Last updated: 28 Oct 2020

Belarus

About

Previously known by the name Belorussia (White Russia) it is a welcome change from the crowded tourist trail. Enjoy its beauty and renowned friendly hospitality.

The cultural scene in Minsk is very diverse with the Belarusian Ballet and good museums such as the National Museum of Belarusian History and Culture, the National Arts Museum, the Museum of History of the Great Patriotic War and the Museum of Old Belarusian Culture.

The Museum of Folk Architecture is situated in Ozerto (15km southwest of Minsk), and features original pieces of century-old buildings from different regions in Belarus.

Belavezha Wood is one of the last sites where rare animals such as bisons, bears and wolves can still be seen living in their natural habitat. Long scenic hiking trails are scattered throughout the Nature Reserve of Berezinsky, stretching from the source of the Berezina to Palik Lake.
Official Name: Republic of Belarus
Capital:  Minsk (MSQ
Currency:  Belarusian Ruble (BYR)
Language:  Belarusian and Russian. Ukrainian and Polish are widely spoken.
Dialling code from SA:  + 375
Time Zones: UTC / GMT +3 (1 hour ahead of South Africa)
Public Holidays 2019: 

Jan 1, 7; Mar 8; May 1, 7, 9; Jul 3; Nov 7, Dec 25

Side of the Road: Right
Best Time to Go: April – May, September
Best for: UNESCO World Heritage Sites, National Parks, Historical Sites, Architecture 
Plugs: 220V, 50Hz. European two-pin plugs are used
Drinking Water: All water should be regarded as being potentially contaminated. Bottled water is available. 
Health: Medical insurance is required for all foreign citizens traveling to the Republic of Belarus.  If you require any medication on your travels it is best to bring it with you, in the original packaging, with a signed and dated letter from your doctor detailing exactly what it is and why you need it.  Minsk has good private clinics, but medical facilities in the rest of the country may be limited.  
Customs: Belarus is a religious and conservative society. It is considered bad luck to whistle inside a building.  The “thumbs up” gesture is considered rude.  Homosexuality is legal, but public displays of affection should be avoided.
Local Offences / Laws: Do not photograph military personnel or installations, and government buildings.  Jaywalkers are heavily fined.Smoking is banned in public areas. 
Travel Tips / Warnings: Medical insurance is required for all foreign citizens traveling to the Republic of Belarus. If you arrive without insurance, you will be required to buy state medical insurance. Certain foods should be avoided, such as dairy produce, mushrooms and forest fruits, as they may contain high levels of radiation. 
Duty Free: The following goods may be imported into Belarus by travellers over 18 years of age without incurring customs duty:
• 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco or an assortment of these weighing up to 250g
• 3L of alcoholic beverages
• Goods for personal use up to a value of €1,500 and weighing no more than 50kg.
On entering the country, you must complete a customs declaration form which you need to retain until departure. This records the import of articles intended for personal use, including currency and valuables. Customs inspection can be long and detailed.
Prohibited Imports: Weapons and ammunition of any kind, narcotics, and printed and audio-visual material banned by Belarus.
Prohibited Exports: Weapons and ammunition, narcotics, raw precious metals, minerals, wild herbs, wild animals and some wild plants. Items of cultural value require authorisation.

Travel Alerts

COVID Travel Alert: Borders are open, but travellers will need to quarantine for 10 days. For updates: www.belarus.by/en/travel/travel-visas/visa-free-travel-program-belarus

This Information is intended as a Guideline.

Issuing Authorities

Embassy of the Republic of Belarus
164 Orion Avenue
Sterrewag
Pretoria, 0181
Tel: (012) 430-7664/7709 Fax: (012) 342-6280
E-mail: consul.rsa@mfa.gov.by
Web: http://rsa.mfa.gov.by
Consular/Visa 09h00-12h00, 14h00-16h00 Mon/Wed/Fri.
If any other day or time is required, an appointment can be made in advance by calling (012) 430-7664

Visa Requirements

Visas are required by South African passport holders.

REQUIREMENTS:
TO OBTAIN A VISA THE FOLLOWING SHOULD BE SUBMITTED TO THE CONSULAR SECTION OF THE EMBASSY:
1) One copy of a duly completed application form , The application is signed by the foreign citizen personally.
2) One photograph. The photograph must meet certain requirements: size 35x45 mm, full face, against an even light background, high resolution, 70-80 percent of the picture placed vertically, 6 months-older photos not accepted.
3) valid passport. It must contain a photograph of the owner, have at least two blank pages for visas and shall be valid as long as at least 90 days after the expected date of departure of a foreign citizen from the Republic of Belarus.
4) Invitation from Belarus
5) Copy of airticket / itinerary showing return dates
6) Visa support documents (see details below). For citizens of migration-secure states, a simplified visa procedure can be provided, which does not require visa support documents confirming the purpose and conditions of travel, when applying for business or private visas for the period of up to 30 days.
7) Travel insurance: No less than 10 000Euros, showing name and policy number of insured person. Applicant to be covered for the duration of stay in Belarus.
8) Medical Insurance :  medical insurance contract concluded with any insurance organization;
The medical insurance contract with foreign insurance organization must:
*сontain the name of a foreign insurance company and an indication of its location, telephones of foreign insurance organizations or international assistance services, as well as the surname, first name, middle name (if available) of a foreign citizen;
* be valid at the territory of the Republic of Belarus;
*be valid for a period of temporary stay or temporary residence of foreign citizens in the Republic of Belarus;
*provide the limit of indemnity not less than EUR 10 000. 

