For many Brest residents, the path to Schengen does not start from Terespol, but from Budapest.
The opening of borders and the gradual lifting of covid restrictions aroused an increased interest among Belarusians in obtaining Schengen visas, because in the two years of the pandemic curtain, the Schengen terms have ended for many. But it will not be possible to return to the usual settings in resolving the visa issue — political aspects have replaced covid. Vb.by found out whether it is difficult to get a Schengen visa in Brest now, and how much it will cost.
The historical leader in the number of Schengen visas issued to Belarusians in general and Brest residents in particular is Poland (up to 360,000 per year in the country). It would seem, just collect the documents and go to the visa center. But now everything is more difficult. As of the beginning of May, Poland opens only national visas: work, study, humanitarian and "Pole's card".
There is an option with guest visas — at the invitation of a close relative — but this possibility must first be agreed with the consul in Brest. But the most popular "tourist" visa remains unavailable indefinitely.
Let's say you still found the version of the Polish visa you need. Then there are two options: register yourself at the visa center or contact intermediaries. Firstly, the task is not an easy one, there are practically no free places there. Journalists tried to sign up on Wednesday morning, but to no avail. They wrote to intermediaries. They offer assistance in obtaining an invitation, which will simplify the task of obtaining a visa. But such a service will cost 800 rubles. And this is before paying a consular fee of 35 euros and other related payments.
If you have a job offer, the intermediary will help you make an appointment at the visa center and prepare an application form and other documents. True, the client is immediately warned — the waiting time for an appointment for filing can be from a week to several months, and the services of an intermediary will amount to 500 rubles.
What if not Poland?
Many of the Brest residents who turned to intermediaries, after reading the news in advance, immediately clarify — it makes no difference to us of which country the Schengen visa will be. The main thing is to get it no matter what. There is more room for maneuver here. The Baltic countries are completely closed, but Hungary, for example, issues tourist visas. Local travel agencies quickly got their bearings and now some of them offer to spend a weekend in Budapest, simultaneously applying for a multiple-entry Schengen visa. They take about 160 euros for such a weekend.
It is possible to get tourist visas to some countries (in addition to Hungary, these are Italy, Spain, Austria, but in each case there are nuances) also individually, without buying a weekend tour. It will be necessary to provide the paid hotel reservation to the visa center. Here, too, there is a chance to get a multiple Schengen visa. It should be remembered that in this case, it is not so easy to reserve an appointment for the submission of documents on your own due to the rush demand. However, here the services of intermediaries are cheaper — about 200 rubles per person for assistance in making an appointment and preparing documents. At the same time, the nearest date for submitting documents for obtaining an Italian visa is already in July, and for a Spanish one you will have to go to Moscow.
The situation with visas and covid restrictions is constantly changing — you need to check the latest information at the embassies or visa centers.