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Northern Asia Topics specific to Russia, Central Asia (also known as "the 'stans"), Mongolia, Japan and Korea
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  #1  
Old 28 Oct 2006
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belarus from poland

I am going to belarus for a couple of weeks soon and am intending to cross from poland near warsaw. has anyone tried this. any suggestions or potential pitfalls that you might know of?
cheers in advance
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  #2  
Old 29 Oct 2006
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no pitfalls

Nothing unusual if you ever visited countries of former Soviet Union. Although I wasn't in Belarus, I know the procedure from those other countries and just consulted my knowledge with a friend that entered Belarus two months ago through the Terespol-Brest border crossing that you are probably going to take.
Fortunately, Belarus accepts Green Cards so there is one document less to prepare at the border unless your insurance company limits Card's validity. Make sure that yours is valid in Belarus. Otherwise, buy an insurance right before the border, there must be some office selling them. In Russian it's called strakhovka.
At the border you will have to fill in a migration card and a custom declaration form. As far as my friend remembers, these are all documents needed and a custom officer will use your custom declaration to prepare a temporary import document "vremiennyi vvoz". Needless to say you have to keep all of them and present when leaving Belarus. The custom declaration has to be filled in in two copies and one is kept.
Make sure you change money before the border to pay (not much) for the paperwork and that you have a pen ready. It's good to change more money, my friend did not see exchange offices on the other side of the border. He also mentioned that there was no queue early in the morning but it built up quickly later.
If anything is unclear or you need more information, please ask.

BTW, you'd better hurry up or you may face snow in Poland or Belarus. Nights are already below freezing point.

Good luck,
Kris
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  #3  
Old 2 Nov 2006
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Thanks Kris, that doesn't sound too bad. I've done russia and Ukraine borders before without a translator and no knowledge of russian, this time I will have a Belarussan with me so it should be easy!!! When you say change money before the border, is that russian rubbles? is that on the Polish side? do you know if can you change sterling or would I first have to change to euros and then to sterling?
snow just makes it more interesting!! I've acked my chains!!

cheers
Andy
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  #4  
Old 4 Nov 2006
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exchange info

Belarussian rubles, they have their own. Yes, you can change money on the Polish side, should be right before the border. Sterlings are uncommon in Poland despite so many Poles working in UK. Even if you could change them in a given office (unlikely) you'd get a bad exchange rate. So take euros with you or even better dollars that are more popular east of Poland. My friend said that dollars were accepted even as a payment for highways in Belarus. You will have rubles with you but it never hurts to have a safety pack of dollars as well...

Enjoy the (snowy?) trip,
Kris
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  #5  
Old 4 Nov 2006
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thanks again, heard from my belarus friend that the first snows have fallen wheee!! scuse my childishness but we don't see much of it here in portsmouth!!

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  #6  
Old 9 Dec 2006
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well, I'm back again after a wee little 31/2 week trip. no snow alas.

the border was relatively straightforward, but only 'cos my friend met me in poland and translated for me, would have been quite a challenge otherwise. one tip is you must register for health insurance once you get in to the country, but if you are british this is free, which is rather generous!

getting into belarus took about 2 hours. getting out was a different matter. it was friday which probably didn't help, but over 8 hours. I declined the offer of 100euros to get me through quicker!!

don't forget to get your vehicle taken off thecomputer on the way out.
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  #7  
Old 16 Feb 2007
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Hey Andy (Moggy?), did they (Belorussians) ask for an international drivers license? Translated copies of bike docs? Did you need/have a visa?
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  #8  
Old 17 Feb 2007
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Hi Earthbm,

when I went through I took an international drivers permit (valid for a year) that was issued by the RAC, as I couldn't wait for a UK type photo licence to be issued.

I'd obtained a visa from the embassy in London.

All vehicle docs were colour photocopies, on good quality, heavyweight paper (with the originals kept locked up for safe keeping).

All docs were inspected and accepted.

NOTE there was an interesting scam near the border where we were offered a secure convoy (as a protection service), for a fee of 200USD. I refused, so the armed/uniformed guard walked away and returned with another uniformed person who again offered the service. I refused and was told that 'there were bandits in the area'. I told them that the only bandits were those talking to me! Needless to say they left us alone and took their fees from other motorists. So we trundled slowly off, to be overtaken by a small group of cars (headed & tailed by escorts). Then about two miles down the road, in darkness, the scammers turned off down dirt tracks and left the escortees on their own, each 200USD's lighter!!!!
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  #9  
Old 18 Feb 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdmystko View Post
My friend said that dollars were accepted even as a payment for highways in Belarus. You will have rubles with you but it never hurts to have a safety pack of dollars as well...
Kris
When I was in Belarus (becouse I am a stranger) I had to pay for highways (1 $) only with foreign currency, despite that I had belarus rubbles. On belarus border near Grodno you have bank for change the money. I met many belarus biker and they told me that in Belarus never exist road banditism as for example in Ukraine or Russia.
If someone want to contact lokal bikers I can suggest member of Rolling Anarchy Motorcycle Club
They are all very kindly person.
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  #10  
Old 22 Feb 2007
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even the locals have to pay the motorway tolls in dollars or euros!! it's bizzare but probably due to instability of belarussan rubbles.
I didn't have an international driving permit, just a photo driving licence. no problem at the border, but when the rozzers pulled me for speeding they told me I should have a version in a language they could read (i.e. an international permit) but $10 later I was on my way, lot's of dire warnings about if they reported me I would have my licence temporarily confiscated and I would never get a visa again, but that's all just hot air to scare you into giving them more money!!

I didn't have translated docs, just copies of my UK ones. you have to fill out a temporary import permit but they very kindly have a translated example at the border! a small dictionary may come in handy though.

definately try learning the cyrillic alphabet before you go, if only to make using the dictionary easier!!

I did need a visa, and you need a letter of introduction. I used an agent who did this for me. not the cheapest option, but a lot less aggro. the main problem if you go a lot is that you can't get a multiple entry visa unless you get a business visa.
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  #11  
Old 26 Feb 2007
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Thanks for the info! Am planning to go in May... Кирриллица isn't a problem
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  #12  
Old 26 Feb 2007
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On the topic of US$ or Euros being required instead of local currency -
In Russia many prices are generally spoken of, or even displayed, in US$ yet you cannot pay with them.
Even airlines do this.
They prefer to use their own in-house conversion rates (far from the keenest around!) to turn their own advertised prices into Roubles. The Credit Card companies then have their own exchange rates to convert back to your home currency. At that point you realise you are often paying far more than the original display or quoted price was in $s.

$s are, however, very acceptable bribes (sorry, fines) payable to the roadside traffic police. Oddly they do not have receipt books in dollars so cannot issue them.
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  #13  
Old 1 Mar 2007
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Red face

$s are, however, very acceptable bribes (sorry, fines) payable to the roadside traffic police. Oddly they do not have receipt books in dollars so cannot issue them.[/QUOTE]

hmmnn, strange, I noticed that for euros too!!!

the belarussans are much keener on dollars than euros, the russians are not so.

Andy
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