I am a U.S. citizen living in Russia with a multi-entry student visa. I noticed that on my migration card it lists the Russian Federation as well as the Republic of Belarus. Do I need to get another visa if I want to visit Belarus, or is what I already have sufficient?

5 Answers 5


New Russia-Belarus visa agreement (2020-07-01)

As of 2020-07-01, you no longer need a separate visa, as Russia and Belarus recognise each others visas. See news articles from Belarus Feed, Belarusian Telegraph Agency, TASS, and intourist. See also this answer about crossing the Russia-Belarus border.

Warning as of 2020-07-07: another source in Russian, dated 2020-07-01, states it will take several more months until it actually takes force. These sources contradict each other. Either it's already in force, or it will be soon (and as of July 2020, the 2019-2021 Coronavirus Pandemic means few travellers should make the overland EU-Belarus-Russia trip anyway).

  • Great news! Glad to see Union State is back after some setbacks in the prior years!
    – cnst
    Jul 5, 2020 at 16:55

In short the answer is yes you do need a separate visa for Belarus. Your Russian Student Visa doesn't allow you to enter Belarus.

The reason that it has the names of both countries is because the form they use is exactly the same. From the US Embassy in Moscow:

Although Russia and Belarus use the same migration card, travelers should be aware that each country maintains its own visa regime. U.S. citizens wishing to travel to both nations must apply for two separate visas. A traveler entering Russia directly from Belarus is not required to obtain a new migration card, but at his or her option may do so if blank ones are available at the time of entry.

  • Not sure this answer is correct, as there is not supposed to be much passport control between Russia and Belarus, as per travel.stackexchange.com/questions/57094/…. Crossing between Belarus and Russia is alike crossing the Schengen states; although, technically, a US citizen might still require a visa for both countries!
    – cnst
    Oct 24, 2015 at 5:38
  • 1
    @cnst You were saying (Russian) Besides, the practice of "Document Check" may prove problematic even if you manage to cross the border without a visa.
    – Karlson
    Nov 4, 2015 at 22:41
  • Good find! How did you find it?!
    – cnst
    Nov 5, 2015 at 14:49

Yes you do need a VISA and for stays over one month you need an invitation from someone. I think that the frontier between Russia and Belarus is open for Belarusian and Russian citizens, but not for foreigners. Also, you need to register in Belarus within 5 working days of your arrival.


Definitely do need a Belarus visa even if there is no passport control between Russia and Belarus. Flights between Belarus and Russia are domestic with no passport control. Random document checks do happen by Belarusian authority on the train and airport as it happened to me once at the airport. Also, the police can stop you to check your documents. You don't want to be caught without a visa and it's not difficult to get a visa, too.


Similar to the Schengen Zone, Russia and Belarus do not have passport control between the two countries.

With that said, http://mfa.gov.by/en/visa/ doesn't appear to explicitly list any exception for travel from Russia, so, technically, you might still need to have a visa in case you're subject to a random check.


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