Tourism numbers are expected to soar in Belarus over the next months as the country announced visa-free travel for citizens of 80 countries worldwide. Sure, there’s a catch: visa-free travel is only permitted for a travel window of five days, but it’s enough to allow visitors a short vacation. The move, however, was designed to ease the entry to Belarus for mainly business travelers.
Visa waivers apply for the entire European Union and all other European countries, as well as for the USA, Vanuatu, Uruguay, Mexico, Seychelles, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Peru, China, Panama, Oman, Nicaragua, Namibia, Malaysia, Macau, Lebanon, Kuwait, South Korea, Japan, Indonesia, India, Hong Kong, Honduras, Haiti, Gambia, Federated States of Micronesia, El Salvador, Dominica, Chile, Canada, Brazil, Barbados, Bahrain, Australia, Argentina, and Antigua and Barbuda.
Travelers from Gambia, Haiti, Honduras, Hong Kong, India, Lebanon, Macao, Namibia, China, Samoa, and Vietnam enjoy visa-free travel to Belarus provided that they have a valid passport with a valid multiple-entry visa of one of the European Union member states or the Schengen Area member states bearing the European Union or Schengen Area entry stamp. They also need to present a plane ticket with a confirmation of the departure from the Minsk National Airport within 5 days after the date of the entry.
Visa-free regulations also apply for people who have a “non-citizen” status in Latvia and for stateless persons residing permanently in Estonia. The regulations do not apply to citizens of Russia arriving at the Minsk National Airport or other Belarusian airports, as flights between Russia and Belarus are considered internal flights with no border control.
All countries included in the new visa regulations are strategic partners of Belarus and favorable countries in terms of migration. Legislation concerning visa-free entries has been in work since April 2016, and it is officially in effect beginning February 12, 2017.