Deputy Minister Mikhail Portnoy unveiled a plan of action to make the procedure of registration in Belarus easier for foreigners. The plan was worked out following a poll that the official conducted on his Facebook page in June-July.
On 8 June the official posted a quaestion on his page asking people to share the experience of registering their foreign guests and friends. Users left over 40 comments, most of them negative.
Two months later Mikhail Portnoy responded with a new post that contained a plan of action on facilitating the procedure.
“We have been working on problems related to the registration of foreigners in Belarus for several months,” he wrote. “We analyzed media publications, carefully read posts and comments on Facebook. Having analyzed key problems, we initiated an inter-agency meeting on the issues of citizenship and migration”.
The main suggestions adopted after the analysis include the introduction of a system of online registration (at present foreigners need to visit offices for citizenship and migration personally) and installation of payment terminals in migration offices (at present foreigners need to turn to a nearest bank to make a payment). The issue of the introduction of online payments will be discussed, too.
The officials will also consider registration of caravanners and cyclists. The issue of insurance for foreigners remains on agenda as well.
In an interview to TUT.BY in the beginning of summer Mikhail Portnoy underlined the importance of a welcoming attitude of border officials towards tourists.
“The first people foreigners meet upon arrival are border officers, then officials responsible for registration. Judging by the feedback we’ve had, personnel at offices for citizenship and migration do not speak English and treat visitors impolitely…”
According to the existing rules, foreigners arriving on short-term visits must register with the local migration authorities (OGIM, Citizenship and Migration Department) within 5 business days. The registration is a stamp on an migration card with check-in and check-out dates. Most hotels do it automatically, while travellers renting other accommodation need to visit offices of migration authorities.