Road Conditions and Safety: Generally, roads in Belarus are in good condition, but modern cars share the highways with tractors, horse-drawn carts, and pedestrians.
- Driving under the influence is common despite a strict zero-tolerance law.
- Speed bumps are common, even on major streets in large cities.
- If you are involved in an accident, remain at the scene until police arrive unless your personal safety is in danger.
- Drive with caution at all times. Potholes, unlit or poorly lit streets, and dark-clothed pedestrians walking on roads are common dangers.
- Drivers are expected to yield to pedestrians at road signs and intersections not controlled by traffic signals or road police.
- Belarus has a toll system which requires payment when using certain specifically identified roads. Passenger motor vehicles registered outside the Eurasian Customs Union countries (Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia) must pay for use of a number of such major roads. Detailed information regarding toll roads, distribution points, and penalties for not paying tolls can be found at Bell Toll website
- Fines vary for driving under the influence. Those who commit a repeat offence within 365 days of a previous violation may be subject to criminal prosecution and possibly sentenced for to up to six months in prison or up to two years of corrective labor.
- Using hand-held mobile devices while driving is prohibited.
Public Transportation: When traveling on public transportation of any kind, be wary of pickpocketing and other petty crime. There are several rental car agencies currently operating in Minsk; however, rental-car networks are not well developed.
- Radio-dispatched taxi services are metered, generally reliable, arrive promptly, and usually offer the lowest fare.
- Uber currently operates in Minsk.
- The use of informal, unregistered taxis is not recommended.
- Minsk has a clean, safe, and efficient subway system that reaches outside the city center.
Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Belarus, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Belarus? Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA?s safety assessment page.
Medical care in Belarus is neither modern nor easily accessible. Hospitals and medical facilities are below U. S. standards and lack basic supplies. Trauma care is well below U.S. standards; Belarus lacks the level of care and competence to deal with serious injuries.
- Standard U.S. health insurance plans are not accepted in Belarus.
- Ambulances are poorly equipped and unreliable. It is not unusual to wait 30 minutes for an ambulance.
- Consider purchasing medical evacuation insurance prior to traveling to Belarus.
- There are no air ambulance services in Belarus.
- The government requires all visitors show evidence of valid purchase health insurance. You may purchase local health insurance at your point of entry.
- The medical emergency number for Belarus is 103
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.
Medical Insurance: The government requires all visitors to purchase local health insurance or show evidence of a policy with international coverage that includes Belarus. You may purchase the local health insurance at the points of entry. If you plan to use international medical insurance purchased outside Belarus, be sure to check with the Embassy of Belarus to be sure your policy is acceptable. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover a potential medical evacuation.
If traveling with prescription medication:
- You must carry your prescription medication in the original packaging
- You should have the written prescription from your doctor.
- You should check with the government of Belarus, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ensure your medication is legal in Belarus.
- Some common medications in the U.S., such as opioid pain relievers, are illegal in Belarus.
- Belarusian officials have confiscated these drugs from travelers.
The following diseases are prevalent: Tuberculosis (TB) is an increasingly serious health concern in Belarus. For further information, please consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention?s (CDC) information on TB.
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further health information:
Local laws and Special Circumstances
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.
Under local law, any agency that detains a foreigner should inform the local Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) within 24 hours from the time of detention. The MFA, in its turn, must notify the respective embassy as soon as possible. The time of such notifications has varied from several hours to several weeks. Therefore, we recommend that if travelers have a chance to inform friends or relatives about their arrest, they should request that their friends or relatives notify the U.S. Embassy on their behalf as soon as possible.
- Belarusian banks provide limited cash withdrawals in Belarusian rubles from major credit cards. Please see notes on cyber-crime, above, regarding the security of ATMs.
- Authorized currency exchange centers are widely available throughout major cities.
- It is a criminal offense to exchange payment in U.S. dollars to firms or individuals without a special license.
- Only a few large firms are licensed to accept U.S. dollars. Travelers are advised to only use widely available licensed exchange locations.
- ATMs are available for use; credit and debit cards are widely accepted in major cities and towns; however use caution (see cyber-crime above).
- Carry your passport at all times.
- Police have the authority to stop you and request identification. If you fail to provide your ID, you may be detained by the police until your identity is established.
