How new visa free rules will make Belarus a country to visit in 2019

by | Jan 17, 2019 | English, Travel

Belarus has been the least visited country in Europe for most of its independence gained in 1991. This was partly due to its strict visa rules for visitors from Western Europe and North America.
Towards the end of 2016, Belarus started to liberialize its visa policy and has gradually made it easier for foreign visitors to spend shorts amounts of time in the country.
Even if visa free periods and regimes have been expanded over the last 2 years, stays of more than 5 business days required the visitor registering at the appropriate immigration office. Stays at hotels and hostels were exempted from this requirement, however, visitors staying at rented apartments or with local friends were not.
This was a particularly onerous procedure for a visitor, requiring a trip to a bank, an insurance provider and the correct immigration office itself (depending where the apartment was located).

Failure to register correctly within the time limit results in significant fines and possible deportation with a possible 5-year re-entry ban from Belarus – not exactly a tourism-friendly policy.

In January 2019, Belarus introduced a new system where visa free visitors can register (for free) online their address in Belarus thus eliminating the need to go to an immigration office or make a payment at a bank.
This will make the country significantly more attractive as a destination for visitors as it will simply the experience of using the visa free regimes.
Compared with neighboring countries Ukraine and Russia, Belarus is now more competitive than Russia (which still enforces a strict visa regime for Western tourists) and less competitive than Ukraine (which allows a longer visa free stay without any additional registration requirements).
Here’s the link for the online registration: Click here!

There are currently 3 visa free regimes in force in Belarus (overview of all 3 below). For the list of visa free countries: click here!

Visa free regimes to enter Belarus:

1. Minsk International Airport
2. Brest
3. Grodno

1. Minsk International Airport
If you fly in and out of Minsk International Airport then you have up to 30 days visa free entry and can travel around the whole of Belarus if you would like.
You just need your passport and insurance valid in Belarus (in reality that nearly always means buying the insurance on arrival for the number of days you will stay).
You do not need to prepare any documents in advance but do have to register your address in Belarus if you are not staying in a hotel or hostel within 5 working days (working days are that of the immigration office and not the country itself).
2. Brest
You can visit the city of Brest and its surrounding areas for up 10 days visa free by crossing the land border with Poland.
In addition to your passport and insurance, you will also need to purchase a ‘visa-free tour’ to cross the border in order to use this regime. This can be done online for less than €15.
You will also need to register the address of where you are staying in Brest.
Please note that you cannot legally travel outside the Brest region to other parts of Belarus with this particular regime (unlike the Minsk airport regime).
3. Grodno
You can also cross the Belarusian border by land into the Grodno region near the borders with Poland and Lithuania.
This regime operates in the same way as the Brest regime outlined above. Similarly the maximum visa free time period is Grodno is 10 days and you cannot travel outside the Grodno region to other parts of Belarus.
If you are considering visiting Belarus and would like some support to enjoy the Tsar Experience while there then write me an email at conorclyne@tsarexperience.com or DM me on Instagram.
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