I plan to travel from Moscow to Warsaw via Belarus by train. I am a U.S. citizen. Do I need a transit visa and where do I get one?
This news article states that the train route from Moscow to Warsaw requires a transit visa for Belarus.
It goes on to give this advice:
Best is to take care of your Belarus transit visa in advance. You should apply for visa in Belarus Consulate in your country. Required documents may vary depending on your citizenship, but normally the list includes:
- Russian visa
- Ticket or ticket booking confirmation
- Photos 3cm*4cm - have to be taken in advance! They don't provide this service at the consulate
- Application form - also, better to fill it out in advance.
We do not recommend applying for Belarus transit visa while in Russia (just because spending time on sightseeing is much more enjoyable than spending this time at the Consulate!), but if you have to do this here are contact details and working hours of Belarus Consulate in Moscow: Maroseika Str., 17/6 building 4, Tel. +7 495 777-66-44
The United States are not on the list of countries whose nationals are generally allowed to enter Belarus visa-free.
The United States are on the list of countries whose nationals are eligible for visa-free access through Minsk airport. However, this requires you to arrive at and depart from Minsk airport on an international flight that does not originate in or depart to Russia. As you are on a train, you cannot use this exemption.
Therefore, you need a visa to transit Belarus. It is usually best to apply in advance at the embassy (or consulate where applicable) responsible for your place of residence. This visa can either be a transit visa or a short-stay visa. To remain up-to-date on Belarus’ requirements, I recommend always checking the information presented on their embassy website.
You no longer need a transit visa since 2020-07-01, because Russia and Belarus now recognise each others visas. See also this post about border crossings between Russia and Belarus for more details.
Warning as of 2020-07-07: another source in Russian, dated 2020-07-01, states it will take several more months until it actually takes force. These sources contradict each other. Either it's already in force, or it will be soon (and as of July 2020, the 2019-2021 Coronavirus Pandemic means few travellers should make the overland EU-Belarus-Russia trip anyway).