Dual Nationality and Travel to Belarus
Persons in Belarus are subject to Belarusian laws and procedures. Persons who are citizens of both the United States and Belarus should be aware that, while U.S. immigration law requires Americans to use U.S. passports when entering or leaving the United States, Belarusian law likewise requires Belarusian citizens to use Belarusian passports to enter and depart Belarus.
There have been several instances in which U.S. citizens who also have Belarusian citizenship have entered Belarus using their Belarusian passports, but then could not leave as planned because their Belarusian passports had expired during their stay in Belarus, or because they lost their Belarusian passports. This has also occurred with children entering Belarus using a “Certificate of Return” issued by a Belarusian Embassy or Consulate abroad. Since these travelers entered Belarus using Belarusian passports, they must also use Belarusian passports when they depart. Additionally, males of conscript age (18 – 27 years old) who are deemed to be Belarusian citizens may experience difficulties departing Belarus if they have not satisfied their military service requirement.
It may take weeks or even months to obtain a new Belarusian passport. Lengthy delays may arise because all U.S. issued documents (such as a birth or marriage certificates) submitted in support of a Belarusian passport application must carry an Apostille issued by the Secretary of State in the U.S. state where the document was issued. Because both the U.S. and Belarus are signatories of the Hague Apostille Convention, the Government of Belarus cannot accept U.S. issued documents without an Apostille. Dual citizens who plan to enter Belarus using their Belarusian passports should make sure their Belarusian passports will be valid for their entire stay in Belarus and be certain to carry Apostilled copies of any U.S. issued birth or marriage certificates that might be required if the passport is lost or stolen.