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Belarus
Official Name:

Republic of Belarus

Last Updated: March 2, 2017

Embassy Messages

Minsk

 

Further Safety and Security Information

Travel Warnings: Issued when Protracted situations make a country dangerous or unstable. Defer or reconsider travel.

Travel Alerts: Issued when short-term conditions pose imminent threats. Defer or reconsider travel.

Embassy Messages: Issued when local security issues arise.

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Minsk

46 Starovilenskaya St.
Minsk 220002, Belarus

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Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

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Must be valid for at least 3 months beyond scheduled departure date

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

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Two blank pages when presented to Belarusian immigration authorities

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

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Yes, if planning to stay more than 5 calendar days or if you  enter or exit at border crossings other than the Minsk Airport. Please see below.

VACCINATIONS:

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None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

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USD $10,000

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

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USD $10,000

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U.S. Embassy Minsk

46 Starovilenskaya St.
Minsk 220002, Belarus

Telephone: +(375) (17) 210-1283

Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(375) (29) 676-0134

Fax: +(375) (17) 334-7853 or +(375) (17) 217-7160 (consular section)

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Belarus for information on U.S. - Belarussian relations. 

As of February 12, 2017, visitors traveling to Belarus, entering through the international airport and staying for no more than 5 days, including the days of arrival and departure, do not need a visa.”

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs states that visa-free movement through the airport does not extend to persons coming from the Russian Federation or intending to fly to the airports of the Russian Federation,(such flights are considered internal flights and do not have border control restrictions).

Travelers using a diplomatic, official or service, and other special passports still require a visa.

U.S. citizens wishing to enter Belarus for five days without a visa must have:

  • a valid passport;
  • financial means: at least 25 Euro (or equal amount in dollars or Belarusian rubles) for each day of stay;
  • medical insurance of at least 10,000 Euros with coverage for all of Belarus

All U.S. citizens visiting more than seven calendar days or residing in Belarus are required to register with the local office of the Citizenship and Migration Department of the Ministry of Interior (formerly OVIR) within five business days of arrival. 

  • A passport and a visa are required to enter and transit Belarus, unless you are entering through the international airport and staying less than 5 calendar days
  • We recommend you obtain a visa prior to traveling to Belarus
  • Foreigners cannot stay more than 90 days a year on a temporary visa, starting the day they enter Belarus
  • Airport Visas may be obtained in some cases, but we recommend you obtain a visa prior to traveling. A consular officer at the airport has the authority to refuse a visa application without explanation. You will be deported if your application is refused. Visa fees are not refundable.
  • You must show proof of valid health insurance when applying for a visa. An original copy of the policy must be submitted to the consular officer at the time of visa application as proof of purchase. You should carry a copy of the policy with you at all times.

Visit the Belarusian Embassy web site for the latest visa information.

Transiting Schengen Countries: 

  • Your passport should be valid for at least three months beyond the period of stay if you plan on transiting a Schengen country.  
  • You will need sufficient proof of funds and a return airline ticket.
  • For additional details about travel into and within Schengen countries, please see our Schengen fact sheet.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to Belarus on a 30-day visit. Long-term residents (more than 90 days a year) or students must obtain an HIV/AIDS test in Belarus and submit the results to the Department of Citizenship and Migration when applying for an extension of stay or residency in Belarus. Please verify this information with the Embassy of Belarus before you travel.

Find information on dual nationality, prevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.

Credible information indicates terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Europe. European governments are taking action to guard against terrorist attacks. All European countries remain potentially vulnerable to attacks from transnational terrorist organizations.

Demonstrations intended to be peaceful can sometimes become confrontational. For this reason, it is recommended that U.S. citizens avoid all demonstrations and protest gatherings.

  • Demonstrations, both organized and spontaneous, are infrequent in Belarus. Localized street disturbances relating to political events are more likely in Minsk or larger cities than in smaller towns and villages.
  • Authorities have used force to disperse demonstrators, including those who are peacefully demonstrating.
  • Bystanders, including foreign nationals, may face the possibility of arrest or detention.

