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Latest updates: Safety and security - Update on events surrounding the presidential elections
COVID-19 – Global travel advisory
Effective date: March 13, 2020
Avoid non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice.
This advisory overrides other risk levels on this page, with the exception of any risk levels for countries or regions where we advise to avoid all travel.
Belarus - Take normal security precautions
Take normal security precautions in Belarus.
Safety and security
Belarusian presidential elections
Presidential elections took place on August 9, 2020. Large demonstrations against the government have been held since the announcement of the results and local authorities have responded with a violent crackdown on protesters. Clashes have occurred between protesters and security forces, thousands of protesters have been detained and casualties have been reported.
Journalists are particularly scrutinized by Belarusian authorities. There are reports of intimidation, harassment and violence against local and foreign journalists and some have been detained.
The situation is fluid and unpredictable. Further demonstrations are likely to occur, and even if they are meant to be peaceful, they could turn violent at any time. Authorities could disrupt telecommunication services without notice.
If you are currently in Belarus:
- be vigilant at all times
- avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- monitor local media for the latest information
Petty crimes such as pickpocketing and purse snatching occur, particularly in the cities of:
Such crimes are especially common after dark in and around hotels and hostels frequented by foreigners.
Be vigilant when crossing the border with Poland at Brest due to the risk of mugging.
Theft of luxury cars is common. Park any vehicle in a secure location or guarded lot, and always keep valuables out of sight.
Ensure that your personal belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times.
Avoid showing signs of affluence and carrying large sums of cash. Always be aware of your surroundings.
There is a threat of terrorism in Europe. Terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities. There is a potential for other violent incidents.
Targets could include:
- government buildings, including schools
- places of worship
- airports and other transportation hubs and networks
- public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners
Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places.
Demonstrations are frequent. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
More about mass gatherings (large-scale events)
Debit- and credit-card fraud is common. Be cautious when using debit or credit cards:
- pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others
- use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business
- avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
- cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
- check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements
More about overseas fraud
Spiked food and drinks
Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances, as the items may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.
Roads are generally in good condition; however, many may be impassable in winter.
Drivers generally have little regard for traffic regulations and do not follow safe-driving practices.
Horse-drawn carts are a common road hazard in rural areas.
Radar traps are widespread.
Use only officially marked taxis and do not share them with strangers. Fares vary greatly, and vehicles are often poorly maintained.
Buses and trolleys are poorly maintained and are usually crowded and unheated.
Exercise caution when travelling by train, especially on sleeper trains to Warsaw and Moscow. Store valuables in a safe place and do not leave your compartment unattended. Ensure that the door is secured from the inside.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
General information about foreign domestic airlines
General safety information
Tourist facilities are limited and only available in the larger cities.
Security authorities may place foreigners under surveillance. Hotel rooms, telephones, fax machines and e-mail messages may be monitored. Personal possessions in hotel rooms may be searched. Foreigners have been expelled from the country for working with Belarusian civil-society groups.
COVID-19 - Entry, exit and transit restrictions and requirements
In an attempt to limit the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), most governments have implemented special entry and exit restrictions and requirements for their territory. While some countries have started to ease some of these measures, most remain in place.
Before travelling, verify if the local authorities of both your current location and destinations have implemented any specific restrictions or requirements related to this situation. Consider even your transit points, as many destinations have implemented strict transit rules which could disrupt your travel.
These could include:
- entry bans, particularly for non-residents
- exit bans
- quarantines of 14 days or more upon arrival, some in designated facilities, at your own cost
- health screenings and certificates as well as proof of adequate travel health insurance
- travel authorization documents to be obtained before you travel
- border closures
- airport closures
- flight suspensions to/from certain destinations, and in some cases, all destinations
- suspensions or reductions of other international transportation options
Additional restrictions can be imposed suddenly. Airlines can also suspend or reduce flights without notice. Your travel plans may be severely disrupted, making it difficult for you to return home. You should not depend on the Government of Canada for assistance related to changes to your travel plans.
- Monitor the media for the latest information
- Contact your airline or tour operator to determine if the situation will disrupt your travel plans
- Contact the nearest foreign diplomatic office for information on destination-specific restrictions
Foreign diplomatic offices in Canada – Global Affairs Canada
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the Belarusian authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for at least 3 months beyond the date you expect to leave from Belarus.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest diplomatic mission for your destination.
Tourist visa: Not required for stays of up to 30 days
Business visa: Required
Student visa: Required
Transit visa: Not required
You can enter Belarus without a visa for a period of up to 30 days, which cannot be extended, at the following conditions:
- You must arrive at Minsk National Airport
- You must have a regular passport valid for at least 90 days beyond the date you expect to leave Belarus
- You must show a proof of sufficient funds to cover your stay in Belarus (Br49,000 (approx. CAD$30) for each day of stay)
- You must have a medical insurance coverage of at least €10,000
Those conditions don’t apply if you are flying in from or to Russia as these flights are considered internal flights with no border control.
