Schengen Visa Fraud - General Information

According to the information of Fundacja “RENESANS. BY”, the annual turnover of the illegal trade on the visas issued by Polish consulates in Belarus was exceeding 50 000 000 EUR. The illegal consular activities lasted from 2012 till March 2016.

A request about alleged illegal visa business in Belarus was submitted to the Petitions Commission of the European Parliament by the deputies.

Here is the reply provided by the European Commission to the request of the deputies:

The problems are related to unauthorised use of specialised scripts for automated registration of applications right after a new batch of dates is made available to the public on the website of the consulates. This can lead applicants to believe that they are forced to purchase appointment slots offered by unauthorised intermediaries. In order to remedy the situation, Polish authorities are introducing technical adaptations to the system, including the detection of automated activity and gradually releasing appointment dates for a given month to the public.

Fundacja RENESANS.BY which is registered in Poland and officially represents the Renaissance public movement of Belarus, sent an appeal to the President of the European Commission on September 25, 2015 asking to conduct investigation of the illegal consular activities of the Polish consulates in Belarus. The appeal featured arguments to prove that there are solid reasons to suspect the fact of committing a crime. To initiate an investigation is the main goal of Renaissance.

The Office of the President of the European Commission provided a reply:

Despite best efforts of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland, we have been informed that there still are cases of abuse of the electronic visa application registration system. Specialized scripts are in use serving for automated registration of applications right after a new batch of dates is made available to the public. Therefor, the applicants cannot book the appointments directly but are forced to pushase them from intermediates. … The Polish MFA has no knowledge of who is responsible for those acts. Belarusian authorities have been informed about this phenomen and asked for support in indentifying and brining to justice the persons responsible.

Fundacja RENESANS.BY believes it’s necessary to comment on the above statements of the European Commission, and to pay special attention to the following problems:

  • the theory about illegal mediators using scripts is not grounded,
  • information gathered by the Renaissance directly from the illegal mediators allows to state that the net of the illegal mediators in Belarus has been created with the support of the diplomatic corps of Poland,
  • the position of the Belarusian authorities in the illegal visa business question is contradictory.

Statement of Fundacja RENESANS.BY

Poland and Belarus are historically closely connected. Annually Poland issues 350 to 400 thousand visas to the citizens of Belarus. And this was exploited by the criminals to organize the illegal visa business. The business is based on restricting access of the Belarusian citizens to the website of the Polish consulates.

In 2011, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland introduced the system of electronic registration of visit dates for submission of visa applications to the Polish consulates in Minsk, Brest and Grodno, Belarus.
In 2011, the citizens of Belarus could choose visit dates and register their applications freely for 3 weeks since the dates had been made available on the MFA website.
But in 2012, the MFA website featured a text about the absence of available date slots. This text reappeared there each month of 2013, 2014 and 2015. Even today, the MFA website contains text that there are no available dates to register applications of the most popular types of visas.

At the turn of 2011, neither demographic nor economic situation has changed in Belarus. The Renaissance believes that the problem with the electronic registration is related to the appearance of Tomasz Janik in Minsk. In 2011, when there was a scandal in Europe when the police services of multiple countries - France, Denmark, Germany and Spain - revealed the illegal activities of the Polish councils in Lutsk, Ukraine. But instead of taking measures to prevent the illegal activities, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland moved the Consul General Tomasz Janik from Lutsk to Minsk, Belarus, where he took the position of the Head of the Consular Department of the Embassy of Poland in Minsk. And since 2012, a very widescale business on Schengen visas became active in Belarus.

The representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland spoke multiple times about the illegal visa business in 2012, 2013 and 2015. They stated that an organized criminal group consisting of Belarusian citizens controls the procedure of issuing visas by the Polish consulates in Belarus and is benefiting illegally from it.

On November 14, 2012 the ambassador of Poland brought apologies to the whole people of Belarus for complexities in obtaining visas in the Polish consulates on a big press conference in Minsk. Then he said that “there is a group of people, probably a criminal one, which has created a technology for blocking all of the date slots for a visit to the consulate. Then these date slots are sold near the consulate entrance.” The original statement can be found here or here.

Article 240 of the Criminal Code and article 304 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Poland oblige officials to report all known facts of illegal activities to the Police or Prosecutor’s Office, but the representatives of the MFA of Poland have not done it.