The 1986 release of nuclear material from the Chernobyl nuclear station in Ukraine affected Belarus. The city of Minsk was mostly spared, but other areas of Belarus were badly contaminated. Several years of monitoring have shown that radiation levels in Minsk are within internationally acceptable standards, and periodic testing of foodstuffs from various locations in Belarus has not revealed a level of radiation that would be considered harmful.
Marriages in Belarus:
- Consult the U.S. Embassy Minsk website for information on getting married in Belarus.
- Marriages must be performed at a registrar?s office (ZAGS- Office of Matrimonial Acts Registration) to be legally valid in Belarus.
Faith-Based Travelers: See the following webpages for details:
- Faith-Based Travel Information
- International Religious Freedom Report ? see country reports
- Human Rights Report ? see country reports
- Hajj Fact Sheet for Travelers
- Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad
LGBTI Travelers: Same-sex relations are not illegal in Belarus, but discrimination against members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBTI) community is widespread, and harassment against LGBTI individuals has occurred in the past. For more detailed information about LGBTI rights in Belarus you may review the State Department?s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2017. See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: In Belarus, many buildings and most public transportation systems are not well adapted for individuals with disabilities. Before visiting Belarus, check ahead with your hotel/destination to learn more about options to accommodate disabled travelers.
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Safety and Security
Credible information indicates terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Europe. European governments are taking action to guard against terrorist attacks. All European countries remain potentially vulnerable to attacks from transnational terrorist organizations.
Demonstrations intended to be peaceful can sometimes become confrontational. For this reason, it is recommended that U.S. citizens avoid all demonstrations and protest gatherings.
- Demonstrations, both organized and spontaneous, are infrequent in Belarus. Localized street disturbances relating to political events are more likely in Minsk or larger cities than in smaller towns and villages.
- Authorities have used force to disperse demonstrators, including those who are peacefully demonstrating.
- Bystanders, including foreign nationals, may face the possibility of arrest or detention.
Foreigners may be placed under surveillance. Hotel rooms, telephones, and fax machines may be monitored, and personal possessions in hotel rooms may be searched.
Taking photographs of anything that could be perceived as being of military or security interest may result in problems with authorities; these sites are not always clearly marked and application of these restrictions is subject to interpretation.
Crime: Belarus has a low rate of street crime. Violent crime against foreigners is rare; criminals have been known to use force if met with resistance from victims.
- Common street crime, such as mugging and pickpocketing, occurs most frequently near public transportation venues, near hotels frequented by foreigners, and/or at night in poorly-lit areas.
- Exercise caution when visiting bars, casinos and night clubs, and do not leave your drink unattended. There have been reports of travelers being drugged and subsequently robbed or assaulted while visiting night clubs.
- Prostitutes at hotels may attempt to open hotel room doors in search of customers.
- Local and transnational organized criminal activity exists in Belarus. Most casinos and adult clubs are operated by criminal elements and should be avoided.
- Theft of vehicle parts and car vandalism is common. Sport-utility and luxury vehicles tend to be the most sought-after. Parking in a secure area overnight is highly recommended.
Internet-Dating Schemes and Cyber-Crime: "Internet brides" are advertised on several websites and are not always legitimate. Often, potential suitors in the United States lose thousands of dollars sending money to people they have never met and will never hear from again. In some cases, the foreigner is invited to visit Belarus; the Belarusian ?friend? collects money for lodging and transportation expenses and then disappears.
Cyber-crime is well developed in Belarus. Merchandise orders with fraudulent credit cards, ID theft, hacking/blackmail schemes, and advance-fee fraud are gaining in popularity. If doing business electronically with persons or firms in Belarus, proceed with extreme caution.
- Use only ATMs located inside major banks.
- Use of credit and debit cards is not recommended; there have been reports of U.S. citizens having their ATM or credit cards skimmed resulting in fraudulent charges or money stolen from their accounts.
- Be aware that due to a lack of tourism infrastructure in Belarus, transferring funds from abroad, replacing stolen traveler’s checks or airline tickets, or canceling credit cards can be difficult in Belarus.
Counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available. Transactions involving such products may be illegal under local law. In addition, bringing them back to the United States may result in forfeitures and/or fines.
Sophisticated criminal investigations may be inconclusive because of a lack of resources and/or political will.
We have received reports of harassment of U.S. citizens at border crossings. We recommend that you report any crimes immediately to the local police and to the U.S. Embassy in Minsk.
Victims of Crime: Report crimes to the local police by dialing 102 and contact the U.S. Embassy at +375 17 210 1283. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime that occurs in Belarus.
