On February 12 (the coming Sunday) in Belarus starts to operate a five-day visa-free regime for citizens of 80 countries of the world. How can one take the opportunity to visit Belarus without a visa and get pleasure from a trip? We have prepared a short list of hints for travellers.
Who can come to Belarus without a visa?
At the moment, citizens from about 80 states can visit Belarus without a visa (for 5 days) subject to their entry through the National Airport Minsk. It’s practically the whole of Europe and the United States, Canada, Brazil, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia and other countries.
Full list of countries:
|Austria||Hong Kong (Xianggang) -
special administrative region of the PRC **
|Macau (Aomin) -
Special Administrative Region of the PRC **
|Republic of San Marino|
|Antigua and Barbuda||Commonwealth of Dominica||Malta||Saint Vincent and the Grenadines|
|Argentina||India*||Order of Malta**||Singapore|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||Italy||Netherlands||Finland|
|Republic of Vanuatu||Cyprus||New Zealand||Croatia|
|United Kingdom of Great Britain
and Northern Ireland
|The Republic of Korea||Oman||Chile|
|Haiti*||Lebanon*||Poland||Republic of El Salvador|
* - if the valid document for travel abroad has a valid multiple visa of the states - members of the European Union or the states - participants of the Schengen area with a note on the entrance to the territory of the State - a member of the European Union or the state - member of the Schengen area, as well as tickets with confirmation of the dates of departures from the National Airport Minsk.
** - is not a state
*** - including those having the status of non-citizen of the Republic of Latvia
**** - including stateless persons permanently residing in the Republic of Estonia.
What kind of transport can be used by tourists for visa-free entry to Belarus?
For the present, the five-day visa-free regime applies only to those who arrive in Belarus via the National Airport Minsk. To date, one can fly to the Belarusian capital by direct or connecting flights from such cities as Paris, Rome, Barcelona, Vienna, Prague, Berlin, Frankfurt, Helsinki, Warsaw, Riga, Vilnius, Budapest, Belgrade, Kiev, Istanbul and Beijing. One should keep in mind that it is impossible to arrive in Minsk, for example, from Warsaw by plane and go back by bus, train or car. The decree applies only to the National Airport Minsk.
In addition, the possibility of visa-free entry to Belarus does not apply to foreign tourists coming from Russian airports! This should be taken into account when one is planning his/her trip: the option "New York - Moscow - Minsk" is not possible. Accordingly, one can’t fly to Russia if he/she arrived in Minsk visa-free.
How many times per year can one be allowed a "visa-free" entry?
After the introduction of the five-day visa-free regime there are no restrictions on the number of trips to Belarus. It means that a foreign tourist can use this opportunity as many times as he wants! The main thing is that tourists can come and go back only through the National Airport Minsk and must not violate the 5-day stay in Belarus.
What documents does a foreign guest need to visit Belarus?
A tourist should be in possession of a passport for travelling abroad. Note that the ID-card with which many EU citizens travel to the Schengen countries is not fit for the trip to Belarus. Only passport!
What type of insurance is necessary for Belarus?
For the visit to Belarus tourists need medical insurance in the amount of not less than 10 000 euros. The insurance policy can be arranged directly in the Minsk National Airport, or one can use insurance issued by a foreign insurance company. It is important that the insurance policy covers the territory of Belarus and is valid for the entire period of stay. A document on health insurance is one of the conditions for a smooth entry into the territory of Belarus.
How much money can one bring to Belarus?
Import of foreign currency into Belarus is not limited. At the same time the amount of currency which is equivalent to more than $ 10 000 shall be declared in writing. By the way, to come to Belarus completely without money is impossible. Under current rules a tourist must have at least 22 euros per day of stay - that is 110 euros for five days.
Can one bring alcohol and cigarettes to Belarus?
The importation of these products to Belarus is limited. A foreign citizen over 18 can bring with him/her no more than 3 liters of alcohol and 200 cigarettes (50 cigars or 250 grams of tobacco).
What happens if a foreign tourist stays in the country for more than 5 days?
