur friend is unemployed with los of free time, and really like you. It's much more work for them than for you. Tourist visa's are reasonably easy to get.

The ONLY place you can get visa's on entry is at Minsk-2 National Airport, and I have a Canadian friend who has done this on several occassions without problem, although it can take a chunk of time. If you are crossing by land (i.e. from Lithuania), you have to have your visa beforehand.

[ Edit: Edited at Sep 17, 2006 6:14 AM by Gelli ]

7. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 10y

Hello Ess tee
Paperwork for travelling(not working)
Canadian citizens do not need visas, for most European countries. They can stay up to 3 months, in each country. Their passport must be valid for 6 months after entry into a country. Canadians need visas, for Russia,Turkey,Estonia, Latvia, Poland and Romania. If canadians have a visa, for Estonia, Latvia or Lithuania, they can enter, any of the three countries, with the same visa. U will need transit visas, to cross the Ukraine and Belarus(if travelling for example from Poland, Slovakia, Hungary or Romania, to Moscow.)
Mel

8. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 10y

Mel - where did you get that from? I really can't belive that Canadians don't need a visa for Belarus, and all information that I have, experience and logic says that Canadians DO require a visa.

The list of countries that don't need a visa, is basically a list of coimmunist friends, and nobody else:

Visas
Required by all except the following:
(a) nationals of the CIS (except nationals of Turkmenistan, who do require visas);
(b) nationals of Cuba, Malaysia and Serbia & Montenegro, provided travelling for touristic purposes for up to 30 days;
(c) nationals of Bosnia & Herzegovina and Macedonia (Former Yugoslav Republic of), provided travelling for business purposes and holding an invitation letter;
(d) nationals of Mongolia, provided holding proof of touristic (return tickets), business or social (invitation to visit from Belarus resident) visit;
(e) transit passengers continuing their journey to a third country provided holding valid onward or return documentation and not leaving the airport.

Having said that, invitation lettes are no longer required for some nationalities, including Canadians:

Visa Note
(a) Tourist visas are only available to those booking through a travel agency in Belarus or from a travel agency in another country which has an agreement with Belarus state travel and can supply state travel vouchers. (b) Children travelling on their parents’ passports do not need a visa but must be accounted for on parents’ visa application form.

Nationals of EU countries, Andorra, Argentina, Bahrain, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Iceland, Japan, Korea (Rep), Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Norway, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates and Uruguay no longer need to submit formal letters of invitation to obtain Visitor and Business visas.

9. Posted by Eurotravel (Budding Member 22 posts) 10y

It is incredible that people are posting here without knowing what they are talking about. Mel, have you EVER been to Belarus? Naturally a canadian citizen MUST have a visa to go to Belarus! To tell someone otherwise, is just irresponsible.

Gelli: Yes you can get an entry visa at the Minsk airport, but you forgot to mention that this must be arranged in advance with a travel agent, who will meet you at the airport and give the necessary documentation (invitation, hotel vouchers, etc) so you can get a visa. If you arrive without this, you will be on the next flight back home.

Note that it says invntations are no longer necessary "to obtain Visitor and Business visas" it does not say that they are not necessary for Tourists Visas. There are many reports of embassies (such as the UK) still requiring invitations for tourists visas from European and Canadian citizens.

The only discount airline that flies to Kaunas that I am aware of is Ryan Air. This is fine if you have decided to go from the UK, where Ryan Air is based. But Lithaunian airlines flies to many European destinations (Amsterdam, Brussels, Milan, Paris, etc). Currently a return flight from Amsterdam to Vilnius can be booked for under $150

All of this information and more about travel to Belarus is written here: http://www.travelswise.com/belarus.htm

10. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 10y

Please, read my post again. I did NOT say that Canadians do not need a visa, to go to Belarus.
I said, in order to go accross Belarus, Canadians would need a transit visa. I said absolutely nothing about whether or not Canadians would need a visa, for to stay in the country for a visit. That is because i do not have this information in my book. I got my information from the Rough Guide to Europe.
Mel