If you are planning to visit the country of Belarus at some point in the future, then your plan to visit the previously hard to access country just got a whole lot easier.
The Belarus Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that a total of Eighty countries will be eligible for Visa waivers when visiting the secretive country from mid-February onward.
A visa to Belarus has been very hard to get in the past and it also came at a significant cost. Just last month, it was announced that the visa cost was lowered to 60 EUR for E.U. citizens and now this has been eliminated completely.
The relevant information was published by the Presidential Press Office today (access here).
Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko signed Decree No. 8 “On the introduction of the visa-free entry and departure for foreign citizens” on 9 January.
The document introduces the visa-free entry through the border checkpoint at the Minsk National Airport and the visa-free stay in Belarus for up to 5 days for the citizens of 80 states.
These are 39 countries of Europe, including the entire European Union, Brazil, Indonesia, the USA, Japan, and other countries.
First of all, these are favorable countries in terms of migration, Belarus’ strategic partners which have introduced visa-free regimes for Belarusian citizens on a unilateral basis. New regulations also apply to the non-citizens of Latvia and stateless persons of Estonia.
The document aims to raise the number of business trips, tourism and private visits of people with regular passports and will not apply to foreigners on official trips with diplomatic, service, special and similar passports.
A valid passport or other document permitting foreign travels, money (equivalent to at least two base amounts for each day of stay in the foreign currency or Belarusian rubles), medical insurance in the amount of at least €10,000 operational in Belarus will be needed for the visa-free entry.
The citizens of Vietnam, Haiti, Gambia, Honduras, India, China, Lebanon, Namibia, Samoa should also have a valid multi-visa to the EU states or the Schengen Area with a mark confirming the entry to their territory, plane tickets with a confirmation of the departure from the Minsk National Airport within 5 days after the date of the entry.
The visa-free regime does not apply to people arriving to Belarus by plane from Russia and planning to go to the airports of Russia (these are internal flights with no border control).
The decree will enter into force in a month after its official publication.
An entire list was published on Twitter (see here).
The waiver allows a five day stay in Belarus providing the traveler enters through Minsk International Airport and doesn’t fly to/from Russia.
You’d have to figure out if the length of stay requirement and routing restrictions are suitable for you in order to complete the trip.
Five days are not a lot but Belarus isn’t a very large country, and apart from Minsk and the countryside such as Strusta Lake there shouldn’t be that much to see. I haven’t been to Belarus nor do I plan on going anytime soon, but it’s always good that additional visa waivers are in place that allow easier access for tourism.