Customs regulations and required documents
Personal effects import regulations
There are severe penalties for drug-related crime. These include prison sentences of up to 5 years for drug possession and up to 25 years for serious drug-related offences.
Homosexual relationships are permitted under Belarusian law. However, Belarus remains a conservative society and the LGBT scene is very low profile. Very few LGBT people are open about their sexuality. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.
Belarus does not recognise dual nationality. If you have both Belarusian and British passports, the authorities will consider you as Belarusian, even if you enter the country on your British passport. This limits the UK government’s ability to provide consular assistance.
You should avoid taking photographs of all government buildings, military installations and uniformed officials. You could be fined for jaywalking.
If you wish to import goods or services for charitable purposes, consult the Belarus Embassy in London for advice about local procedures and tariffs. If you think your goods will be exempt from Belarusian taxation, you should get written confirmation from the Belarus Embassy in London, confirming this.
Free import by persons of 16 years and older :
Arms and Ammunition regulations:
Import of all firearms and ammunition is allowed with a license obtained prior to arrival. They must be transported as check-in baggage.
Wild Fauna and Flora:
Live animals and agricultural materials require the appropriate health and veterinary certificates (report any material in baggage to the State Plant Quarantine Service). In addition, live animals require a special permit for import.
Additional Information on regulations:
A customs declaration must be handed over when leaving Belarus or any other CIS country on an international flight. When traveling to other CIS countries (except Turkmenistan and Ukraine) there will be no customs control at both points. This will take place when leaving the other CIS country on an international flight.
Cats, dogs and birds (except pigeons) must be accompanied by Veterinarian Health Certificate with seal of local Board of Health and not be issued over ten days prior to arrival. Pets must have been vaccinated against rabies within 12 months and 30 days prior to entry. Pigeons are prohibited entry. Pets may enter as passenger’s checked baggage, in the cabin or as cargo. Generally pets are not permitted in hotels.
The fee proposed for Belarus will also depend on factors including the age of the car and its engine size. In addition, one of the provisos is that the fee should be paid in Russian rubles (RUR) with the base rate for passenger vehicles set at RUR 20,000 ($603), and light commercial vehicles and trucks set at RUR 150,000 (see the complete table below).
Representatives from the Belarusian Automotive Association (BAA) said that the utilisation fee will probably result in a 50% drop in the volume of sales of all imported cars in the country. Its chairman, Sergei Mihnevich, also complained that the fee had been set in rubles.
Currency Import regulations
Local currency (Belarus Ruble – BYN) and foreign currencies: no restrictions. Amounts over USD 10,000. – or equivalent must be declared.
Currency Export regulations
Foreign currencies: up to the amount imported and declared. Foreign banknotes and coins must be exported within 2 months after import.
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Belarus is governed by a strong Presidential system with the police and security services loyal to it. The authorities show little tolerance for their opposition counterparts. You should maintain a high level of security awareness, particularly in public places and avoid demonstrations.
Belarusian authorities have launched a violent crackdown against demonstrators across Belarus following Presidential elections on 9 August 2020. Further demonstrations are planned with an increased risk of clashes with security forces. Potential flashpoints may be subject to security lockdowns with very little notice. You are advised to remain vigilant, avoid crowds, and if protests do break out, you should leave the area immediately. British media representatives should make sure they are clearly identifiable.
There is little crime in Belarus but, you should be alert at all times to the possibility of mugging, pickpocketing and theft from vehicles or hotel rooms. Take extra care when travelling by train; there have been instances of theft from travellers, especially on sleeper trains to Warsaw and Moscow.
Licences and documents
You need to have a 1968 International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in Belarus. 1949 IDPs previously issued by the UK may no longer be accepted for use in Belarus after this date. You can get IPD’s over the counter from 2,500 UK Post Offices. You will not be able to buy an IDP outside the UK, so get one before you travel.
There may be long queues at borders. Customs and immigration can be lengthy and bureaucratic. You should ignore any private facilitators who offer to help you pass through checkpoints and border crossings.
You must be able to produce ownership documents or a letter of ‘power of attorney’ at border crossings. Only originals of these documents are accepted. You must have third party car insurance or you may get an on-the-spot fine. You can only buy this when entering Belarus. Ask at Customs’ border offices for further information.
Don’t overstay the temporary import terms for your vehicle. Violation of the exit deadline may result in confiscation of your vehicle at the Belarusian border or if stopped at an in-country police checkpoint.
Drivers with foreign licence plates must pay a fee to use toll roads, via an electronic toll collection system. Information can be found on the BelToll website. The website includes toll road maps and guidance on registration, purchase of the required on-board unit, and payment. There are fines for non-compliance, so follow the installation instructions carefully to make sure your vehicle is successfully identified at checkpoints.
Buses may require permits for picking up passengers in Belarus, or for transiting. These permits are free. Find out when a permit is required and how to get one.
You should observe the speed limit at all times. The standard speed limit is 60 km/h (37 mph) in built up areas; 90 km/h (55 mph) outside built up areas; and up to 120 km/h (74 mph) on motorways (Brest-Moscow). Visiting motorists who have held a driving licence for under 2 years must not exceed 70 km/h (43 mph).
There is a zero-tolerance policy towards drink driving.
There are police checkpoints on routes throughout the country. You should stop when instructed and have vehicle documentation to hand. You should only make official payments.
The quality of driving in Belarus is unpredictable. A-class highways are in reasonable condition. The condition of B-class roads varies considerably and some are impassable for periods in winter. Road works and potholes are usually poorly marked. Horse and carriage combinations are a specific hazard for drivers in rural unlit areas.
See the AA and RAC guides on driving in Belarus.
There are no internal flights currently available in Belarus.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation has carried out an audit of the implementation level of critical elements of safety oversight in Belarus.
No airport tax is levied on passengers upon embarkation at the airport.