To explain the situation around their consulates, the MFA representatives proposed the total of 5 versions why it was impossible to register a visit to the consulate on the MFA website:


Somebody is generating a huge amount of requests to the MFA website to block it from hooligan prompting. However, this version does not explain why the date slots disappear after the attack on the website is over.


The criminals has cracked the source codes of the Polish MFA website and can block the date slots and later resell them to the citizens of Belarus. This version was stated by the Ambassador of Poland in May 2012, see However, in Summer 2013, the press secretary of the MFA of Poland stated that there had been no known cases of cracking of the website. This statement can be found here.


Beltelecom, the national Internet service provider monopolist of Belarus, “kills” TCP/IP packets and this way filters access to the website of the Polish MFA. According to that, access to the website is denied to ordinary citizens of Belarus, but is granted to the companies acknowledged by the government and the State Security Committee of Belarus and which benefit from the procedure. This version was stated in a letter of the MFA of Poland, page 3 see this document. However, a representative of Beltelecom later rejected such accusations, see here or here.
The Renaissance activists constantly monitored the procedure of registration of visa applications for a certain visit date on the Polish website using the traceroute program. The monitoring logs show that TCP/IP packets leave the Beltelecom servers successfully and are killed on the Polish MFA side. It means that the MFA employees themselves manipulate their website and that the members of the organized criminal group should be looked for among them. See examples of the monitoring logs.


The number of visa applicants exceeds the capacity of the consulates 2-3 times. But in 2011, the number of applicants did not exceed the capacity. However, this statement of the Polish MFA is not confirmed by statistics. It’s important to note that The Renaissance possesses proofs that in 2012 the Polish councils started to issue visas of shorter terms to law-abiding citizens of Belarus: visas valid for only 1 to 6 months instead of 1 year like it was before. This way, the Polish councils forced the same people to apply for a visa a couple of times per year, using the “assistance” of the illegal mediators. This allowed the organizers of the visa business to benefit even more. In 2013, a law firm from Warsaw appealed (on the basis of the power of attorney) to the consulate of Poland in Brest asking why the Belarusian citizens keep receiving visas valid for only 1 to 5 months. That appeal included the list of such citizens and their passport numbers, as well as a power of attorney granted to Fundacja RENESANS.BY to find out the reasons why the visa validity terms were shortened. But the consulate did not provide any reply to that appeal.


Mediator companies use special software called scripts to occupy all of the date slots for a visit to the consulate. On page 3 of the letter of the MFA of Poland sent to the Polish District Prosecutor’s Office, there is a list of 11 measures taken to protect the website from these scripts. For example, one of the measure (numbered 3 in the list) is setting a minimal amount of time required to fill in the visa application and register a visit to the consulate. This means that if it took less than 8 minutes to fill in the visa application form, then the website considers this attempt as an automated registration performed by script and rejects the application. This measure is really highly effective, because the goals of the scripts is to occupy as many date slots as possible within a couple of seconds. The Renaissance turned to experts from the leading Belarusian software companies asking to evaluate the effectiveness of the measures taken by the Polish MFA against the scripts. The answer was unambiguous: it was impossible to create a script which would bypass such security system and block multiple date slots for a visit to the consulate (The names of the companies cannot be provided as the experts did not provide their agreement for that, as they fear prosecution by the Belarusian authorities). However, as seen from the screenshots of websites of the illegal mediators, some of them provide 99% guarantee of registering a date for a visit to the consulate as soon as possible. Another mediator company states that it has registered 100% of their customers’ visa applications last month. Yet another mediator promises to pay 20 EUR compensation in case it does not manage to register the visit date during the next month. It’s obvious that these companies are very confident in their capabilities.

Here is the list of the websites of illegal mediator companies containing the price and conditions information on how to obtain a visa in the Polish consulates. It’s important to note that the mediators periodically changed information on their websites according to the situation in the “visa market”, and also took measures to mask their activities. They frequently changed the addresses of their websites or added links to other websites where the detailed information about the conditions was provided.


It’s important that the MFA of Poland uses different kinds of tricks as well. In 2015, the MFA website featured a big list of available date slots for a visit to the consulate for the next month. A citizen could select a date slot, fill in their visa application and press the “register” button. But then they would see an error page informing that the registration failed. This trick was used by the MFA of Poland most likely to mislead the representatives of the embassies of the EU member states to which Fundacja RENESANS.BY had sent appeals trying to draw their attention to the illegal consular activities. So the representatives of these embassies opened the website and could see a lot of available registration date slots but were not aware that it was impossible to register any of them successfully anyway.