Foreigners may be placed under surveillance. Hotel rooms, telephones, and fax machines may be monitored, and personal possessions in hotel rooms may be searched.

Taking photographs of anything that could be perceived as being of military or security interest may result in problems with authorities; these sites are not always clearly marked and application of these restrictions is subject to interpretation.

Crime: Belarus has a low rate of street crime. Violent crime against foreigners is rare; criminals have been known to use force if met with resistance from victims.

  • Common street crime, such as mugging and pickpocketing, occurs most frequently near public transportation venues, near hotels frequented by foreigners, and/or at night in poorly-lit areas.
  • Exercise caution when visiting night clubs because the drugging of drinks is not uncommon.
  • Prostitutes at hotels may attempt to open hotel room doors in search of customers.
  • Local and transnational organized criminal activity exists in Belarus. Most casinos and adult clubs are operated by criminal elements.
  • Theft of vehicle parts and car vandalism is common. Sport-utility and luxury vehicles tend to be the most sought-after. Parking in a secure area overnight is highly recommended.

Internet-Dating Schemes and Cyber-Crime: "Internet brides" are advertised on several websites and are not always legitimate. Often, potential suitors in the United States lose thousands of dollars when they send money to people they have never met and never hear from them again. A growing variant on this theme is: the suitor is invited to Belarus to visit a “friend,” who arranges lodging and transportation for him (at hugely inflated prices) and disappears when the money has changed hands.

Cyber-crime is well developed in Belarus. Merchandise orders with fraudulent credit cards, ID theft, hacking/blackmail schemes, and advance-fee fraud are gaining in popularity. If doing business with persons or firms in Belarus electronically, proceed with extreme caution.

  • Avoid using credit and debit cards, except at ATMs located inside major banks.
  • Electronic fraud is common at ATMs and grocery stores.
  • Please note that transferring funds from abroad, replacing stolen traveler's checks or airline tickets, or canceling credit cards can be difficult and time consuming, especially due to the lack of English-speaking tourist agencies and an undeveloped tourism industry in Belarus.

Counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available. Transactions involving such products may be illegal under local law. In addition, bringing them back to the United States may result in forfeitures and/or fines.

Sophisticated criminal investigations may be inconclusive because of a lack of resources and/or political will.

Harassment of U.S. citizens at border crossings has been reported. We recommend that you report any crimes immediately to the local police and to the U.S. Embassy in Minsk.

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

Victims of Crime: Report crimes to the local police by dialing 102 and contact the U.S. Embassy at +375-17-210-1283. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.

The local equivalents to the “911” emergency lines in Belarus are: 101 for Fire and Rescue Squad; 102 for Police; and 103 for Ambulance (Medical Emergency).

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical
  • support in cases of destitution
  • help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • replace a stolen or lost passport

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance.

For further information:

Medical care in Belarus is neither modern nor easily accessible. Hospitals and medical facilities in Belarus are below Western and U. S. standards and lack basic supplies. Trauma care is well below U.S. standards; Belarus lacks the level of care and competence to deal with these injuries.

  • U.S. health insurance plans are not accepted in Belarus.
  • Ambulances are poorly equipped and unreliable.  It is not unusual to wait 30 minutes for an ambulance.
  • Consider purchasing medical evacuation insurance prior to traveling to Belarus.
  • There are no air ambulance services in Belarus. 
  • The government requires all visitors to purchase local health insurance. You may purchase the local health insurance at the points of entry. 
  • The medical emergency number for Belarus is 103

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas. 

Medical Insurance: The government requires all visitors to purchase local health insurance. You may purchase the local health insurance at the points of entry. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

If traveling with prescription medication, check with the government of Belarus, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs  to ensure your  medication is legal in Belarus. Always carry your prescription medication in the original packaging with your doctor’s written prescription. 

