This is the third time in Belarus for Kevin Chavanne, the French man who lives in Estonia and travels around the world. Since he stays in the country over five days he needs to register in the Department of Citizenship and Migration.
TUT.BY and BelarusFeed reporters accompanied the foreigner to the department to see how it works.
We meet Kevin on Tuesday, 31 July, the last day he can get his loose leaf with a stamp on it without being fined for exceeding registration time limit.
With the Belarusian visa in his passport he fills in the application form at the Department of Citizenship and Migration Department of Piersamajski District in Minsk.
Fill in application
Actually, Kevin is a lucky guy who has his Russian speaking girlfriend and her mom by his side to help him out with the paperwork.
When asked whether he would be able to do it himself, the 25-year-old replies with “sure” and explains that he is quite sociable person and would figure out.
“But first you need to somehow learn about the fact that registration is generally needed.
When you get a visa at the Embassy of Belarus in Paris they don’t tell you about that.
The same thing happens at the border control. I’ve only learned about it from my folks here,” Kevin says.
On the tables we find folders with information about the services of the department. The info in them as well as the application form example is in Russian.
Luckily, questions in Kevin’s application are duplicated in English and quite simple: the date of entry, address of registration, purpose of stay, etc.
While the girl puts the necessary info into the form, the young man tells about his experience with the health insurance.
It was rejected and the reason for that is simple – it was written in French and had no official Russian or Belarusian translation.
Since Tuesday was the deadline for registration, the foreigner had no other choice but to buy a new one that cost him about €20.
Kevin notes that this is the first time he had such kind of problems with the insurance.
The department workers explain that by turning a blind eye on absence of translation but warn that they won’t do that anymore.
So, you have two options – translate your insurance at a translation bureau, or buy a new one at one of two local insurance companies.
Belgosstrakh insurance can be made by your relative, friend or inviting company in Belarus.
Don’t forget to ask them for sending you it back, as you will need to show it when entering the country.
Mind that the insurance should active in Belarus and cover no less than €10,000. You can pay for it in Belarusian or Russian rubles, dollars or euros.
Pay for registration
All foreigners should pay registration fee for the procedure, however, Kevin skipped this step.
His girlfriend’s mother dropped by the department earlier in the morning to get invoice details.
There she was given a paper with a bank address where she paid 0.5 basic amount, which is BYN 24,5 or about €10.
The application is completed and Kevin is waiting for his turn in a queue.
Meanwhile, he shares his thoughts on 30 days visa free regime, its perspectives for Belarus and difficulties he faced here.
“There were no problems at the border or in here. It’s just a bit annoying and it’s time consuming.
The only problem that I see is waiting and doing these kind of processes which can be done online in five minutes.”
As to the changes in the visa regime, the man is now planning to bring his family to Belarus and travel around the country.
“From my personal perspective, it’s a really good thing, I won’t have to pay for this visa or this burecraucy.
But for the country itself, it’s an opportunity as well to brighten up your image in Europe, because many people there are curious about it.
Besides, improving your image abroad and definitely affect business opportunities as well.”
Hand over an application
It’s time to register! Kevin accompanied by his help team enters the room to give the docs to the specialist.
“Put your signature in here,” the woman says in Russian.
Kevin asks to repeate in English but the specialist adresses his accompanees to interpret for him.
When asked how they will talk to a foreigner if he comes alone, the woman responds that they will find a person who will do that for them.
Kevin himself doesn’t see a big problem that Belarusians don’t speak the English language.
“We have the same situation in France. You should be really lucky if you meet an English speaking person on the street”
A few minutes of waiting and Kevin finally gets his loose leaf – registered. Mission complete!
If you loose the loose leaf, you will have to pay a fee, so take good care of it until you leave the country.