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Land

You'll need a visa if you plan to arrive overland. Note that entering or leaving overland via Russia is illegal.

Common overland routes include bus or train to Minsk from Vilnius or Warsaw; train or bus from Kyiv to Minsk or Homel; bus or train to Brest from Warsaw; bus or train to Hrodna from Bialystok, Poland; bus to Hrodna from Lithuania (Druskinakai).

Border Crossings

Belarus has 27 border crossings with Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania and Latvia, of which less than half can be used by foreigners.

Queues can plague any overland border crossing, but they are usually not too bad and the logistics are generally hassle-free provided your papers are in order.

Practical Tip: Warning: Transiting Through Russia

  • Via Air: Flying via Moscow when departing or arriving in Minsk will require a Russian transit visa; you will not be allowed to board your flight without one. To avoid the hassle, we recommend choosing flights that do not transit Russia.

  • Via Land: Because Belarus and Russia have open land borders, it is not legal to enter or depart Belarus via land borders with Russia – even if you have valid Russian and Belarusian visas. The open borders mean that you can't get your visas stamped. As tempting as it might be to duck into Russia over those open borders for a few hours or even a few days, we strongly advise against this as it could land you in jail in Russia. However, this rule could soon change as Russia and Belarus move toward passing an agreement on mutual visa recognition.

Bus

Bus travel is a common and fast way to enter Belarus. Immigration and customs control will normally come aboard the bus and check all passengers, and you may be asked to get off for luggage searches.

The most frequently used international bus services are the quick four-hour trip between Vilnius and Minsk (several daily) and the Ecolines buses from Warsaw to Minsk and Brest (three daily).

Car & Motorcycle

  • You can drive your own car or motorcycle into Belarus via legal border crossings (see http://gpk.gov.by/en/maps for the list). Make sure your vehicle insurance and other documents are in order.
  • Foreign-registered cars (not motorcycles) are subject to stiff tolls on major Belarusian highways. Study up on the system and pre-purchase your electronic payment device at http://beltoll.by/index.php/en.

Train

When crossing the Belarusian border by train, officials will generally come aboard for all immigration and customs procedures.

From Minsk there are train services to Ukraine, Lithuania, Poland and Moldova, plus connections to the rest of Europe via Brest. Homel is convenient for Ukraine, and Hrodna and Brest have several connections to Poland.