• Travel Advice

DFAT advice for Belarus

Flag of BY

When travelling to Belarus, you should always get travel insurance in case the worst happens. To help you ensure you travel safely, we have included the travel advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for Belarus.

Latest update

This Advice was last issued on Friday, 06 June 2014.   This advice has been reviewed and reissued with editorial amendments. We continue to advise Australians to exercise normal safety precautions in Belarus.

Belarus overall

Summary

  • We advise you to exercise normal security precautions in Belarus.
  • Exercise common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour, as you would in Australia.
  • Large demonstrations occur periodically in Minsk and other cities in Belarus. In past demonstrations, large numbers of arrests were made and violence was reported. Demonstrations and localised street disturbances can occur with little warning. You should avoid all demonstrations, rallies and localised street disturbances, especially political ones, as they may turn violent and attract a heavy police presence.
  • There is an ongoing threat of terrorism in Europe. In the past, terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities.
  • You are required to register with local police within five working days of arrival, if you are staying more than five working days in Belarus. Failure to register in time may result in fines and difficulties when departing.
  • Australia does not have an Embassy or Consulate in Belarus. The Australian Embassy in Russia provides consular assistance to Australians in Belarus.
  • Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
Map of Belarus ( This map is presented for information only. The department accepts no responsibility for errors or omission of any geographic feature.  Nomenclature and territorial boundaries may not necessarily reflect Australian Government policy. )

Entry and exit

Australian citizens are required to obtain visas to visit or transit Belarus.

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) change regularly. For the most up to date information and visa services please visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus website . Visa validity dates are strictly enforced. Australians are advised to ensure they hold the appropriate visa in relation to their visit to Belarus, especially business and work visas. Check the validity of dates of your visa and associated restrictions before travelling.

Belarus does not have an embassy or consulate in Australia. The Australian Embassy in Moscow is not able to assist with visa applications or for exit visas from Belarus.

If you attempt to transit Belarus without a visa (including travelling by train on routes such as Warsaw-Moscow and St Petersburg-Kyiv), you may be fined and/or deported to the country of embarkation.

You are required to register with local police within five working days of arrival, if you are staying more than five working days in Belarus. Travellers staying in hotels are registered as part of the check-in procedure. Failure to register in time may result in fines and difficulties when departing.

When you enter Belarus or Russia, you will be required to complete a Migration Card. A single Migration Card covers both Belarus and Russia. As the Migration Card may not be automatically distributed to incoming passengers on flights or trains, you should request a card from border control authorities. You should retain the stamped second half of this form as you will need to present it when exiting the last of the two countries visited.

Belarus requires all foreign nationals to have medical insurance upon entry. Visitors must obtain a medical insurance policy either from a Belarus insurance company or from an insurance company accredited in Belarus. For a list of insurance companies accredited in Belarus you should contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Belarus . Policies may also be purchased at a Belarus Embassy when obtaining a visa.

Visitors arriving without insurance that is valid in Belarus will be required to purchase a standard policy upon entry. The standard policy is not comprehensive medical insurance, but is designed only to compensate local medical institutions for the cost of treating visitors.

You are required to complete currency and goods declaration forms upon entering the country and have them stamped by a Customs Officer. Undeclared monies may be confiscated. You should keep these forms for the duration of your visit and have them ready for presentation, if required, upon your departure. You must not take out more money than you originally brought into the country. If you do, you may be detained and/or fined.

Customs regulations apply to the export of antiques, icons and items of historic significance.

Make sure your passport has at least six months validity from your planned date of return to Australia. You should carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.

Safety and security

Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. You can find more information about this threat in our General Advice to Australian Travellers .

There is an ongoing threat of terrorism in Europe. Terrorist attacks have occurred in Belarus and in a number of European cities.

Civil unrest/political tension

Large demonstrations occur periodically in Minsk and other cities in Belarus. In past demonstrations, large numbers of arrests were made and violence was reported. Demonstrations and localised street disturbances can occur with little warning. You should avoid all demonstrations, rallies and localised street disturbances, especially political ones, as they may turn violent and attract a heavy police presence.

Belarus authorities have a low level of tolerance for domestic political opposition and their response to opposition rallies or demonstrations in the past has included physical violence, arrest and detention.

Crime

Travellers are potential targets for robbery, mugging and pick pocketing. Crime levels are higher at night and in or near bars and hotels catering for foreigners. Drink spiking, with the intention of robbing the victim while incapacitated, has been reported. Travellers should be vigilant when travelling by train as passengers have been robbed.

There have been reports of harassment, mistreatment and extortion by police or other local officials.

Money and valuables

Before you go, organise a variety of ways of accessing your money overseas, such as credit cards, travellers' cheques and cash (US dollars or Euros). Australian currency and travellers' cheques are not accepted in many countries. Consult with your bank to find out whether your ATM card will work overseas. ATM scams, such as skimming, do occur. We therefore recommend you use ATMs located inside or next to bank premises and keep your card in sight when making purchases.

Make two photocopies of valuable documents such as your passport, tickets, visas and travellers' cheques. Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with someone at home.

While travelling, don't carry too much cash and remember that expensive watches, jewellery and cameras may be tempting targets for thieves.