It’s important to mention, that the correspondence of one of the MFA employees (Office of Information Technology and Telecommunications, Consular Systems Division) responsible for the website, Robert Paluch, was published in the Belarusian press. He stated that he was able to see how illegal mediators register visa applications for a visit to the consulate in batches of 70 pieces at a time, but the MFA of Poland did not report this information to Belarusian police to avoid an international political scandal.


Heads of some of the mediator companies explained to The Renaissance that their goal is to publish advertisements and attract customers. In 2012, the illegal mediator companies took money from their customers in advance for registration of their visits. The currency of payments was the US dollar. 100 dollars out of the prepayment received from the customer was transferred to the next mediator in the chain as well as an email containing the personal data of the customers. And on the day when the registration slots became available on the MFA website, the mediator companies got back the files with the visa applications of their customers registered for a visit to the consulate. In 2013, the mediators who collected money from the companies changed the way of cooperation: first the company would receive the files with registered visa applications, and only then sell the registered applications to the customers, and after that settle up with the mediator. The heads of the mediator companies are sure that the mediator who they transfer money to is a representative of the Polish consulate. This statement is confirmed by the way the net of the illegal mediators attracting the customers was built. To start cooperating, the mediators came to the managers of the companies which provided assistance in filling in applications for the MFA website for a fee of 10-20 USD, and proposed to register the dates for a visit to the consulate. To prove their competence, they would tell the exact time when the date slots would become available on the MFA website. It’s obvious that this information was only known to the representatives of the MFA of Poland. This way, the mediators would earn trust and then establish cooperation between them and the companies. And after that, the company would take 150-300 USD from the customers instead of 10-20 USD, and pay 100 out of them to the mediator. To create an illegal net of the mediators, the organizers of the visa business used travel companies accredited by the Embassy of Poland in Minsk. Also, they offered the businessmen who turned to the Department of Trade and Investments, to create companies to “provide assistance” to Belarusian citizens in obtaining visit dates and visas. The Department of Trade and Investments is an official Polish diplomatic institution in Minsk, 6 Volodarskogo St. and those businessmen turned to this institution to get help in obtaining a Polish visa for themselves. The Renaissance possesses other information which will help investigation find the connection between the illegal mediators and the Polish consulates.


In October 2013, an appeal regarding the illegal visa business was submitted to the General Prosecutor’s Office of Poland on behalf of Fundacja RENESANS.BY. The appeal contained information that 10 citizens of Belarus who paid 150-170 USD to different illegal mediators for getting a visit date to the consulate, 4 citizens who got visas bypassing the procedure of registration of the visit date and without their personal presence during the submission of the application, and one citizen who was a manager of a mediator company and could tell about the details of the activities of his company, - all of them were ready to testify. It’s important to note however, that it was very hard to persuade them to do so.

A letter of the General Prosecutor’s Office of Poland reads that the appeal was handed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland for consideration. However, we have not received any reply.
In 2014 Fundacja RENESANS. BY turned to the General Prosecutor’s Office asking about the results of the inspection which should have been performed in connection with our appeal. But the General Prosecutor’s Office replied that it is not responsible for the activities of the MFA of Poland and that we should appeal to the MFA itself and in case of negative results - send a complaint to the Office of the Prime Minister of Poland.
After that letter, in November 2014, Fundacja RENESANS.BY sent a request composed by a Polish lawyer to the MFA. The request contained a demand to stop the law violation caused by ignoring our appeal and to provide a reply to it. But the reply has not been provided. Fundacja RENESANS.BY sent several appeals to the Office of the Prime Minister of Poland Donald Tusk, but no results followed - the illegal consular activities in Belarus were still going on.
It’s important to note that Donald Tusk is the leader of the Civil Platform (Platforma Obywatelska) party which was the ruling party in Poland at that time. Leaders of the MFA of Poland who also are members of Civil Platform are suspected in organization of the visa business. Our appeals and publications in Belarusian and Polish press do not leave any doubt that Donald Tusk was aware of the visa fraud in Belarus, but has not done anything to prevent it. Today Donald Tusk is the President of the European Council. The Renaissance is sure it is necessary to find out if Donald Tusk is involved in the visa fraud in Belarus and if he has ever received any reward for his Office not taking measures to prevent the illegal visa business.


