Visa-free entry program launched for nationals of 80 countries

18 Jan 17

BELARUS

IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? Belarus will soon implement a visa-free entry program for tourists and business travelers from nearly 80 countries, including Brazil, Canada, Japan, the United States and all European Union member states.

What does the change mean? Effective Feb. 12, nationals of the countries covered by the program will be granted visa-free entry for stays of up to five days, provided they enter the country through Minsk International Airport.

  • Implementation time frame: Feb. 12.
  • Visas/permits affected: Tourist and business visas.
  • Who is affected: Nationals of the countries/areas listed below who are traveling to Belarus through Minsk International Airport for stays of up to five days.
  • Impact on processing times: The program will save travelers the time it takes to obtain a visa.

Background: The visa-free scheme was created by Presidential Decree No. 8, which was signed earlier in January and will apply to the following countries:

Australia Cyprus Ireland Monaco Saudi Arabia
Austria Czech Republic Italy New Zealand Seychelles
Albania Denmark Japan Netherlands Singapore
Andorra Dominica Kuwait Nicaragua Slovakia
Antigua and Barbuda El Salvador Latvia ** Norway Slovenia
Argentina Estonia * Liechtenstein Oman South Korea
Barbados Finland Lithuania Order of Malta Spain
Bahrain France Luxembourg Panama Sweden
Belgium Germany Macao Peru Switzerland
Bosnia and Herzegovina Greece Macedonia Poland United Kingdom
Brazil Hong Kong Malaysia Portugal United States
Bulgaria Hungary Malta Romania Uruguay
Canada Iceland Mexico St. Vincent and the Grenadines Vanuatu
Chile Indonesia Micronesia San Marino Vatican City
 Croatia

*Including stateless persons permanently residing in Estonia.
** Including persons having status of noncitizens of Latvia.

Travelers taking advantage of visa-free travel must have (1) a valid passport or other acceptable travel document; (2) sufficient funds (at least € 25 for every day of the stay, or the equivalent amount in U.S. dollars or Belarusian rubles); and a medical insurance plan that covers Belarus and provides up to € 10,000 (or the equivalent) in care.

In addition to the visa-free program, Belarus will also launch an “entry in special order program” for nationals of nine additional countries. Nationals of these countries will not need to obtain a Belarusian visa if they have a valid multiple-entry visa issued by an EU or Schengen Area member state, as well as a passport, sufficient funds, health insurance and airplane tickets to leave Belarus. This program will apply to nationals of the following countries:

China Honduras Namibia
Gambia India Samoa
Haiti Lebanon Vietnam

Travelers should note that the rules described above do not apply to diplomatic travel or travel on service passports. The regime is also not applicable to foreign nationals on flights to or from Russia, which are treated the same as domestic travel.

BAL Analysis: The visa-free policy is designed to ease business travel and encourage investment. Travelers are reminded that work is not allowed while on a visa waiver and that those intending to perform work activities must obtain work authorization.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Belarus. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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