The local equivalents to the ?911? emergency lines in Belarus are: 101 for Fire and Rescue Squad; 102 for Police; and 103 for Ambulance (Medical Emergency).
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
- help you find appropriate medical care
- assist you in reporting a crime to the police
- contact relatives or friends with your written consent
- explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
- provide a list of local attorneys
- provide our information on victim?s compensation programs in the U.S.
- provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
- help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
- replace a stolen or lost passport
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance.
Tourism: The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is typically available only in/near major cities. First responders are generally unable to access areas outside of major cities and to provide urgent medical treatment. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
Entry exit Requirementsh
30 Day Visa Free Travel
U.S. passport holders traveling to Belarus via Minsk International Airport may enter visa-free for up to 30 days (the 30-day limit includes the day of arrival and the day of departure) for tourism or business.
Visa-Free Travel Requirements
U.S. citizens wishing to enter Belarus for 30 days without a visa must:
- Hold a valid passport;
- Enter and exit Belarus via Minsk International Airport;
- Arrive from and depart to any country other than the Russian Federation;
- Show evidence of finances in the form of cash, credit cards or travelers checks equivalent to 25 Euros for each day of stay;
- Show evidence of a medical insurance policy with at least 10,000 Euros of coverage valid throughout Belarus. Such a policy may be purchased at the airport upon arrival; please see the Embassy of Belarus website for information about current fees; and
- Register with the local office of the Citizenship and Migration Department of the Ministry of the Interior for stays longer than five working days (see below).
The Visa-free option is not available to you if:
You are coming directly to or from the Russian Federation.
You enter and exit Belarus anywhere other than Minsk International Airport.
You plan to stay longer than 30 days.
You are entering on a diplomatic or official passport.
Travelers who stay longer than 30 days or who violate the visa-free registration rules can face administrative action which may include a fine of up to ?550, deportation, and prohibition from entering Belarus in the future.
Visitors to Belarus may request a visa before traveling from the Embassy of Belarus. Instructions for obtaining a visa are available on the Embassy of Belarus website. Please note that the Government of Belarus has the authority to deny entry to any foreign visitor whether or not he/she has a visa.
Travelling between Russia and Belarus
Car and Train Travel: Belarus and Russia do not have international passport control capabilities at the land border. Therefore, U.S. citizens and other foreigners, even those holding valid visas, may not cross the Belarusian ? Russian border by car, train, or on foot. Only Russian and Belarusian passport holders may transit the land border.
Air Travel: U.S. citizens require a visa in order to travel by air between Belarus and Russia. Regulations regarding travel between Russia and Belarus may change unexpectedly. Even if you already hold a visa, before planning a trip we recommend you visit the Embassy of Belarus website and the website of the Embassy of the Russian Federation for the latest information.
All U.S. citizens staying in Belarus for more than five business days are required to register with the local office of the Citizenship and Migration Department of the Ministry of Interior (formerly OVIR). This requirement applies to visa holders and those who enter Belarus under the 30-day visa-free regime. Please keep in the mind the following:
- Registration must be completed within five business days of arrival.
- If you are staying in a hotel, the hotel will complete the registration for you.
- If you have a short term rental of an apartment or house, be sure to check with the rental agent; they may be able to assist you.
- If you are staying in a private home, you must complete the registration process yourself.
- If you fail to register or if you remain in Belarus longer than 30 days you will face administrative action which may include a fine of up to ?550, deportation, and prohibition from entering Belarus in the future.
- Foreign citizens entering on a tourist or business visa may not stay in Belarus for more than 90 days total during any calendar year, including dates of entry and departure.
Visit the Belarusian Embassy web site for the latest information regarding entry requirements for traveling to Belarus.
Transiting Schengen Countries:
Your passport should be valid for at least three months beyond the period of stay if you plan on transiting a Schengen country.
You will need sufficient proof of funds and a return airline ticket.
For additional details about travel into and within Schengen countries, please see our Schengen fact sheet.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to Belarus on a 30-day visit. Long-term residents (those spending more than 90 days a year in Belarus) or students must obtain an HIV/AIDS test in Belarus and submit the results to the Department of Citizenship and Migration when applying for an extension of stay or residency. We recommend you verify this information with the Embassy of Belarus before you travel.
See the Department of State?s Fact Sheet on Belarus for information on U.S. – Belarussian relations.