Once you sign an employment agreement, you can buy tickets and come to Belarus to work. The process of relocation in this country is much simpler than in other European countries, not to mention the US and Australia.
Many large IT companies in Belarus offer free relocation packages for staff and their families. Those packages may include all or some of the following:
- Giving visa support.
- Getting a work/residence permit.
- Providing an advance payment for the first days in Belarus.
- Providing health insurance.
- Opening a Belarusian bank account.
- Assisting with the rental agreement, including a partial refund of rental costs in the amount of a fixed sum (usually $350 or BYN 800).
The process of relocation to Belarus for IT specialists is straightforward and can take 2 to 4 weeks, all the arrangements and paperwork considered. It normally includes applying for a residence permit, finding a rental apartment, and other formalities.
1. Obtaining a visa (if applicable)
Citizens of the CIS countries (Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan) can enter Belarus with no visa and stay in the country up to 90 days.
The same rule applies to the citizens of Argentina, Brazil, Israel, Macedonia (with an invitation or a tourist voucher), Mongolia, and Venezuela.
Citizens of the following countries can stay in Belarus with no visa up to 30 days: Cuba, Ecuador, Macau, Montenegro, Qatar, Serbia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.
Additionally, the 30-days visa-free regime also applies to the citizens of 74 countries provided they arrive through the port of entry in the Minsk airport.
Others need to apply for a visa at a Belarusian embassy in their country of residence. The required documents usually include a passport, travel health insurance (for at least €10,000), accommodation and tickets proof, and proof of money (about €24 per day or €613 for 30 days). The ultimate list may be different depending on the country of your citizenship.
2. Finding a place to live
The first thing you should do after arriving in Belarus is finding a place to live. Rental demand in Minsk is usually high, so allow 2 to 3 weeks to hunt for an apartment. Keep in mind that rental rates tend to rise at the end of summer due to the higher demand from students who come to the city before the beginning of the academic year.
You can find temporary accommodation on Airbnb, Booking.com or similar websites before you arrive in Belarus.
A permanent home can be found on one of the real estate websites:
It’s hard to rent an apartment without a broker as almost all listings on the Internet are posted by real estate agencies. The broker’s fees are equal to one-month rent. It’s also hard to rent an apartment with a pet even if you own a well-behaving cat with trimmed claws.
To rent an apartment in Belarus, you will need just a passport.
3. Obtaining a temporary residence permit
First of all, you need to know that Belarus is home to Hi-Tech Park (HTP). It’s an economic zone that allows IT companies to run their business on special terms. You can check the resident companies on the Hi-Tech Park website.
If you’re going to work for a non-HTP company, you may need to obtain a work permit allowing you to be employed in Belarus. Your employer will be responsible for obtaining this permit. You don’t need any work permit if you’re hired by an HTP-based company or if you’re a citizen of Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan or Russia, or if you’re a high-skilled worker with work experience exceeding 5 years and a minimum monthly salary of BYN 5,625 (USD 2,430).
Another benefit of working for an HTP-based company is that your income tax will be just 9% instead of the regular 13%.
Regardless of the citizenship, all foreigners need to get a temporary residence permit (разрешение на временное проживание (РВП) in Russian or дазвол на часовае знаходжанне in Belarusian) to live in Belarus for more than 90 days. You can apply during the first week of your stay in Belarus.
You can get a temporary residence permit based on the ground of employment in Belarus, and your spouse and dependent children can obtain this permit on the ground of family reunification.
You need to apply for a temporary residence permit at the Department for Citizenship and Migration (Управление по гражданству и миграции, УГиМ) in the city district where you live. Here are the addresses of its offices in Minsk districts:
- Frunzenski: Lidskaja 10
- Kastrychnitski (Oktyabrsky): Kazintsa 60
- Leninski: Igumenskiy Trakt 32
- Maskouski: Rafijeva 44
- Partyzanski: Vaŭpšasava 26
- Pershamayski: Bialinskaha 10
- Savetski: Viery Charužaj 3
- Tsentralny: Timiryazeva 114
- Zavodski: Ubareviča 42
You will need to provide the following documents:
- Application form (provided by the Department for Citizenship and Migration).
- Passport. If the document is not in Russian, you need to get it translated into Russian and attach a notarized copy.
- Certificate of insurance.
- Employment contract.
- Marriage certificate, if you’re relocating with a spouse.
- Birth certificates, if you’re relocating with children.
- Rental agreement registered in a housing maintenance service (ЖЭС in Russian).
- Salary certificate from your Belarusian employer.
- Copies of all documents.
- Cover folder for the documents.
- Receipt of paying a state fee of BYN 81 (≈ $30). To pay the state fee, you need to go to a local bank and ask a clerk to help you pay the state fee for the temporary residence permit. You can get the bank details for the payment from your employer or in the Department for Citizenship and Migration.
The temporary residence permit is issued within 14 days.
The temporary residence permit is valid for the period of your residing in the country, but no longer than 1 year. After that, you can renew this document at the Department for Citizenship and Migration for another year. If you change the place of residence, you will need to re-register with the local office of the Department. Note that you should apply for renewal of your permit at least 15 days before it expires. Otherwise, you'll have to pay a fine.
After 7 years of residing in Belarus, you can apply for a permanent residence permit (разрешение на постоянное проживание, РПП). You can apply for this permit earlier if you can prove that you’re an employee who is greatly needed by a Belarusian organization.
4. Getting a Belarusian phone number
To live and work in Belarus, you may also need a Belarusian phone number and Internet. You can buy a SIM card in one of the mobile providers’ stores in shopping malls. You will need to show your passport. The largest mobile providers in Belarus are A1, life:), and MTS. They usually offer just one call plan for non-residents, and terms and services may be different depending on the mobile provider.
5. Opening a Belarusian bank account
To get your salary in Belarus, you need to have a bank account in the country. Many other payments may also require an account in a local bank. To open it, you need to provide your passport with notarized translations into Russian or Belarusian (if your passport is in another language).
The major Belarusian banks include the following:
You can open a bank account within several minutes and get a debit or credit card within a week.