The following diseases are prevalent: Tuberculosis (TB) is an increasingly serious health concern in Belarus. For further information, please consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) information on TB.

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. 

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.

Under local law, any agency that detains a foreigner should inform the local Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) within 24 hours from the time of detention. The MFA, in its turn, has to notify the respective embassy as soon as possible. The time of such notifications has varied from several hours to several weeks. Therefore, we recommend that if travelers have a chance to inform friends or relatives about their arrest, they should advise them to notify the U.S. Embassy as soon as possible on their behalf.

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES

Currency:

  • Belarusian banks provide limited cash withdrawals in Belarusian rubles from major credit cards. Please see notes on cyber-crime, above, regarding security of ATMs.
  • Authorized currency exchange centers are widely available throughout major cities. 
  • It is a criminal offense to exchange payment in U.S. dollars to firms or individuals without a special license.
  • Only a few large firms are licensed to accept U.S. dollars. Travelers are advised to only use widely available licensed exchange locations.
  • ATMs are available for use, and it has become easier to use credit and debit cards.
  • There have been reports of U.S. citizens having their ATM or credit cards skimmed and then having money stolen from their account or finding fraudulent charges on their cards.

Identification: 

  • Non-Belarusian visitors should carry their passports at all times.
  • Police can stop you and request your identification. If you fail to provide your ID, you may be detained by the police until your identity is established.

Radiation:

  • The 1986 release of nuclear material from the Chernobyl nuclear station in Ukraine affected Belarus. The city of Minsk was mostly spared, but other areas of Belarus were badly contaminated. Several years of monitoring have shown that radiation levels in Minsk have not exceeded internationally acceptable standards, and periodic testing of foodstuffs from various locations in Belarus has not revealed a level of radiation that would be considered harmful.

Marriages in Belarus:

Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:

LGBTI Travelers: Same-sex relations are not illegal in Belarus, but discrimination against members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community is widespread, and harassment against LGBT individuals has occurred in the past. For more detailed information about LGBT rights in Belarus, you may review the State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2015. See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our  Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Many existing buildings as well as public transportation systems are less adapted to individuals with disabilities. Check ahead with your hotel/destination to learn more about options to accommodate disabled traveler needs before visiting Belarus.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

Road Conditions and Safety: Generally, roads in Belarus are in good condition, but modern cars share the highways with tractors, horse-drawn carts, and pedestrians.

  • Driving under the influence is common despite a zero-tolerance driving under the influence law. 
  • Remain at the scene of an accident until police arrive, unless your personal safety is in danger.
  • Drive with caution at all times. Potholes, unlit or poorly lit streets, and dark-clothed pedestrian walking on roads are common dangers.
  • Drivers are expected to yield to pedestrians at road signs and intersections not controlled by traffic signals or road police.
  • Belarus has a toll system which requires payment for using certain identified roads in Belarus. Passenger motor vehicles registered outside the Eurasian Customs Union countries (Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia) must pay for use of a number of major roads. Detailed information regarding toll roads, distribution points, penalties for not paying tolls can be found at Bell Toll website

Traffic Laws:   

  • Fines vary for driving under the influence. Repeat offenders within 365 days may be subject to criminal prosecution and possibly sentenced for to up to six months in prison or up to two years of corrective labor.
  • Using hand-held mobile devices while driving is prohibited.   

Public Transportation: When traveling on public transportation of any kind, be wary of pickpocketing and other petty crime. There are several rental car agencies currently operating in Minsk; however, rental-car networks are not well developed.

  • Radio-dispatched taxi services are metered, generally reliable, arrive promptly, and usually offer the lowest fare.
  • Uber currently operates in Belarus.
  • The use of informal, unregistered taxis is not recommended.
  • Minsk has a clean, safe, and efficient subway system that reaches out of the city center. 

See our Road Safety page for more information. Visit the website of Belarus’ national tourist office and national authority responsible for road safety.

Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Belarus, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Belarus’ Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

 

 

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