Russia is considering two moves set to make the process of obtaining a visa to the country since 2021 considerably easier than now. The e-visa is planned to be extended to the whole territory of Russia with the extension of its valid period to 16 days. Another idea is to grant half-a-year visas on the basis of a confirmed invitation from a hotel.
E-Visas To Allow To Visit Any Russian Region
The e-visa mechanism is very simple: you fill in an application, attach your photo and click «send». All online. In four days, you have your visa. The only things you must do are:
— to be correct when writing in your details;
— to be an eligible passport holder.
E-visas were first implemented in the Russian Far East’ Primorye region and the Kaliningrad region, with St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region following in October 2019. While not everyone was able to cross borders with the help of an e-visa, it has already brought more than 105,000 travelers to St. Petersburg.
The mechanism is planned to be expanded for the whole Russian territory, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Yevgeny Ivanov told in an interview with the Kommersant business paper in early February. There were four important points in his speech:
— the duration of the e-visa will be 16 days;
— eligible nationalities will be the same 53, which are now valid for the experiment regions;
— an e-visa is going to cost $50;
— it’s planned to come into effect as of January 1, 2021.
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Simplification Of Obtaining Traditional Visa
Citizens of many countries, including U. S. and UK nationalities, which are rather important markets for the Russian incoming tourist market, are not on the list of those eligible for e-visas. There are many reasons for it as Forbes observer James Rodgers pointed out in his column.
There is good news for them too. The Foreign Ministry is working on the relaxation of the visa policy, the Izvestia newspaper wrote.
The idea looks promising:
— you will be able to get a visa if you have just a confirmed booking from a hotel, which takes less than a minute;
— the visa will be valid for up to six months;
— new rules will be applied to all the nationalities, except those which are eligible for visa-free entry. Thus, those who have a right to an e-visa will have a choice.
To get a Russian visa now you need to have an invitation letter from a Russian side, a travel agency, which sometimes may involve complicated and lengthy communication and be costly. And you can rely on a rather short-lived stay only, up to 30 days. That’s enough for even a railway trip along the Transsiberian route, but doesn’t suggest the possibility for a quick return to Russia in case you liked it. And you’re going to like it.
Important note: an inviting hotel must possess a certificate in accordance with the Russian hospitality system ranging hotels by stars from ★ to ★★★★★. The system has been in place for a few years, but many accommodation facilities have not still got their stars yet as find it unnecessary and even absolutely useless.
It’s still unclear when the new rules will be enforced. The Foreign Ministry will send a draft of a law to the State Duma (the Lower Chamber of the Russian Parliament) in 2020, so the rest depends on the speed of deputies’ work. As the Izvestia reported, leading parliament parties expressed their readiness to support the idea, so it will hopefully get fast through the bureaucratic process.
Read also our basic post about the main types of the Russian visa.