Updated at 23:08,31-05-2020

Foreigners can now stay in Belarus visa-free for up to 30 days

Euroradio

Foreigners can now stay in Belarus visa-free for up to 30 days
Photo: Fotolia
Belarus President Aliaksandr Lukashenka on 24 July signed a decree extending the visa-free stay for foreign visitors up to 30 days, reports the head of state's press office. Since February 2017, nationals of 80 countries, including the EU member states and the United States, have been allowed to stay in Belarus without a visa for 5 days on condition they arrive and exit via the Minsk international airport. The same condition remains in the new edict. It means the visa-free program does not apply to those seeking to enter Belarus without a visa by car, bus or train.

The new regulation has updated the list of countries and their citizens that are eligible for visa-free trips to Belarus. It no longer contains the counries, which have already signed the bilateral agreement with Belarus on the visa-free travel. for example, citizens of Belarus and China holding regular passports will be able to travel without a visa effective from 10 August.

The visa-free program does not apply to persons arriving in Minsk on flights from Russia or if they come to Belarus for employment, on business or to study longer than 30 days. More details (in Belarusian and Russian) here.

The measure is expected to boost the tourism sector in Belarus. In 2017, 282 000 foreign tourists visited the country - 65 000 more against 2016. On average, visa-free visitors stayed for four days. Belarusian tourists spent an average of eight days abroad.

The Lukashenka's edict comes as a surprise as Belarus officials did not mull over the 30-day extention. In June, Sport and Tourism Minister Siarhei Kavalchuk announced the visa-free stay could be increased up to 15-20 days.