The 2nd European Games in Minsk are a good opportunity to visit Belarus visa-free. What’s even more luring, is the opportunity to also visit Russia without a visa from 10 June to 10 July 2019.
Everything you need to know about how to cross the Belarus-Russia border during the European Games.
Belarus expects a big number of sports fans to attend Minsk 2019 via Russia. The two countries have agreed on visa-free transit for holders of the tickets to the 2nd European Games. The rules of crossing the border were explained by the Belarusian border authorities.
If you plan to take advantage of a visa-free trip to Russia, read carefully.
Who can come to Russia visa-free during 2nd European Games?
The citizens of 74 countries (par 1.2) don’t need a visa to Russia to enter, exit and transit in the period between 10 June through 10 July provided they have a ticket for the 2nd European Games in Minsk.
The visa-free program of the 2nd European Games requires eligible travelers to have a ticket (paper or electronic) to one of the events, a valid passport, a health insurance for at least €10,000 valid in Belarus and at least €25 per every day of stay (for Belarus).
What will I be asked at the Russian border?
You must clearly state, where you’re going and what your route is, have a ticket for the 2nd European Games and enter before the date of the event.
According to Belarusian authorities, having a booked ticket to Minsk is not prerequisite when entering Russia.
However, as practice shows, it is generally a good idea to have all reservations (including for the return trip) made and printed out in advance – it may help in case of the language barrier and save time.
When entering Russia, you will receive a migration card. Fill it in, indicate your route and keep the card till the end of your trip to submit it to the border guards when you leave.
You may be requested to prove your financial liability when crossing the Russian border. If you cannot do it, you will be denied entry.
“At the same time, I’d like to remind that a ticket to the Games is not an absolute dogma for our Russian colleagues. When entering Russia and staying there, visitors must observe the laws of the Russian Federation. For example, a ticket to the Games does not exempt travelers from registration in Russia, if that is required,” the head of the Department of Citizenship and Migration of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Belarus Alexei Begun said at a recent press conference.
How to cross the Belarus-Russia border during 2nd European Games?
Crossing from Belarus and Russia from 10 to 10 July is allowed by any border – air or land (by car and train). However, tourists traveling by land should cross strictly through certain border checkpoints – three for cars and three for railway transport. Make sure you check them in advance (bottom of the page here).
If you plan to transit to Belarus through Russia, make sure you register your ticket here before the trip.
Don’t stress out if you forget to do that – the registration system will be updated every 30-60 minutes, so you might as well send in your info while approaching the border.
Do I need anything else (tickets, reservations, money) to cross the border?
The visa-free program of the 2nd European Games requires eligible travelers to have a ticket (paper or electronic) to one of the events, a valid passport, a health insurance for at least €10,000 valid in Belarus and at least €25 per every day of stay.
As the Belarusian border authorities pointed out, it is important to clearly state to the border guards which visa-free program you’re using and be able to explain your route.
According to them, having a booked ticket to Minsk is not prerequisite when entering Russia. However, as practice shows, it is generally a good idea to have all reservations (including for the return trip) made and printed out in advance – it may help in case of the language barrier and save time.
Can I just travel to Russia and skip the Games in Minsk?
No, this is a violation of the rules.
You must enter before the date of the event in your ticket; and if you decide to spend a few days in Russia before traveling to Belarus, make sure you plan the trip to get to Minsk on time for the event.
Plan your trip to Minsk:
Can I travel between Belarus and Russia several times during the Games?
One ticket grants one-time entry to Belarus and one-time transit from Russia. You must enter before the date of the event on your ticket.
You can not enter or leave Belarus several times with the same ticket. If you plan to make trips to other countries and come back while the 2019 Games in Minsk are running, you will have to present a new ticket every time you enter Belarus.
Can I spend some days in Russia after the 2nd European Games? Can I enter via Belarus and leave via Russia?
Exit from Belarus, including transit through Russia, is carried out by a guest at their discretion, but no later than 10 July 2019.
IMPORTANT: Foreigners crossing the Russian border at entrance get migration cards (that they need to show as they leave); no such thing exists in Belarus. How do you get one if you enter via Belarus but exit via Russia? Tell the officers at the Belarusian border that you will exit via Russia and you need a migration card, the official representative of the State Border Committee of Belarus Anton Bychkovsky told BelarusFeed.
In case you haven’t requested a migration card at the border, changed your plans and decided to exit via Russia spontaneously, you can turn to a local office of Internal Affairs Ministry.
What if my country isn’t among 74 states on the visa-free list?
The citizens of the countries outside the 2nd European Games visa-free list can use a ticket the Games as the basis for obtaining a visa to Belarus.
Mind that in this case, you might also have to get a Russian transit visa.
On a final note
Remember these two things if you’re transiting to Belarus from Russia for the 2nd European Games:
❗Register your event ticket before you go;
❗Use ONLY the designated international border checkpoints (list at bottom of the page here) to cross by land.
Got more questions about 2nd European Games in Minsk? Let us know in the comments!