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Belarus - Take normal security precautions
Take normal security precautions in Belarus.
Safety and security
Safety and security
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 and there is a potential for other violent incidents, which could target areas frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. Continue to exercise normal security precautions.
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
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
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 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.
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.
You must present proof of valid medical insurance to enter Belarus. In addition, you will be required to purchase mandatory state insurance at the port of entry. If you are transiting through Belarus as a tourist with a transit visa, medical insurance is not required.
Tourist visa: Required (no extension permitted)
Visitor visa (private visit): Required
Business visa: Required
Student visa: Required
Transit visa: Required
You should obtain a visa from the Embassy of Belarus to Canada in Ottawa prior to departure. A visa may be issued upon arrival, but only if arriving at Minsk National Airport (formerly known as Minsk-2) and only under the following conditions:
- You arrive from a country or territory where there is no official Belarusian office
- Supporting documents were submitted to the Foreign Admissions Division of the Consular Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus by the person or organization that invited you to Belarus no later than two business days before the expected date of your arrival
Canadians require a transit visa if travelling through Belarus to another country. Prior to travel, you must obtain the appropriate transit visa for the number of transits you are planning through Belarus. Travellers without a transit visa have been denied entry and forcibly removed from trains. Border or train officials do not have the authority to issue transit visas.
The Belarusian government allows Canadians who meet certain conditions to enter Belarus for up to 5 days without a visa. Contact the Embassy of the Republic of Belarus for more information and applicable conditions.
- Foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada
- More about 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.
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.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
- Measles in Europe - April 24, 2018
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 provider 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.
Outbreaks of measles are ongoing.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that can cause serious complications for some people.
You are at increased risk of measles infection if you have not had the illness or if you are not up to date on your vaccinations.
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 (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).
- 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.
* 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
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.
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 provider.
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.
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
Laws & 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.
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.
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
Natural disasters & 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. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.
The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.
If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
Learn more about consular services.
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