9) additional documents required for issuance of an entry visa (at the request of a consular officer)
10) Invitation letter from Belarus
11) Copy of airticket/itinerary showing return dates.

The following types of visas are provided: B - transit visa (valid for up to 48 hours), C - short-term visa (valid for up to 90 days), D - long-term visa (valid for up to 1 year with the right to stay up to 90 days). Entry visas may be one-entry, double-entry or multiple-entry.

When applying for a visa, apart from an application, you need to submit the following supporting documents:
For Business : 
An original application of a legal entity, issued on the company letterhead with the full name of the entity, its location and telephone number, as well as the commitment of the legal entity that the foreigner shall comply with the rules of stay in  Belarus, sealed by the legal entity.  Visa is issued for up to 90 days and may be single-entry, double-entry and multiple-entry.
For tourism:
An application of a Belarusian tourist company, issued on the letterhead with full name of the tourist company, its location , contact details as well as the  commitment of the tourist company that the foreigner shall comply with the rules of stay in  Belarus, sealed by the tourist company.  Contact the Embassy for further information.
Short-term private visit (up to 90 days, single, double or multiple entries):
An ORIGINAL invitation letter issued by a local citizenship and migration office of the Ministry of Interior of Belarus where a person you are going to visit is living.You may get a visa for a private visit without an invitation if you have a report proving an emergency need to visit Belarus due to a serious decease or death of a relative, or an invitation from a person you are going to visit verified at Belarusian Embassy, or document certifying you own a residence in Belarus, or a court notice.
Long-term private visit (up to 90 days within a year):
Pax would need to have a family member who is a national of Belarus or to own a residence in Belarus. To get this type of visa you need either an ORIGINAL invitation issued by a local citizenship and migration office of the Ministry of Interior of Belarus where a person you are going to visit is living or a document certifying that you own a residence in Belarus.
Transit (up to 48 hours):
A visa of the country of main destination. If a trip to that country does not require a visa, you should submit any other supporting documents proving that you need to transit through Belarus (copy of a ticket, itinerary from your travel agency etc).

ATTENTION: TO THE VISITORS THE REPUBLIC OF BELARUS
In accordance with the national legislation of Belarus at the points of entry to the Republic of Belarus the officers of the border control service may require the proof of availability and sufficiency of the means of payment. You are to proof the availability of your monetary funds in the volume equivalent to at least US $ 590 for each month of stay per person. For the period of stay in Belarus less than one month - at least US $ 24 for each day of stay per person.
The availability of monetary funds could be confirmed by presenting following documents:
-              cash money in US dollars, Euro, Belarusian rubles and etc.
( Not recommended to bring uncommon types of currencies in order to avoid embarrassing situations during exchange calculations!)
-              Travel checks, securities and other document which provide the obtaining cash money.
-              Hotel booking confirmation and other relevant documents.
-              Guarantee letter from the inviting side which provides its guest the payments of all expenses related to the stay and departure.
-              Return tickets or tickets to the third country/ vehicle.
-              Debit or Credit card which is suitable for international payments may be considered as a proof of the availability of your monetary fund only together  with the bank account statement issued not later than 10 days before arrival to Belarus.

Visa Processing Time

5 working days. Urgent visas - 2 working days.

Visa Cost

COST:
STRICTLY NO CASH.

Payment for a visa must be proceeded only after submitting the documents to the consular office. They do not accept any payment before the documents' submission!
Consular fees are payed in South African rands with reference to the surname.  EFT only!!! No cash.
Account name:  Embassy of Belarus
Bank name:    FNB
Account number:    62388186085
Branch name:    Brooklyn
Branch code:    251345

Transit visa/Short term visa (C) and Long term visa (D) : EURO180
Group visa (per person) : EURO30 

SA Representative

Non-resident accredited from Moscow, Russian
Sub-office of the SA Embassy in Minsk: E-mail: saoffice1@gmail.com

Travel Health

Compulsory:  None
Recommended Travel Vaccines:  Hepatitis A & B , Tick-Borne Encephalitis (Not available in SA), Rabies, Tetanus, Polio