See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Belarus for information on U.S. - Belarussian relations.
The Government of Belarus offers a limited visa free entry program for some travelers. Visitors who enter through the international airport in Minsk and stay for five days or less (including the days of arrival and departure), do not need a visa – unless they are arriving from the Russian Federation or will depart to the Russian Federation. Furthermore, this five day visa-free option is not available to travelers who enter Belarus by car or train. Travelers using 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:
More detailed information about five day visa free travel can be found at Belarus Ministry of Foreign Affairs webpage.
All U.S. citizens staying in Belarus for more than seven calendar days are required to register with the local office of the Citizenship and Migration Department of the Ministry of Interior (formerly OVIR).
Visit the Belarusian Embassy web site for the latest visa information.
Transiting Schengen Countries:
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 (those spending more than 90 days a year in Belarus) 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. We recommend you verify this information with the Embassy of Belarus before you travel.
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.
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.
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 sending money to people they have never met and will never hear from again. In some cases the foreigner is invited to visit Belarus; the Belarusian “friend” collects money for lodging and transportation expenses and then disappears.
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 electronically with persons or firms in Belarus, proceed with extreme caution.
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.
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 crime that occurs in Belarus.
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.
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance.
For further information:
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.
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, must 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 request that their friends or relatives notify the U.S. Embassy on their behalf as soon as possible.
Marriages in Belarus:
Faith-Based Travelers: See the 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 (LGBTI) community is widespread, and harassment against LGBTI individuals has occurred in the past. For more detailed information about LGBTI rights in Belarus see our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: In Belarus, many buildings and most public transportation systems are not well adapted for individuals with disabilities. Before visiting Belarus, check ahead with your hotel/destination to learn more about options to accommodate disabled travelers.
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Medical care in Belarus is neither modern nor easily accessible. Hospitals and medical facilities are below 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 serious injuries.
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 or show evidence of a policy with international coverage that includes Belarus. You may purchase the local health insurance at the points of entry. If you plan to use international medical insurance purchased outside Belarus, be sure to check with the Embassy of Belarus to be sure your policy is acceptable. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover a potential medical evacuation.
If traveling with prescription medication:
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:
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.
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.
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.