-3

While it's fairly easy to search for the laws and customs of different countries just using Google and Wikipedia, it's not so easy to find specific, obscure requirements that visitors may have to comply with upon entry — beyond simply acquiring the proper visa.

Case in point: Belarus

I almost found myself in a really bad situation as I came to Belarus last week, having no idea about the required medical insurance and home registration.

Luckily my host mentioned it at the last moment and I took care of it with her help.

Proof of Belarus Requirements

Note: these pages did not appear in my Google search results for "requirements to visit Belarus"

Also notice that these two pages aren’t even connected. Even if you found the first page, you’d still have no idea of the second.

The state makes no effort to make these requirements obvious, and the airport mentioned nothing at all, despite checking my passport for visa free eligibility.

So: what else could I have done to be better informed?

Additional note: This is more of an issue for couchsurfers and Airbnb guests because hotels in Belarus seem to do this registration for their guests. But as the sharing economy continues to rise, this type of problem will become more prevalent. Unless your host has informed you of these obscure requirements, you’re in the dark. The airport isn’t telling you. No paperwork will be handed to you on the airplane.


In case it helps anyone: I've posted additional details about Belarus as well as scans of my actual documents, for reference, at http://carlosaugusto.net/belarus-and-its-twilight-zone-at-the-minsk-airport

  • 3
    Do you actually want a list of special requirements, or is this just a pretext for posting a lengthy rant about Belarus border control? – user67901 Feb 10 '18 at 0:36
  • 1
    I can see the value of a list of special requirements, even if it might be difficult to compile and maintain. A call to the local embassy for <destination country> should provide the information for any serious traveller. I don't see what that has to do with the capitalised ranting about the lack of border guards at the airport or the disparaging remarks you make about the officials you did encounter. I'm voting to close because this is a rant. – user67901 Feb 10 '18 at 0:54
  • 3
    Note that in just about every country on the planet, you are responsible for complying with customs and immigration laws, including obtaining a visa/entry clearance/whatever-they-call-it-there if applicable, regardless of whether or not there is a passport checkpoint. The checkpoints are only at the airport for reasons of security and convenience. If the checkpoint is absent or unstaffed, you still have to find an immigration official and submit to whatever formalities the law requires. If you don't know how to do that, the consular officials in your country's local consulate probably do. – Kevin Feb 10 '18 at 2:50
  • 2
    Your idea of a travel wiki to collect such information is a good one. However travel.StackExchange has a particular format, and that is not it (nor is cut-n-paste from other sources). Immigration officials do web searches and you really don't want your name connected with stuff like that. It's utterly reasonable to refuse someone entry who openly speaks against your country. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Feb 10 '18 at 9:13
  • 1
    The information you should have gotten yourself is right on the pages of the Belarus embassy in Brazil. As a traveller, it is your responsibility to check these things before your departure. What would have happened if the requirements had changed, you are now required to apply for a visa but trusted all the outdated information on the internet? – Jan Feb 10 '18 at 11:10
0

The comments (thanks @Jan and @Kevin) under the question provide the correct answer:

Note that in just about every country on the planet, you are responsible for complying with customs and immigration laws, including obtaining a visa/entry clearance/whatever-they-call-it-there if applicable, regardless of whether or not there is a passport checkpoint.

The checkpoints are only at the airport for reasons of security and convenience. If the checkpoint is absent or unstaffed, you still have to find an immigration official and submit to whatever formalities the law requires.

The information about Belarus is on the pages of the Belarus embassy in Brazil, for example.

Since this information is not easily found through a Google search and, as a traveller, it is your responsibility to check these things before your departure, in order to reliably get the most up to date information you should directly contact a representative of the embassy for any country you plan on visiting.

  • 1
    Right... People think a cursory search on Google will bring them all pertinent knowledge. I call this swiss cheese knowledge. We see it all the time on diy.se, people rewire their house this way: they find a page on MWBCs and get its complex connections picture perfect... but use the wrong wire and splice badly because it didn't even occur to them to ask about that. It's frustrating because they're plenty smart enough to get it right, they just didn't....... know... – Harper - Reinstate Monica Feb 10 '18 at 18:19
  • @Harper So true. Hopefully this question can be reopened now and exist as a small beacon of light to help more people understand this, as it helped me. – solrac Feb 10 '18 at 20:15
  • You can post good content, but you can't make people search. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Feb 11 '18 at 0:07
  • @Harper Invariably some people will search and either find or stumble upon information like this ... and the world will slowly become a better place. Only because of the Internet. Hope this question can be reopened. – solrac Feb 11 '18 at 11:55
  • the data is also on your blog, so totally available. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Feb 11 '18 at 17:46

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.