It’s worth to look closer at the procedure of obtaining a visa without registering the visa application for a specific date of submission and without the need to attend the consulate in person. The cost of this service was 400-500 EUR. In the appeals submitted to the Polish authorities in 2013-2014, Fundacja RENESANS.BY stated that according to the information gathered by The Renaissance supporters, the Embassy of Poland in Minsk received more than 50% of all visa applications without registration for a specific date. The report of the Supreme Audit Office (Nawyzsza Izba Kontroli) showed that the audit revealed 76% of visa applications not being registered (page 10 of the report). This report got into the hands of The Renaissance in January 2015. The letter of the MFA of Poland reads that only “organized groups of children, sportsmen, artists and pilgrims and people travelling for humanitarian purposes” are allowed to submit visa applications without registering them on the website. During a 5-month period of monitoring the procedure of application for a visa to the Embassy of Poland in Minsk, The Renaissance activists have not revealed a single application submitted by representatives of one of the groups mentioned above. Visa applications not registered on the website were mostly submitted by the illegal mediators.

Fundacja RENESANS.BY appealed to the Embassy of Poland in Minsk at least 5 times in 2012 requesting details about the procedure of submission of visa applications not registered for a specific visit date, as there was no information about it neither on the Embassy website nor on the MFA’s one. But all of our appeals were ignored and we have not got any reply. After the third complaint was sent to the authorities in Warsaw, the MFA of Poland sent a letter to Fundacja RENESANS.BY offering to submit visa applications without registering them. By that time, it had become clear to us that the visa procedures in the Embassy of Poland are corrupt. The Renaissance decided to reject the offer of the MFA, so there had not been any visa applications submitted by The Renaissance activists to the Polish consulates without being registered. But the MFA website contains information that the procedure of obtaining a visa without registration for a specific date was actively used by representatives of a Belarusian opposition movement acknowledged by the EU. Probably that’s the reason why these representatives remain silent about the visa fraud in Belarus despite being well aware of it.

It’s important to note that the managers of the mediator companies told The Renaissance that they hand 200 EUR to the Embassy of Poland for each visa application of their customers, as otherwise it would not be accepted.

Citizens of Belarus used this service actively, despite its high price. The reason is that for example if one pays 170 USD to a mediator to have their visa application registered for a visit date in the consulate, they have to also pay the official 60 EUR visa fee and attend the consulate to submit. Such applications generally have 1 year specified as the desired visa validity term, but in fact, the vast majority of applicants would obtain visas valid for only 5-6 months. Some would even get a visa valid for just 1-3 months. And when the validity term is over, the citizen has to apply for a visa again, paying both the visa fee and the mediator services cost once more. But if one initially chose to pay 400-500 EUR, they would be guaranteed to get a visa valid for 12 months, and get it really quick - just within 1 week, and without the need to attend the consulate and wait in the line.

In one of the letters sent to Fundacja RENESANS.BY, the MFA of Poland states that it’s not possible to distinguish the visa applications registered for a specific date and not registered in the electronic system. But having a look at the first page of two visa application forms, one registered for a certain visit date and the other not, the differences between them are obvious. Those registered for a visit date have a barcode, a digital number of the application, and the assigned date of submission on them. All of these elements are missing from the application not registered for a certain submission date. So, once this observation is used to find all applications not registered for a certain date, it is possible then to find out if the applicant is a sportsman or an artist etc. The report of the Supreme Audit Office notes the good conditions of storage of the paper visa applications in the Embassy. So, during investigation, it’s possible to find out all citizens who had submitted their visa applications without registering them for a specific date without a legal basis. Then, it’s possible to determine the whole chain from the mediator to the organizers of the business.

It’s important to say that the Embassy of Poland in Minsk (not taking into account Polish consulates in Brest and Grodno) accepted 10-12 thousand visa applications monthly. Most of them were not registered for submission on a specific date, so assuming at least 5 thousand applications each month were submitted through the mediators who were paid at least 400 EUR, the mediators received more than 20 million EUR during the year, which is almost a half of the annual turnover of the illegal visa business in Belarus. The other part of the turnover is generated by the service of registration a visa application for a submission date. According to the data possessed by The Renaissance, it was used by about 220-250 thousand Belarusian citizens annually.