As a sensible precaution against luggage tampering, including theft, lock your luggage. Information on luggage safety is available from Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority .

Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport. If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, report it online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.

You are required to pay an additional fee to have a lost or stolen passport replaced. In some cases, the Government may also restrict the length of validity or type of replacement passports.

Local travel

You should carry your passport, originals of the registered visa (see "Entry and Exit") and migration card with you. Photocopies are not acceptable.

There is a system of fees for drivers of foreign motor vehicles entering Belarus. Payment is collected at the border and varies according to the length of stay. You must have valid third party car insurance which can only be purchased when entering Belarus.

Foreign drivers must possess a valid international driver's licence. Drivers must be able to produce either an original ownership certificate for their vehicle, rental contract or power of attorney from the owner of the vehicle.

Some roads outside large cities may be impassable in winter due to ice and snow. For further advice, see our road travel page.
Limited entry border zones are enforced in a number of border areas in Belarus and require a special permit issued in advance of entry by the State Border Guards committee. Such locations are generally sign posted and restricted by road barriers and border guard posts. Travellers are advised not to enter such zones without a valid permit.

Airline safety

Please refer to our air travel page for information about aviation safety and security.

Laws

When you are in Belarus, be aware that local laws and penalties, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards, apply to you. If you are arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you but we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

Information on what Australian consular officers can and cannot do to help Australians in trouble overseas is available from the Consular Services Charter .

You should carry your passport, originals of the registered visa and migration card with you at all times. Authorities can request to see identification at any time. Failure to produce identification can result in being detained.

Driving with a blood alcohol level greater than zero is an offence.

Belarusian law provides for severe penalties, including lengthy prison sentences, for drug-related offences.

Serious crimes, such as murder, may attract the death penalty in Belarus.

It is prohibited to photograph military installations, government buildings, monuments and uniformed officials. Local authorities may apply other restrictions or fees to photography in public areas.

Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.

Australian authorities are committed to combating sexual exploitation of children by Australians overseas. Australians may be prosecuted at home under Australian child sex tourism and child pornography laws. These laws provide severe penalties of up to 25 years imprisonment for Australians who engage in child sexual exploitation while outside of Australia.

Information for dual nationals

Belarus does not recognise dual nationality. Australian citizens entering Belarus with a Belarusian passport will be treated as Belarusian citizens by local authorities. This may limit our ability to provide consular assistance to Australian/Belarusian dual nationals who are arrested or detained. We recommend you travel on your Australian passport at all times.

Our Dual nationals page provides further information.

Health

We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.

It is important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our health page also provides useful information for travellers on staying healthy.

The standard of medical facilities in Minsk is limited and is poor outside of the capital. Basic medical supplies and pharmaceuticals are in short supply. Doctors and hospitals will request either insurance details or up-front payment of a percentage of the costs before commencing treatment. In the event of a serious illness or accident, medical evacuation to a destination with appropriate facilities would be necessary. Medical evacuation costs could be considerable.

Travel in forested areas brings the risk of exposure to tick-borne encephalitis and other tick-borne diseases. Ticks are very common in country areas from spring to autumn.

Water-borne, food-borne and other infectious diseases (including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, measles, diphtheria, hepatitis and rabies) are prevalent. Avoid unpasteurised dairy products and undercooked food. In rural areas, we recommend that all drinking water be boiled or that you drink bottled water.

In regions of Belarus contaminated by radiation from the Chernobyl accident, we recommend you avoid eating dairy products, wild fowl and game, and fruits and vegetables unless they are imported.

As outlined under Entry and Exit, medical insurance is compulsory for a stay in Belarus.

Where to get help

Australia does not have an Embassy or Consulate in Belarus. You can obtain consular assistance from the nearest Australian Embassy which is in Russia. Contact details are:

Australian Embassy
Podkolokolny Pereulok 10a/2
Moscow, Russia
Telephone +7 (495) 956-6070
Facsimile +7 (495) 956-6170
Website www.russia.embassy.gov.au

If you are travelling to Belarus, whatever the reason and however long you'll be there, we encourage you to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can register online or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency - whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.

In a consular emergency if you are unable to contact the Embassy you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

In Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra may be contacted on (02) 6261 3305.

Additional information

Natural disasters, severe weather and climate

Every year during winter, a number of people are injured or killed in snow-related accidents. These include falls, traffic accidents, avalanches, snow falling from roofs and prolonged exposure to extreme cold.

Further information on natural disasters is available from the Humanitarian Early Warning Service . If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.

For Parents

For general information and tips on travelling with children see our Travelling with children page.

Under 30's Travel Insurance Pty Ltd ABN 46 125 906 809 is an authorised representative of AGA Assistance Australia Pty Ltd ABN 52 097 227 177 AFSL 245631 trading as Allianz Global Assistance. Travel insurance is underwritten by Allianz and arranged and managed by Global Assistance. Under 30's Travel Insurance Pty Ltd acts as an agent of Global Assistance, not as your agent. Any advice here does not take into consideration your objectives, financial situation or needs, which you should consider before acting on our recommendations. You should read and consider the Product Disclosure Statement before deciding whether to acquire any product mentioned here. Available at www.under30stravelinsurance.com.au