Visa-free stays extended to 30 days

31 Jul 18

BELARUS

IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? Belarus has extended the length of time travelers can stay in the country without a visa to 30 days.

What does the change mean? Nationals of 74 countries and territories are now eligible for visa-free stays of up to 30 days if they enter the country through Minsk International Airport. Previously, the visa-free program only allowed stays of up to five days.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing. The change was implemented Friday.
  • Visas/permits affected: Tourist and business visas.
  • Who is affected: Nationals of 74 countries and territories who are traveling to Belarus through Minsk International Airport for stays of up to 30 days.
  • Business impact: The extension will allow business travelers to remain in Belarus for longer than they previously could without obtaining a visa.

Background: Belarus created its visa-free travel program last year and it is now open to nationals of 74 countries and territories, including Australia, Canada, Japan, the United States and all European Union member states. Argentina, Brazil, Honduras, Hong Kong, Macao and the Order of Malta were removed from the list. Nationals of Argentina, Brazil, Honduras, Hong Kong and Macao all enjoy visa-free entry on the basis of a bilateral agreement with Belarus, however, so the impact of their removal is minimal. The rules described above do not apply to diplomatic travel or travel on service passports. The program 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 authorization to do so. Travelers are also reminded that foreign nationals must register their address in Belarus within five days of arrival (not counting Sundays) and must re-register if they change addresses within Belarus.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice and Intermark Relocation in Russia. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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