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Can you visit Belarus with Russian visa in 2017?

By the end of 2017 Belarus and Russia may sign an agreement on mutual recognition of visas. This was announced by the Foreign Minister of Belarus Vladimir Makei following the meeting in Moscow with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

At the border, Belarus and Russia have no customs and border control for citizens of the two countries. Visas to foreign citizens are issued by each country independently.

Head of the Department of Citizenship and Migration of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Belarus Alexei Begun has answered some popular questions regarding visas and entry to Belarus.

Сan I come to Belarus with a Russian visa? Can I enter Russia with a Belarusian visa?

Yes. If a tourist has a Russian visa, they do not need a visa to Belarus. The same rule will apply to those who have a Belarusian visa: they will be able to enter Russia.

How many days can a foreigner stay in Belarus with a Russian visa? How many days can tourists stay in Russia with a Belarusian visa?

This issue has not been agreed yet by Belarus and Russia (as of November 2017). That is, you can stay in one of the two countries, but the period of stay during the year has not been determined yet, since Belarus and Russia have different terms. For example, today Russians issue their visas with the right to stay in Russia for 180 or 365 days a year. Belarus' legislation reads that you can stay for 90 days on a Belarusian visa in Belarus.

If I have the right to enter Belarus visa-free for 5 days (my country is included by Belarus in the list of the 80 countries which citizens can do it), can I enter Russia too on these grounds?

No, you can't. If you do not have a Russian visa and your country does not have a visa-free regime with Russia, you cannot get there using the Belarusian visa-free regime (this regime is valid only for Belarus, despite the long-absent control by Russia at the border with Belarus). In addition, if you use the visa-free travel regime to visit Belarus, you must leave for your country from Belarus, not from Russia.

If I have a residence permit in Russia, can I come to Belarus?

You can. And vice versa, if you have a residence permit in Belarus, you can go to Russia. In addition, this rule will also apply to those who have a temporary residence permit in Russia or Belarus.

If a person is among persons whose entry into Belarus is prohibited or undesirable, will they not be allowed to enter Russia either?

They won't be allowed into Russia. But the authorities of each country reserve the right to let a citizen into their territory, even if they are on the list of persons whose entry is prohibited or undesirable.

What transport do the uniform visa conditions affect?

The conditions will apply to any type of transport: railway, aviation or road transport. The future visa agreement between Belarus and Russia will define six highways that will allow unimpeded access from Belarus to the Russian Federation and vice versa. But the list is now being discussed.

Can tourists travel to Russia from Belarus without visas?