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Belarus cancels short-term visas for citizens of 80 countries

2017-01-10

On 9 January 2017, the President of the Republic of Belarus signed Edict No 8 setting visa-free entry and exit regime for foreign citizens. The new edict has established a 5-day visa-free regime for entering Belarus for citizens of 80 countries.

Visa-free regime applies only to foreign citizens entering Belarus via Minsk National Airport. It does not extend to foreign citizens coming to Belarus on flights from Russia or intending to fly to Russia.

Visa-free entry will apply to citizens of the EU member states (including individuals with the non-citizen status of the Republic of Latvia and stateless persons permanently residing in Estonia), the United States, Brazil, Indonesia, Argentina, Switzerland, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Albania and a number of other countries.

Citizens of Vietnam, Haiti, Gambia, Honduras, India, China, Lebanon, Namibia, and Samoa must also have a valid multiple-entry visa of any EU or Schengen area country stamped on their entering the EU or Schengen area and must be able to produce tickets confirming that they will depart from Minsk National Airport within 5 days from the date of entry.

To enter Belarus foreign citizens must have a passport or other valid travel document, a sum of money equivalent to min. 2 basic amounts (currently around 20 euros) per every day of stay in Belarus, and must be covered by medical insurance valid in Belarus (insurance coverage must be 10 000 euro as a minimum).

It is expected that the new rules will come into force in mid-February 2017. The legal act does not provide any new rights to foreigners in terms of conducting business in Belarus, however, it aims to eliminate the very first natural boundary that existed before – possibility to visit Belarus without experiencing overwhelming amount of formalities. Generally, it makes country more open for broad audience, including foreign investors, and improves the image of the country.