A visa-free regime will be in place for the official participants of the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship and foreign tourists for the period from 25 April until 31 May 2014: possessing a ticket to a match will qualify a foreigner to enter our country visa-free in the period of the championship. Will the city of Minsk be facing an inrush of tourists?
Ticket vs visa
Foreigners may have to pay a considerable amount of money for a visa to Belarus: for example, a citizen of the UK might give € 535 for urgent examination of their visa application. The price for a single-entry visa usually ranges from € 25 to 117 depending on an applicant’s home country. In addition, an applicant should be ready to take out insurance and provide all the documents needed. If there is no Belarusian consulate in a home country one stand the opportunity of getting a visa at Minsk-2 Airport (€ 90 – 350).
Thus, there is every likelihood that a lot of people would prefer buying a ticket for a hockey match to getting involved in paper chase in consulates. The cheapest tickets cost BYR 91,000 ($9.5). According to ticketpro.by, tickets for group stage games are still on offer at such price.
Hotels and Fan Village
CentreKurort, a company which belongs to the President’s Administration, is the official tour operator of the 2014 IHWC. Its website offers rooms in hotels and apartments (€ 60 to 2000 per night). But if one wants to save on accomodation they may well opt for economy class: to meet all the needs, Minsk authorities are going to lodge foreign tourists in a students’ village which is to be converted to a fan zone with 5034 beds. So, one can choose the Fan Village as a place of their stay ( € 25 and up).
At the moment a night stay at a hostel in Minsk costs € 10, which is comparable with prices in Vilnius or Tallinn during the low season. It is unknown whether the price will soar in May but € 25 per night is a usual price for lodging in hostels in Helsinki or Stockholm, not in Minsk.
According to the Belarusian law, every foreigner (apart from citizens of Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine and Russia) must register in the Foreign Ministry, divisions of citizenship and migration or a hotel within 5 days.
Foreign guests staying at hotels and the Fan Village should not bother, but those hiring flats or lodging at friends’ must go to an appropriate body and have a package of documents (passport, application, migration card, insurance, receipt for payment of the state duty) about them.
If an unregistered foreigner has spent more than 5 days in Belarus they might be be € 200 fined. Visiting most countries one is not obliged to register; that is why a lot of fans, remaining unaware of such procedure, are highly likely to neglect it.