Last updated: 5 Dec 2018

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 2018:  Jan 1, 7; Mar 8; Apr 17; May 1, 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.

Issuing Authorities

Embassy of the Republic of Belarus
164 Orion Avenue
Sterrewag
Pretoria, 0181
PO Box 4107, Pretoria, 0001
Tel: (012) 430-7664/7709 Fax: (012) 342-6280
E-mail: consul.rsa@mfa.gov.by
Web: http://rsa.mfa.gov.by
Embassy 08h00-12h00, 13h00-17h00 Mon-Fri
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

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Visa Processing Time

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Visa Cost

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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