Since February 2017 it is possible to visit Belarus without a visa (visa-free) for a period of 5 days, enough time to visit the capital and the main tourist attractions of the country. In this post I will explain which requirements you must meet and what documents you need to travel to Belarus without a visa.
At the beginning of 2017, it was approved a Presidential Decree in Belarus allowing citizens of 80 countries to visit Belarus without a visa for a period of up to 5 days. Among these 80 countries there are the European Union countries, as well as United Kingdom, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Indonesia, Japan, or the United States, among others.
In addition, this visa-free entry for 5 days can be done as many times as you want, up to a maximum of 90 days over a year, from the date of the first entry.
The 5-day period starts counting from the moment you stamp your passport when you cross the border. If you leave the country later than 5 days, you can receive a fine of up to 550 euros, unless it is due to illness, natural disaster or other unfortunate circumstances.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Requirements for traveling to Belarus visa-free
The requisites are basically two:
- You must be a citizen of one of these 80 countries. The list can be found at this link: http://mfa.gov.by/upload/17.01.11_list_states_eng.pdf
- You must enter and leave Belarus by plane through the border control post of the Minsk National Airport. This means that to be able to enter Belarus without a visa you can’t do it by bus, car or train (or to leave either).
In addition, you must bear in mind that this free visa regime does not apply to people arriving by plane from Russia or to people who intend to travel by plane from Belarus to Russia, even if they have a Russian visa. This is because flights between Minsk and Russia are considered internal flights.
Therefore, if you are planning to visit Russia as well, you will have to take an international flight to leave Belarus, for example, to Poland or Lithuania (or another country) and from there take a flight to Russia.
2. Mandatory documentation
If you meet the above requirements, you can travel to Belarus without a visa for 5 days, but you must bear in mind that you have to provide a series of documents upon arrival at Minsk airport border post:
- Valid passport
- Financial means: have at least 25 euros (or its equivalent in dollars or rubles of Belarus) for each day of stay. That is, if you are going to spend 5 days, you will need 125 euros.
- Medical insurance: coverage of at least 10,000 euros and that is accepted in Belarus. You have two possibilities:
- You can buy it at the airport itself, in a window that says “Obligatory medical insurance”. The policies sold are either from Belgosstrakh and Eximgarant. They are quite economic. These companies don’t sell insurance online on their website.
- You can bring your own printed international insurance, which must have coverage in Belarus or specify that it has worldwide coverage. It is convenient that the insurance is in Russian or English.
In summary, the documents that you need to bring are very easy to obtain.
Note: If you are a citizen of China, Haiti, Honduras, Gambia, India, Lebanon, Namibia, Samoa or Vietnam, you must have a valid document for travel abroad, with a valid multiple visa of the member states of the European Union or a participating Schengen State, with a note of entry into the territory of a member of the European Union or a member Schengen State and notes confirming the departure of the Minsk National Airport within 5 days from the date of entry to Belarus.
3. Registration in Belarus
It is not necessary to make any registration upon arrival at the accommodation, since this is mandatory only for stays in Belarus of more than 5 days.
This is the promotional video of the Government of Belarus to visit the country without a visa:
Finally, if you want to stay more than 5 days in Belarus, then you must apply for a visa. The procedure is explained on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus: http://mfa.gov.by/en/visa/procdurevisa/
In any case, if you are travelling as a tourist, 5 days are enough to visit not only the capital, but also other places of tourist interest in the country.
Have you visited Belarus without a visa? What has been your experience?