Here is a copy of the Decree of the District Prosecutor’s Office of Warsaw about the refusal to conduct an investigation. The prosecutor did not listen to any of the witnesses, neither from the Belarusian, nor from Polish side (the Polish side could be represented by the Ambassador of Poland in Minsk in connection with his multiple statements about the activities of an organized criminal group). The prosecutor has not even listened to the author of the appeal. During the personal meeting in the Prosecutor’s Office, the prosecutor told the author of the appeal that he had turned to the MFA of Poland with a request, and once he received the response, he would listen to him. But after receiving the response, the prosecutor decided to refuse in conducting an investigation. The letter of the MFA sent to the Prosecutor’s Office contains misleading information. It’s stated on the page 5 that the Supreme Audit Office inspected the consular activities of the Embassy in Minsk in 2012 and 2013, and that no violations had been found. But this is actually not true. The inspection took place only in 2012, and pages 3 and 14 of the report contain negative evaluation of the consular activities due to impossibility to register a visa application for a visit date on the MFA website. The report mentions this fact of impossibility to register an application at least 9 times. Pages 12 and 27 contains a request to correct the situation immediately. Page 4 states that the current situation could make foreigners (citizens of Belarus) have a negative picture of Poland. Page 11 features a question of a representative of the Audit Office about the reasons of the situation when it was impossible to register an appointment date on the website. This page contains the statement of the Embassy representative that the Embassy is unaware of these reasons, because the website is controlled by the MFA in Warsaw. It’s important to note that during the last stage of inspection and after its completion, the representatives of the Embassy actively commented in the Belarusian press on the reasons why it was impossible to register via the website, and they pointed to the activities of some organized criminal group. It is very surprising that the Embassy employees had not reported anything about that criminal group to the Audit Office.

The letter of the MFA sent to the Prosecutor’s Office contains misleading information aimed at discrediting the Renaissance movement leader and undermine trust to his statements. The MFA representative stated on page 4 that he had requested the Embassy of Poland in Minsk to accept the visa applications of his supporters without registering them for an appointment date, and also that he had sent a letter to the Embassy threatening to block the system of electronic registration of visa applications. Actually, the Embassy of Poland presents the situation as if it has been blackmailed. However, the copies of such letters had not been provided by the MFA. It's important to make it clear that these statements are not true. An appeal was sent to the Prosecutor’s Office regarding the fact of defamation, but the Prosecutor’s Office replied that this issue should be addressed in court. Another appeal was addressed to the court, but it was rejected stating that the MFA of Poland provided unreliable information in only one of the letters and did not spread that information. This way, it’s impossible in Poland to bring to account the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs for providing false information to the Prosecutor’s Office.

The same letter of the MFA, page 2, presents the applicant as an incompetent person. The MFA claims that the applicant presents the situation with registering visa applications in such way that the mediators register date slots for appointment anonymously, and then sell them. According to the MFA, the mediators first collect the personal data of the customers, and then fill in the visa applications using these data and register them on the website for a certain appointment date. The paradox of such statement, however, is that there was an article published in independent Belarusian media in 2013 titled “The Truth about Schengen Visas. Lies of the Polish Ambassador” (three parts of this article are available in the Internet, and can be found as “Правда о шенгенских визах. Ложь польского посла” in Russian) where the statement of the Polish Ambassador about the mediators allegedly registering the dates anonymously was criticized. So in the letter to the Prosecutor’s Office, the MFA of Poland took revenge on the author of the critical statements by completely distorting the facts. This way, the MFA of Poland demonstrated that it may provide false information even to the Prosecutor’s Office and is not afraid of any appeals to the Polish authorities.


To defuse the situation and suspend the decisive actions of The Renaissance, the MFA of Poland in its letter, page 3 promised to shift to the phone-based registration of visa applications instead of a web system. The same thing was promised in a letter published on the website in Autumn 2013. This promise was never fulfilled, the MFA was just wasting time to prolong the illegal consular activities.
Here are the examples of screenshots of the MFA of Poland website containing information about the absence of available dates for a visit to the consulate until the end of the current month in Minsk, Brest and Grodno. Also, the dispatch of the Polish Information Agency (PAP) contains the information about 8 official visa centers to be opened in Belarus in April 2015. These visa centers has still not been opened. Fundacja RENESANS.BY raised the question of cooperation with an external service provider according to the EU Visa Code back in 2012. Since then, the MFA of Poland has made a couple of contradictory and unreliable statements about opening of the visa centers, but they have never been actually opened. The reason for that is still the same - to prolong the illegal visa business.


