Russia Approves E-Visa Applications For 53 Countries

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Russia’s State Duma has passed a first reading of legislation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs concerning the introduction of a single electronic visa. The ability to apply for a visa online without applicants having to visit a Consulate or Embassy is now available to citizens of 53 countries and from January 1st this practice will spread throughout Russia. The tourism industry is waiting for liberalization of the visa regime, hoping that this will give an impetus to the development of inbound tourism.

Russia has previously introduced simplified e-visas for visitors to St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad and the Far East. While Russia closed its borders and stopped issuing visas to foreigners in March due to the coronavirus, tourism officials hope the e-visa expansion will inject much-needed revenue to a sector hit hard by the pandemic.

Under the new regulations, citizens of 53 countries, including EU member states, China, Japan, India and Turkey, will be able to obtain 16-day, single-entry tourist visas online. Foreigners will be asked to apply on the Russian Foreign Ministry website for the visas, which will be issued no more than four days after applying and will be valid for 60 days after issuance. The visas will cost about $50 for adults and will be free for children aged 6 and under. British, American and Canadian nationals are expected to be excluded from the process at this stage.

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