As of July 24th 2018, citizens of the below 74 countries can now visit Belarus without a visa, provided they fly in and out of Minsk National Airport from any country other than Russia.
As per the Belarus governments official release: No additional documentation needs to be submitted beforehand however there are some necessary requirements upon landing at the airport:
To enter Belarus for 30 days visa-free foreign nationals must have the following documents:
- A valid passport or another substituting document for traveling abroad
- Financial means (at least two base amounts* denominated in dollars or Belarusian rubles for each day of stay, or 50 base amounts if the period of stay is 30 days); *since 1 January 2019 one base amount is Br25.5
- Medical travel insurance valid across Belarus with a minimum medical coverage of €10,000;
- Citizens of Vietnam, Haiti, Gambia, India, Lebanon, Namibia, Samoa must also have a valid multi-visa to the EU states or the Schengen Area with a stamp confirming the entry to their territory and plane tickets confirming the departure from Minsk National Airport within 30 days after the date of the entry.
Our experience (one Irish and one UK citizen) of this visa free entry/exit process was very smooth:
- Insurance: Upon arriving in Minsk National Airport, before you even pass through immigration, you will see an insurance booth on your left. You can buy insurance from the ladies here for the equivalent of €2 per day. Tell them the length of your trip and you will be charged the appropriate amount, and then given an insurance card which you must keep with you at all times. Note that there were no money exchange stalls before this insurance booth, but don’t worry, they accept the main foreign currencies. We paid (and received change) in Euro. We should add that other travellers have entered Belarus using photocopies of their own travel insurance policies but there is no guarantee that immigration will accept this.
- Immigration Booth: Here your passport and insurance documentation will be checked. In addition, we were asked where our planned accommodation was for our first night in Belarus. You may also be requested to prove you can financially support yourself in Belarus however this seems to be a rarity among tourists. If you are looking particularly rugged however, being asked for this could be a possibility! If worried about this, you need to show you have the equivalent of $25 per day (as of August 2019) available in your bank account by printing off a recent bank statement to show immigration officials.
- Registration: All foreign tourists staying in Belarus for more than five weekdays are required to register with the police (note that the first registration must take place within the first five working days). The good news is that all hotels and hostels are required to register you with the police and will give you a registration card upon check-out. If staying in Air B&Bs, with hosts, or camping however, you will need to register yourself with the police, either through the new website ( portal.gov.by ) or in person at the Department of Citizenship and Migration in Minsk. One complication of this is that if you are travelling around Belarus, staying in various cities, you will need to collect registration cards from each accommodation you stay in.
- Departure: Upon leaving the country, you must show evidence of your registration (if having stayed in the country for more than five working days). We kept slips of every night we had stayed in accommodation and these were all inspected thoroughly by the immigration official. Once there are no issues with your registration you are free to leave!
Visa Free Region
Other than arriving into and departing from Minsk airport, there is one more visa free option to visit Belarus. The region surrounding Brest in the west of the country is designated as a 10-day visa free zone if entering through Poland overland. This region includes Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park which is the main attraction within this visa free zone. Several railway, car and pedestrian/cyclist border crossings are all included in this scheme. For a helpful map of the area and more details, full details are available at: https://bezviz.by/en/brest/
Please note that police registration is still required if staying more than five working days.
Travelling via Russia
Please note that travelling by plane into Belarus from/to Russia is difficult as a foreign tourist. Although they are separate countries, they are both treated as the same domestic territory from an immigration standpoint. Therefore if flying to Belarus via Russia, you must obtain a Russian transit visa beforehand as you will be exiting the international area of the transit airport, and entering the domestic area in order to travel to Russia.
More importantly, travel via train or bus between the two countries is not officially allowed unless you are a citizen of either country. This is because no official international borders/checkpoints exist outside of each country’s airports. Therefore be careful of booking any overland trains crossing from Poland to Russia via Belarus.
Overland Travel to Belarus
If wishing to travel overland into Belarus – for example by train from Vilnius – you have no choice but to obtain a visa beforehand. You will need to contact your country’s Belarus embassy in order to apply.
If there is any out of date information above please comment below so that I can update/correct.