With visa-free entry working in Belarus since February and almost 30,000 travelers who’ve used it, things seem to be working smoothly and tourists seem satisfied. However, problems sometimes occur, as with a traveler from India, who recently got stuck at Minsk airport for 2.5 hours.
The man arrived on a Belavia flight from Vilnius last week. He had all the necessary docs to enter the country visa-free: a passport, an insurance, a Schengen visa (required from travelers from a number of countries) and electornic return ticket.
However, it turned out that an e-ticket is not enought. Border officials asked for a printed copy.
“I asked them to direct me to a place where I could print my ticket but they said they had none.
Within minutes one guard asked me to sit in a corner on a chair and kept telling me rudely that Id have to fly back on the next flight”, the traveler wrote in his blog.
The border guards called up the airline to ask them to print the ticket on paper.
However, it took some waiting, during which the tourist had to wait in the transit zone without being able to go anywhere, even an airport’s cafe.
“Two and a half hours after I first arrived, they finally got me a printed ticket. By this time, I had befriended two guards and even showed them pics of my travel so far,” he told his followers in Facebook.
In a comment to BelarusFeed, the State Border Committee of Belarus confirmed that the accident did take place.
According to visa-free decree, visitors from a number of countries marked with *, including India, can only enter Belarus provided they have valid document for travel abroad with a valid multiple Schengen or EU visa, as well as tickets confirming the date of departure from the Minsk National Airport within 5 days from the date of entry.
Despite the fact that the document does not require tourists to print the tickets out, it would be better to do it, the Border Committee said.
“The officers do not have the opportunity to verify and identify the validity of the ticket presented in an electronic form,” the commitee’s rep said.
“When such situations occur, the issue is solved through the airline with which the passenger travels.”
Similar occasions have taken place before, but were solved quickly, he added.
In case with the passenger from India, the long waiting time was explained by a big number of Belavia’s passengers on that day. The traveler was let through as soon as border guards got a printed ticket from the airline.
And it is the responsibility of the air carrier to inform travelers about the need to print the ticket out, the State Border Committee concluded.