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Legal Matters

Two things are almost guaranteed to get you in trouble in tightly controlled Belarus:

  • openly protesting against the government or supporting opposition groups
  • openly admitting you're a journalist.

Expect to be deported, or worse, for either.

Police take quality-of-life infractions such as jaywalking or public alcohol consumption seriously. Should you be cited, police will issue a ticket for about BYN25 that you can pay in most banks.

Make sure you keep your hotel registration slips with you at all times. Not only might you need it upon exit (or possibly face a stiff fine), but if you do happen to get in trouble while in Belarus, authorities may want to see these. Don't overstay your 30 days or you'll face similar difficulties.

If you're driving, be aware that speed cameras are common in cities and on major highways, and will nab you for going just a few kilometres per hour over the speed limit.

Drug penalties are much harsher in Belarus than elsewhere in Europe. We don't recommend bringing illegal drugs in, and that includes marijuana, possession of which is punishable by eight to 10 years in prison.

Lastly, it is illegal for foreigners to enter Russia overland from Belarus.

Should you land in jail, download the handy Belarus Prisoner Pack (www.gov.uk/government/publications/belarus-prisoner-pack) from the UK government website.