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Myself and a friend (Irish passport holders) purchased, a little too eagerly, flights from Dublin to Minsk via Moscow.

We didn't realise that visa free travel doesn't apply to travelers arriving from Russia.

I'm trying to figure out what we would need to do to travel to Belarus, so far - it looks like we need to get a Belarusian visa and then either two transit visas or a multi-entry Russian visa.

Is this assumption correct? We had planned on arriving in Moscow on a Friday morning and then again on Monday morning, the transit visa is only valid for 3 days so we would need two of them?

My main questions are:

  • How can I apply for a Belarusian visa from Ireland?
  • Where can I get a letter of invitation, from a hotel?
  • Is it possible / better to get two transit visas for Russia or a multiple entry visa? Are you allowed to get a multiple entry visa for the sole purpose of transiting
  • What would the approximate cost of all required visas be? It looks like it's around 60 euro for the Belarusian visa + 25 for the short term stay - I can't seem to find out how much a Russian transit visa costs..
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You have basically 2 options:

1) Get a Belarussian visa. Belarus does not have an embassy in Ireland and all consular affairs for Ireland are managed by their embassy in London.

http://uk.mfa.gov.by/en/embassy/

This will not be cheaper and certainly not easier than changing the flight.

2) Change the Moscow - Minsk portion of your flight and book an alternate flight to Minsk through Riga, Vilnius, or Warsaw.

It is likely the airlines will rebook this for you for a change fee. Alternatively, you can cancel that portion and rebook on another low cost carrier (check skyscanner), but MUST coordinate with first airlines to make sure all is ok with return (if you just skip the leg without coordinating with airlines, they will not let you board the return flight).

  • Does the Belarus visa allow travel through Russia? – Michael Hampton Feb 25 at 3:22
  • This is a sort of fuzzy question, as there are technically no borders between Belarus and Russia. You technically could drive through by car without trouble, if only staying a very short time, but I would not recommend it. You would not be allowed to travel by bus, train, or plane without a Russian visa. There is talk of unifying this soon, but it is still unclear how and when. – Daniel Feb 25 at 8:04
  • TIP: In July a new regime will be introduced for electronic visas for 30 days for individuals not requiring a visa to enter Schengen Zone to allow them to enter Kaliningrad without an official visa. This regime will require online registration of an e-visa 48 hours prior to entry. With this e-visa, it would be possible to also fly to Moscow or St. Petersburg or other places in Russia you can fly to directly from Kaliningrad. The only condition of this e-visa is that you must both enter and exit Russia from Kaliningrad. tass.com/economy/957994 – Daniel Feb 25 at 8:11
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    Believe it or not, it appears cheaper than changing or cancelling the flights. Furthermore - a double entry Russian transit visa is required – TomSelleck Mar 1 at 9:53

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