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Introduction of E-Visas in Russia

Russia’s State Duma passed legislation allowing foreigners to visit the country with an electronic visa, thus avoiding in-person visa application. Under the new regulations, electronic visas will be granted for a term of up to 60 days with the allowed period of stay of up to 16 days.

According to the explanatory note, the law “aims to introduce a universal single-entry electronic visa for short-term stay of foreign citizens in the Russian Federation for tourist, business and humanitarian purposes, from 1 January 2021 onwards.”

An electronic visa, or e-visa, is not a completely new visa format for Russia. Since 2017, nationals of 18 foreign states have been able to obtain single-entry e-visas to visit Russia’s Far East. In 2019, the e-visa covering was expanded St. Petersburg and its surrounding region (Leningrad Oblast) and Russia’s Western exclave of Kaliningrad.

E-visas are going to be introduced for entry to each region of Russia. The government has approved the list of countries whose citizens are eligible to use electronic visas from 2021. It consists of total 52 countries and includes China, South Korea, Japan, EU countries and non-EU Schengen states, Turkey and many others. The UK, Canada and the US are not included in the list yet.

An electronic visa does not require an invitation and is issued free of charge. Its processing will take no more than four calendar days. The single-entry e-visa is valid for up to 60 days following a successful application. However, the duration of the stay must not exceed 16 days. Such a visa can be applied for on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs online portal or via a special mobile application.

It was assumed that e-visas would be issued starting from 1 January 2021, but at the moment the issuance has been put on hold until a special order of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. According to the Press Office of the Ministry’s Consular Department, such measures are due to the coronavirus disease threat.

Would you like to know more about the new e-visas? Contact us at GLS Private Office, and our experts will provide you with the all the necessary information and assist you in preparing the required documents to apply for e-visa once it becomes possible.

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