Your travel can be disrupted without explanations

The European Radio for Belarus has learned that those on the black list can still leave Belarus through Russia. The Russian border guards have stopped checking the “valid for foreign travel” permissive stamp in Belarus passports, but have not received the list of Belarusians restricted from leaving this country.

The number of travelers to Poland has dropped greatly in the first days of the new year. ERB correspondent Alyaksei Murlanau in Brest says just some 30 cars could be seen at the Warsaw Bridge crossing point this week compared to 150-200 daily last year.

People in the queue discuss both the new cost of Schengen visas and the possibility that they could be denied exit by Belarusian border guards if a person is on the so called restricted travel black list.

An operations officer at the Bruzgi crossing point told the European Radio for Belarus that a black-listed passenger is simply returned back home and told where to seek explanations. It makes no sense to try to get this information from border guards, because they don’t have it. The press office of the Border Control Committee told our radio that they were not interested in knowing why a person is not allowed to leave the country.

A Border Control Committee spokesman said: “Why should we know it?” These lists are compiled by the Interior Ministry and then forwarded to us. We don’t care to know whether this person is charged with tax or aliment evasion or anything else. This kind of information is unnecessary to us”.

Alyaksei Byagun, a deputy chief of Citizenship and Migration Department at the Interior Ministry of Belarus, told the European Radio for Belarus that any person facing criminal charges is automatically entered into this black list. The database is updated daily.

Not only a criminal case can become a reason why someone can be restricted from traveling abroad. Even those young professionals who have dodged mandatory assignments and have not refunded to the state for their education will also appear in this database after a corresponding court ruling.

Border guards used to have the lists of people restricted from leaving the country before. But those lists were updated several times a year. It meant that if someone was issued a permissive stamp in the passport and was investigated on criminal charges several months later, has a realistic chance of crossing the border.

Now, the list is updated daily, making it almost impossible to fool the authorities. The European Radio for Belarus has learned that the Russian route still remains open. Although Belarus announced earlier that it would pass this database to the Russian border guards, it has not been done yet.

A border control officer at the Domodedovo International Airport in Moscow said: “We have not received such lists. We don’t have them.

The European Radio for Belarus has also learned that at least 27 Belarus nationals were not allowed to leave the country through crossing points at the border with Poland. Those people were simply not aware that they had been put on the black list. In order to find out whether you are on the list or not, you have to file a request with the Citizenship and Migration Department and wait for an answer within one month. It turns out that if you want to travel to Poland, do it through Russia. At least, for now.