There is little crime in Belarus but, you should be alert at all times to the possibility of mugging, pickpocketing and theft from vehicles or hotel rooms. Take extra care when travelling by train; there have been instances of theft from travellers, especially on sleeper trains to Warsaw and Moscow.
The Russian government has informed the UK government that there are no legal grounds to allow third country nationals, including British nationals, to cross between Belarus and Russia by road. If you’re planning on entering Russia by road, you’ll need to take an alternative route through a different country. The UK government isn’t aware of any difficulties encountered by British nationals when travelling between Belarus and Russia by air or rail, but you should make sure that you have all the necessary visas required for the duration of your travel.
You must have a valid International Driving Permit to drive legally in Belarus. You must be able to produce ownership documents or a letter of ‘power of attorney’ at border crossings. Only originals of these documents are accepted. You must have third party car insurance or you may get an on-the-spot fine. You can only buy this when entering Belarus. Ask at Customs’ border offices for further information.
Buses may require permits for picking up passengers in Belarus, or for transiting. These permits are free. Find out when a permit is required and how to get one.
Don’t overstay the temporary import terms for your vehicle. Violation of the exit deadline may result in confiscation of your vehicle at the Belarusian border or if stopped at an in-country police checkpoint.
There may be long queues at borders. Customs and immigration can be lengthy and bureaucratic. You should ignore any private facilitators who offer to help you pass through checkpoints and border crossings.
Drivers of foreign vehicles must pay a fee to use toll roads. There are fines for non-compliance. On 1 August 2013, an electronic toll collection system was introduced. Information about the system of toll roads can be found here, including a map of toll roads and guidance on payment.
The quality of driving in Belarus is erratic. A-class highways are in reasonable condition. The condition of B-class roads varies considerably and some are impassable for periods in winter. Road works and potholes are usually poorly marked. Pony and trap combinations are a specific hazard for drivers in rural unlit areas.
You should observe the speed limit at all times. The standard speed limit is 60 km/h (37 mph) in built up areas; 90 km/h (55 mph) outside built up areas; and 100 km/h (62 mph) on motorways (Brest-Moscow). Visiting motorists who have held a driving licence for under 2 years must not exceed 70 km/h (43 mph).
There is a zero-tolerance policy towards drink-driving.
There are police checkpoints on routes throughout the country. You should stop when instructed and have vehicle documentation to hand.
Some local airlines may not observe proper maintenance procedures. For your safety, where possible, you should fly directly to your destination on an international flight originating outside the former Soviet Union.
Belarus is governed by a strong Presidential system with security forces loyal to it. The authorities show little tolerance for their opposition counterparts. The security forces have used force to disperse or intimidate opposition events. Be vigilant and avoid any demonstrations or rallies.