You can get banned from foreign travel within one day

The European Radio for Belarus has found out who may get on the foreign travel ban list and whether young university graduates that refund money for their education to avoid mandatory assignments are under threat.

The information about how many people in Belarus are banned from crossing the border is classified. Officials decline to reveal even the approximate number in this database.

“This database is updated daily. Nobody will tell you how many people are in there. This information is classified,” said Lidzia Ivanchykava, the head of Department for Citizenship and Migration.

Her deputy Alyaksei Byahun has also declined an answer.

Officials promise that the new database will be updated fast. If someone is removed from the ban list, he or she will be allowed to travel one day after.

Ivanchykava: “Information gets in immediately within one day. As soon as a decision is made to lift travel restrictions, information is automatically fed from our database to the Border Control Committee and all the crossing points”.

So, who can get on this travel ban list?

Ivanchykava: “Persons who face criminal proceedings; those convicted for crime; penalized people who avoid their obligations imposed by court, etc. The government body which files travel restrictions for a person shall always notify this person about the measure”.

It is still unclear whether the students on mandatory assignments who have to refund the money for their education through court get on this list. Most likely, it is so.

Ivanchykava: “If an organization where a young professional had to arrive for job assignment turns to court and the latter has ruled to refund the money and restrict the student from traveling, we will execute the court’s ruling. Such a decision will always be communicated to this person.”

Presently, passport controls at the border does not take a lot of time. Officials say that checking every passenger at the new database will also be a quick business.

Ivanchykava: “It will not take more than one hour. Computer will scan a certain area in your passport. If you are “clean”, you are free to go”.

The Department for Citizenship and Migration does not know yet how soon the Russian border guards will obtain the Belarusian database of travel restricted citizens. Officials hope it will be done by the end of this year.

Ivanchykava: “We have an open border with the Russian Federation. Everybody knows that many people travel through Russia quietly because there is no border controls. The Russians, of course, are informed about our “valid for foreign travel” stamps and they check the expiration term. In the future, after Russia ratifies this agreement, we plan to pass this database over to them. We will have all the issues sorted out by the end of the year”.