On December 18, 2014 a witness who could point to the members of the organized criminal group which controls the illegal visa business was murdered near Warsaw, Poland. The authorities of Poland presented this tragedy as a suicide, but many circumstances point that it was a planned murder.


The visa business became possible due to corruption of the Belarusian regime. The corruption was proved multiple times by international observers during election campaigns in Belarus. In regards with the visa fraud, the Belarusian authorities have not taken any measures to prevent the visa business. It’s important to note, that the activities of the illegal mediators do harm to the budget because the mediators do not pay taxes. The mediators simply cannot pay them because for example in 2013, the service cost of registering a visa application for a specific date was 150-170 EUR and 100 of them were transferred supposedly to the Polish consulate. And there were no confirmation documents issued to the mediator for that 100 EUR because that payment is illegal. So to avoid paying taxes for the whole amount of 170 EUR, the mediator just did not declare its incomes at all. In Autumn 2013 the leader of the Renaissance turned to the Criminal Militia in Minsk, 4 Gorodskoy Val St. asking to provide him the results of the audit conducted in accordance with his appeal about the illegal visa business. The documents provided contained information received by questioning managers of two leading mediator companies working in Minsk. One of the managers stated that his company registered only 10 visa applications monthly. The chairman of the other mediator company claimed that his company registered about 20 applications per month. But these companies had 2 and 3 offices in Minsk respectively, and that obviously means that they actually had hundreds or even thousands of customers each month. Almost entire financial turnover of these and all other illegal mediator companies in Belarus remained in the shadow.

The Renaissance turned to various authorities of Belarus: to the State Control Committee, but the point of their reply was “no violations found”; then to the Operations and Analysis Center, but “according to the scope of competency, the appeal about the visa business was redirected to Militia and State Security Committee”. The response letter of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, read that “Militia is not competent in this issue”. So did the letter of the State Security Committee (KGB): “the State Security Committee does not take the appeal into consideration because this issue is outside its competence”. The letter of the Ministry of Taxes read that “no violations found”.

But what is the reason of such behavior of the Belarusian authorities?
Below is the point of view of The Renaissance.

The Polish MFA is the main mediator transferring the funds of EU and US allocated to support the Belarusian opposition. But in fact, these funds do not reach the real activists and movements, but are invested in the Polish economy instead - we can prove it based on numerous examples. The aim of the MFA of Poland is to not do any harm to the political interests of the Belarusian regime. The most shining example of fraud related to the funds allocated for Belarus is the “project of the television for Independent Belarus - BELSAT”. The project is managed by a citizen of Poland. During the project lifetime, the EU and US had spent more than 40 million EUR on it, according to the official data of the MFA of Poland. In 2013, the BELSAT editorial stated that 900 thousand Belarusian citizens watch the BELSAT TV Channel on a regular basis. The results of the poll conducted by the Renaissance, however, showed that no more than 20 thousand of Belarusian had ever watched BELSAT, at least once. It’s important to note that the MFA of Poland several times shared the information about the mechanisms of financing the Belarusian opposition in the Internet. Ales Bialiatski, an activist who is a so-called “financier” of the Belarusian opposition, turned to the Embassy of Poland in Minsk asking not to share the information about his financial activities in Poland with the Belarusian authorities. But despite that, the Polish authorities shared this information with the Belarusian side. As the result, Ales Bialiatski was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison. That was the way the MFA of Poland built relationships with “the last dictatorship of Europe.”

But if the activists of The Renaissance, ordinary citizens, were able to reveal the structure of the illegal visa business and estimate its turnover, then the special services of Belarus surely possess the exact information about this business and its participants.



On February 15, 2016 the European Union lifted its sanctions off the Belarusian regime. Loans and other privileges were promised to Belarus. This is actually surprising, as the report of a special rapporteur of the UN about the human rights situation in Belarus has been recently published and it stated lack of improvements in that area. On January 25, 2016, Belarusian militia beat up a journalist in the court in Minsk, and it was stated that the journalist attacked the militiamen first. 200 Belarusian journalists joined together to express their protest related to the beating. And in these circumstances the European Commission is saving the Belarusian regime from a severe crisis which Belarus is in nowadays.


On February 12, 2016 an appeal was submitted to the Court of Justice of the European Union requesting legal assistance for Fundacja RENESANS.BY in the lawsuit aimed at cancelling the decision of the OLAF and EC to refuse in conducting investigation on the “visa fraud” in Belarus.