Obtaining a visa for Belarus - Belarus Ministry of Foreign Affairs
If staying in Belarus for more than 5 business days, you must register with the Citizenship and Migration Department of the Ministry of Interior (formerly OVIR) office in the district in which you are staying. Registration must be done no later than 3 working days after arriving in Belarus.
Registration will normally be arranged by your hotel. If you are not staying in a hotel, registration must be organized by your host.
Failure to register can result in fines and difficulties when departing.
You must present proof of valid medical insurance translated into Belarussian or Russian to enter Belarus. In addition, you will be required to purchase mandatory state insurance at the port of entry.
When entering Belarus by private vehicle, you must fill out a customs card and show proof of ownership documents or a power of attorney letter at the border crossing. These documents must be translated into Belarusian and certified at a Belarusian embassy. Third-party car insurance is mandatory and can only be purchased upon entry into Belarus.
More about travelling with children
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
- Pandemic COVID-19 all countries: avoid non-essential travel outside Canada - April 19, 2020
- Global Measles Notice - July 23, 2019
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health professional about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.
Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (e.g., are children, have an occupational risk, or in close contact with animals, including free roaming dogs in communities).
- Tick-borne encephalitis is present in some areas of this country.
- It is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).
- It is spread to humans by the bite of infected ticks or when you consume unpasteurized milk products.
- Vaccination should be considered for those who may be exposed to ticks during outdoor activities.
- A vaccine against TBE does exist but is only available in countries where the disease is present.
- Learn more on what you can do to prevent tick-borne encephalitis (TBE)?
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
About Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in Eastern Europe, food and water can also carry diseases like hepatitis A. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Eastern Europe. When in doubt, remember…boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
- Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
- The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Insects and Illness
In some areas in Eastern Europe, certain insects carry and spread diseases like Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, Lyme disease, tick-borne encephalitis, and West Nile virus.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is no risk of malaria in this country.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, snakes, rodents, and bats. Certain infections found in Eastern Europe, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.
For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.
Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care professional.
High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.
Medical services and facilities
Access to medical care is limited and medical standards are not up to those you might expect in Canada. There are private medical and dental offices in the larger cities.
In the event of a serious accident or illness, medical evacuation will be necessary.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
Travel health and safety
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
A serious violation may lead to a jail or death sentence. The sentence will be served in local prisons.
Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in Belarus.
If local authorities consider you a citizen of Belarus, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services. This will prevent us from providing you with those services.
General information for travellers with dual citizenship
Always carry originals of your passport, visa and migration card, as you may be asked to prove your identity and date of entry into the country. Failure to provide internationally recognized identification could result in detention.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect lengthy jail sentences.
Photographing public sites
Photography of military installations, public buildings and monuments may result in a penalty. Seek permission from local authorities before taking photographs.
Belarusian law does not prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. Homosexuality, however, is not widely accepted in Belarus.
General safety information and advice for LGBTQ2 travellers abroad
You must carry an international driving permit.
Checkpoints are common on roads and border crossings in Belarus.
Traffic safety in Belarus is controlled by uniformed police officers known as DAI in Belarusian and GAI in Russian. If a traffic police officer waves a striped wand or points a red retro-reflector at you, you must pull over and stop, and be ready to present driving and insurance documents.
Drivers of foreign vehicles must pay a fee to use Belarusian highways.
There is a digital road toll system, BelToll, to collect tolls along motorways.
You must drive with the vehicle lights on at all times from November 1 to March 31.
The use of hand-held devices while driving is prohibited.
Drivers may not have any alcohol in their blood system: the alcohol limit for drivers is 0.00%.
The speed limit in urban areas is 60 km/h, unless specified otherwise. Outside urban areas the speed limit is 90 km/h and on highways, 110 km/h. Speed limits are strictly enforced.
Most traffic signs are in Cyrillic script only (not Latin).
The Belarusian government may enforce a requirement for special permits to travel in “protected border zones.” Be alert for warning signs, road barriers or border-guard posts. Do not cross into such areas without permission. For more information, contact the embassy of Belarus.
- More about the digital toll collection - BelToll
- More about the International Driving Permit
- Foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada
The currency is the Belarusian ruble (BYR).
Credit cards are accepted by many hotels, restaurants and stores, especially in Minsk. ATMs are available in major cities to withdraw rubles. Traveller’s cheques are not accepted for payment but can be exchanged
at a bank for rubles.
You must pay for goods and services in Belarusian rubles. The use of foreign currency in cash transactions is prohibited. You can face arrest if you attempt to buy an item with currency other than Belarusian rubles. Exchange foreign currency at government-licensed booths only. A valid passport must be presented to purchase foreign currency.
Natural disasters and climate
Belarus is not prone to natural disasters.
In case of emergency, dial:
- police: 102
- medical assistance: 103
- firefighters: 101
There is no Canadian government office in Belarus. You can obtain consular assistance from the Embassy of Canada to Poland in Warsaw.
Warsaw - Embassy of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the embassy of Canada in Warsaw and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad. In the event of a large-scale emergency, every effort will be made to provide assistance. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
See Large-scale emergencies abroad for more information.
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