A foreign guest violating the five-day period of stay in Belarus can face a warning and a fine of up to 550 euros and subsequent deportation. The main criterion for determining the punishment is the circumstances of the violation. For example, if a foreign tourist is taken to hospital and presents a document confirming this fact, no penalties will be applied to him/her.
In general, in case of disease, natural disasters or other unforeseen circumstances that prevent the tourist’s leaving the country, the tourist or his/her representative must apply to the bodies of internal affairs with an application for "an exit visa". With this document the tourist will be able to leave Belarus through any checkpoint - not only through the National Airport.
How will boarder men keep count of 5 days?
Upon arrival in Belarus in the "5 days without a visa" regime a mark on the entry is put in the foreigner’s passport and migration card and from this date the five-day period is counted. It does not matter if a tourist arrives early in the morning or late at night. Upon leaving the country in his/hers passport will accordingly be put a mark on the exit from which it will be clear whether the guest has exceeded the length of stay or not.
What time of year is best to visit Belarus?
The most favorable time for a visit to Belarus is considered to be the period from May to September. At this time, there is usually optimally comfortable weather in the country, suitable for long walks, excursions, outings to nature and exploring the sights. At the same time one can have a good rest in Belarus in any season, whether it is a golden autumn, snowy winter, blooming spring or bright and hot summer.
Note that the warmest month in the country is July, the coldest - January. However, the Belarusian weather can sometimes present both pleasant and not very pleasant surprises. When going on a trip, you should take appropriate clothing and shoes with you so that you cannot be caught by surprise by sudden rain or snow.
Which travel agencies can help you arrange your tours of Belarus?
There currently operate about 1,600 travel agencies in Belarus. Today, they are actively developing educational, sports, health, environmental, nostalgic and other types of tourism. Belarusian travel companies have extensive experience in receiving foreign guests. Professional tour operators can quickly develop the route of your journey, will take the transport service, excursions and much more. Among the leaders for the reception and excursion care of tourists in Belarus are such companies as "Viapol", "Around the World", "Ditrib", "BelarusTourService", "Minskturist", "Praimtur", "Strana Zamkov" and others.
How to rent a car?
Car rental is a rapidly growing service sector in Belarus. In large cities of the country there are a sufficient number of firms which will give you a car for temporary use. A car can be rented with a driver or without. Of course, it is better to reserve a rental car in advance. However, even on the site you can easily find free transport. Please refer to the staff of the hotel, hostel or manor, and they are sure to help you.
What cannot be photographed in Belarus?
Despite the fact that Belarus is a friendly country, there are a number of objects next to which it is better to abstain from taking out your camera. Unfortunately, in some cases photographers take the risk of getting into the field of view of law enforcement agencies and wasting time on explaining the reason for their actions. It concerns professional photography as well as amateur selfie on a mobile phone (though you may be in luck).
So, in order to avoid possible problems in Belarus it is not recommended to photograph:
• Train stations
• Government House
• Buildings of the KGB and the Ministry of the Interior
• Academy of Sciences
• Military units
• Buildings of embassies
• Railroad bridges
Besides, cameras must be put away while passing through border control posts, in the metro, in clubs, casinos and halls with slot machines, in museums (without special permission).
What is worth seeing in Belarus?
In Belarus there are a great number of interesting architectural, cultural and historical sites, museums, farmsteads and scenic national parks. You can make a preliminary plan of your trip, for example, with the help of convenient services of the site Planetabelarus.by. Here you can read information concerning any particular region and use already existing routes to different cities and corners of Belarus.
Are there any other ways to get to Belarus without a visa?
In addition to the five-day "visa-free" entry through the main airport of the country, there are two other ways for a foreign tourist to visit Belarus without a visa:
- A visit to the Bialowieza Forest (a visa-free entry for 3 days, travel through certain border crossings, an invitation from the administration of the National Park "Bialowieza Forest" is needed).
- A trip to the Augustow Canal and Grodno (a visa-free entry for 5 days, travel through certain border crossings (excluding travel by train), the tour is arranged through a Belarusian tour operator).