The agreement on the mutual recognition of visas between Belarus and Russia has been published on the official Internet portal of legal information of the Russian Federation. It specifies, in particular, where foreigners can cross the border, if they can travel using visa-free rules and why they can be refused the entry to one of the states.
The agreement remains unsigned.
With visa and visa-free
Foreigners who have the visa to either Belarus or Russia can use this visa to enter, transit and leave the territory of the other state while their visa is valid.
If a foreigner comes from a state that has visa-free agreements with both Belarus and Russia, they can travel between the two countries using their passport or ID.
In this case, the period of stay will be determined either by those agreements or by the corresponding law.
Besides, a visa-free agreement with one of the countries will allow entry to the other one with the visa of the latter. Recall that at present visa-free tourists to Belarus cannot fly to Russia directly even if they have the Russia visa, and vice versa.
Where to cross the border?
After the mutual visa recognition, foreigners will be able to travel between Belarus and Russia using international air, railway, and automobile routes.
As for crossing the border between Belarus and Russia by car, the document lists six roads that can be used to do that – in Vitebsk, Mogilev, Gomel, and Pskov, Smolensk, and Bryansk regions.
The countries will exchange the list of border checkpoints during 60 days after the signing of the agreement.
How long can one stay?
The document doesn’t name the exact period of stay for foreign travelers. However, it states that the term of stay counts from the day of the arrival to the territory of either Belarus or Russia.
Besides, foreign visitors will have to register following the procedure determined by the law.
Who will be banned from entry?
In this relation, the rule is simple.
If a third-country national is banned the entry to either Belarus or Russia, they won’t be able to enter the territory of the other state.
Both sides have the right to deny entry or shorten the period of stay to any foreign citizen on security issues. They can also temporarily stop the agreement in the interest of the national security.
When will Belarus-Russia visa recognition start?
The agreement on Belarus-Russia visa recognition was to be signed on 13 December. The published document is marked as of 12 December, which means that the agreement was ready by then.
However, the parties didn’t sign it.
Belarus later explained the delay by falling behind with some internal procedures. President Alexander Lukashenko confirmed it during the press conference with the Russian journalists on 13 December.
The document will come into force within 30 days after both sides confirm the completion of the relevant internal procedures to each other.
Should this happen before 20 May 2019, the visa recognition rules will apply to the guests of the 2nd European Games in Minsk.