Belarus has restricted the ability of its inhabitants to leave the country through land borders, allowing only holders of permanent residence permits in a foreign country, with the opposition denouncing a “complete violation” of the law.
In a Telegram post today, the Belarusian Border Guard Service stated that only “citizens holding a document confirming their permanent residence permit in a foreign country” have the right to leave Belarus.
At the same time, the service clarified that “the temporary residence permit (…) does not constitute a reason for traveling abroad”.
Belarus imposed restrictions on travel abroad in December 2020, formally as part of measures against the coronavirus pandemic. In any case, leaving the country by road is possible only every six months.
“The Lukashenko regime has severely restricted the right of Belarusians to travel, claiming that there are no specific reasons for them to leave Belarus,” said Valery Kovalevsky, a foreign policy adviser to Svetlana Tikhanovskaya.
“However, the Constitution does not provide for any conditions,” he added, denouncing “a complete violation of the law.”
Air travel remains free, but destinations have been restricted since the European Union shut down Belarus' airspace in response to the arrest of dissident Belarusian journalist Roman Protashevich at Minsk airport following a forced landing. .
Dozens of Belarusians have fled the country in recent months, sometimes crossing the border illegally, to escape the bloody wave of repression following the controversial re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko in August 2020.
Neighboring Lithuania was one of the countries that assisted these refugees, granting them six-month travel visas, thus allowing them to regulate their legal status in that country.