Noteworthy are the messages published by the Polish press in 2015 that the wife of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Sikorsky, an alleged member of the organized criminal group controlling the visa business in Belarus, had earned more than 400 000 EUR during 2014. This piece of information is questionable: an unknown journalist in Poland is very unlikely to earn that much that quick today. Such publications evoke associations with money laundering. And it’s exactly the OLAF along with EC who should find out in which direction tens of millions of euros illegally earned in Belarus had been withdrawn.


It’s important to mention, that during collection of the information, The Renaissance came across the sources which claimed that illegal visa business had also been organized by the Polish consulates in some regions of Russia and some African countries. Taking into account the events in Lutsk where the Polish councils used to issue visas to citizens who were banned from entry to the EU, the information about the illegal activities in Africa is of special concern.


The Renaissance turned to the European Commission with a letter where it requested to add another mandatory condition of lifting the sanctions: sharing all the information known to the Belarusian authorities about the visa business with public. But our suggestion was not taken into consideration. Because the civil society of Belarus did not have a chance to implement a program of support of its rights due to the corruption of the MFA of Poland, it should be stated that lifting the sanctions off the Belarusian regime will conserve the current situation when the Belarusian citizens are defenseless against the regime’s repressions.


The Renaissance is taking the initiative to take control over the activities of the MFA of Poland in the area of implementing the programs of assistance to the civil society of Belarus. The Renaissance also demands to dismiss the representatives of Poland from the management of funds allocated to support democracy, for example the EED fund created on the initiative of Poland and Denmark, taking into account the deep corruption of the Polish authorities.


An appeal of Fundacja RENESANS.BY was sent to Frontex, an organization which is responsible for protecting the external EU borders, its HQ is located in Warsaw. We were told by phone that Frontex is not competent in the question of illegal consular activities.


Here is a link to the Petition related to the complexities in registering dates for submission of visa applications. About 3000 Belarusian citizens signed this Petition over the Internet. The Petition was sent to the email addresses of the MFA of Poland. There have never been any reply to the Petition.


The Renaissance believes that the position of the European Commission with regards to the illegal consular activities in Belarus does not take into account the most important circumstances in this case. The opinion presented in the letter is not grounded, because the version about usage of scripts is not tenable. The long-term turnover of illegal consular fees, inactivity of the Polish authorities, unreliable statements of the MFA of Poland representatives in press and in the official letters, violations of the Polish laws by the MFA representatives, the murder of a witness, testimony of the Belarusian citizens about the events related to the Polish consulates raise suspicion of committing a crime by an organized group. This crime must be investigated.

ABOUT “The Renaissance” MOVEMENT

The Renaissance movement was created by a Belarusian citizen Andrei Sumar who started his political career in 2004 when he took part in the Belarusian Parliament elections as an independent candidate. During the election campaign, he severely criticized the Belarusian regime, and thereby faced unbelievable violations of his rights and rights of the members of his initiative group. The day before elections, his registration as a candidate was illegally cancelled by the Central Election Commission of Belarus. This situation is mentioned in the official OSCE report about that campaign. In 2006, the Belarusian authorities neutralized political activities of Andrei Sumar by falsifying a criminal case of utterance of counterfeit US dollar notes. As stated in the materials of the criminal case, he and his relatives may be involved in making and uttering of counterfeit 100 US dollar bills. The criminal case is still active. In 2007, Andrei Sumar united the citizens who had supported his election campaign into The Renaissance movement. The authorities of Belarus do not allow opposition organizations to be officially registered. Because of introduction of Article 193¹ to the Belarusian Criminal Code, which implies up to 2 years imprisonment for statements on behalf of unregistered organizations, Fundacja “RENESANS. BY” was registered in 2012 in Warsaw, Poland, as an official representation of “The Renaissance” movement. More than 700 Belarusian citizens confirmed their support of the Renaissance movement in written form. Thousands more are proponents of the Renaissance. The information about the illegal visa business was published in independent Belarusian and Polish press[1][2][3]. In Autumn 2013, the Belarusian authorities started to pressurize the Renaissance supporters aiming to prevent the investigation of the illegal visa business. As the result of the actions of the authorities, the information portal of the Renaissance,, and the official website of Fundacja RENESANS.BY,, were closed, and the leader of the Renaissance movement Andrei Sumar had to leave Belarus. The main media of Poland have spread[1][2][3][4] untruthful information about the Renaissance movement of Belarus and about its leader. Allegedly it has been done by the members of the organized criminal group which controls the visa business. In connection with that, we’d like to state that:

  • The Renaissance does not act on the instructions of the Belarusian authorities;
  • The Renaissance leader is not a relative of any ally of the Belarusian President Mr. Lukashenko;
  • The leader of the Renaissance has never committed any crimes in Europe and has not been charged.


  • According to the messages published in the European press[1][2][3][4][5], in 2011, the Police of Germany, Spain, Denmark and France revealed violations of the European visa code by the consulate of Poland in Lutsk, Ukraine. The majority of the foreigners who had violated the local laws in Germany were the citizens of Ukraine who had got their Schengen visas in the Polish consulate in Lutsk. In Spain, there were many citizens of Ukraine arrrested for being illegally involved in prostitution. All of them entered the EU using their Schengen visas obtained in the Polish consulate in Lutsk.
    A more dramatic situation took place in France and Denmark. The police services of these countries found there a significant amount of foreigners who had been actually banned from entering the EU as they had been posing threat to the EU interests. However, they successfully obtained Schengen visas in the Polish consulate in Lutsk and freely moved around the EU territory. In some cases, Schengen visas in the passports of the violators were glued directly on top of the stamp signifying the ban from entry to the EU.
    Notes related to these violations have been sent to Warsaw.

  • Here is a copy of EEAS letter about European Commission monitoring the consular activities of Poland in Belarus since 2012.

  • In 2013, information portal published the Polish translation of an article called "The Truth about Schengen Visas. Lies of the Polish Ambassador". Letters drawing attention to the publication of this article were sent by Fundacja RENSANS.BY to the MFA of Poland in Warsaw. The Polish Press Law obliges employees of government instructions to comment on any critical statements, but neither the Embassy, nor the MFA of Poland have commented on the critical article, thus violating the law.

  • Not all of the available documents are provided on this website, as not all events and institutions related to the visa fraud in Belarus are mentioned here. The Renaissance movement hopes to transfer all detailed information about this crime, including the list of alleged members of the organized criminal group, to the investigators.

February 13, 2016


In its letter dated by December 17, 2015, Ares (2015) 5925685, the European Commission acknowledged that there were violations in the visa procedures in Belarus, however, in its opinion it’s the Belarusian authorities’ responsibility to investigate the violations. Belarus is not a member of the EU, and the Belarusian authorities have no relation to the EU Visa Code (Law No. 810/2009), therefore they cannot be responsible for enforcement of this law. It’s the European Commission who should identify the organizers of the illegal visa business and find the illegal funds of the criminals and confiscate them.

February 27, 2016


The activities of Funadcja RENESANS.BY meet illegal interaction in Belgium. The most recent incident took place on February 22, 2016, the Police was involved in this incident. The measures taken against Fundacja RENESANS.BY in the heart of European civilization resemble the acts of the authorities in Belarus, the last dictatorship of Europe. This phenomenon is deeply disappointing for the Belarusian activists of the Renaissance.

February 28, 2016


The Belarusian press published information that on March 1, 2016 a number of official visa centers cooperating with the Embassy of Poland open in Belarus. Fundacja RENESANS.BY expresses hope that when the official centres open, the activities of the illegal visa mediators will stop and the illegal visa business in Belarus which lasted for a couple of years will come to end. Citizens of Belarus hope that they will be finally able to use the website of the MFA of Poland to arrange their visa documents without any obstacles; or that they will be able to use services of the official mediators for a relatively small fee.
However, the position of Fundacja RENESANS.BY and the Renaissance public movement of Belarus stays intact:
The visa fraud which indeed can be referred to as “the fraud of the century” in the contemporary history of Europe, must be investigated. Individuals who had organized the illegal visa business must be identified and brought to responsibility. Tens of millions euros which had been earned illegally must be found and confiscated. Besides that, it is necessary to find out what is the role of Mr Donald Tusk in the visa fraud (Donald Tusk was the leader of the ruling party of Poland called Platforma Obywatelska (The Civil Platform) and the Prime Minister of Poland during the heyday of the visa fraud. It should be considered that Donald Tusk was aware of the illegal consular activities of the MFA of Poland in Belarus but did not take any measures to stop them. Since 2014, Donald Tusk is the President of the European Union.)