New Russia E-Visa From January 21, 2021 (U.S./UK/Canada Likely Excluded)

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Russia introduced a complimentary e-visa for St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad, and Vladivostok back in 2019 (read more here), and planned to introduce countrywide electronic visa from January 1, 2021 (read more here) to facilitate tourism sector.

Russia

The Russian Duma has now adopted a new bill that allows issuance of new Russia wide electronic visas starting on January 21, 2021, that are valid for a stay up to 16 nights.

Here’s what RAPSI wrote about this new law:

The State Duma adopted a bill on e-visa for foreigners in a final third reading on Tuesday, according to a statement of the parliament’s lower house.

Under the draft law, the electronic document will be arranged starting January 21, 2021 as a single entry visa for a term of up to 60 days with the allowed period of stay of up tp 16 days for foreign citizens included in the list approved by the Cabinet of Ministers. It is noted, that e-visa will be given to foreigners entering Russia for guest, business, tourist, educational, science, cultural, political, economical and sports purposes.

To arrange the document an applicant will be obliged to complete an application on a specialized website. The processing term is set as maximum 4 days from the application filing date.

The e-visa processing procedure is to be fixed by the government.

The Moscow Times reported in February that these new Russia-wide eVisa would be valid for a stay of up to 16 days.

Citizens of 53 countries will be able to apply for simplified, low-cost electronic visas to visit Russia starting next year, a senior official has said in an interview published Thursday.

The 16-day e-visas will go into effect Jan. 1, 2021, for citizens of the European Union and different countries in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.

U.S., British and Canadian passport holders are not yet eligible for Russian e-visas due to geopolitical friction, Deputy Foreign Minister Yevgeny Ivanov told the Kommersant business daily. He pointed to cases of Russian diplomats waiting up to two years to get visas to the U.S. as a particular grievance. …

President Vladimir Putin has promised to offer e-visas to foreign visitors starting in 2021 as he vies to collect $15.5 billion in annual tourism revenue by 2024. Tourists around the world have frequently cited difficulties with obtaining visas as a barrier to visiting Russia.

Here are the countries likely eligible for the service:

  1. Austria
  2. Andorra
  3. Bahrain
  4. Belgium
  5. Bulgaria
  6. China (including Taiwan)
  7. Croatia
  8. Cyprus
  9. The Czech Republic
  10. Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
  11. Denmark
  12. Estonia
  13. Finland
  14. France
  15. Germany
  16. Greece
  17. Hungary
  18. Iceland
  19. India
  20. Indonesia
  21. Iran
  22. Ireland
  23. Italy
  24. Japan
  25. Kuwait
  26. Latvia
  27. Lithuania
  28. Liechtenstein
  29. Luxembourg
  30. Malaysia
  31. Malta
  32. Mexico
  33. Monaco
  34. The Netherlands
  35. North Macedonia
  36. Norway
  37. Oman
  38. Philippines
  39. Poland
  40. Portugal
  41. Qatar
  42. Romania
  43. San Marino
  44. Saudi Arabia
  45. Serbia
  46. Singapore
  47. Slovakia
  48. Slovenia
  49. Spain
  50. Turkey
  51. Sweden
  52. Switzerland
  53. Vatican

Conclusion

Electronic visas are the way to go for countries that wish to jump-start their tourism sector while still having a visa requirement in place.

Having to apply for a traditional visa through a consulate/embassy OR via an agent is usually a hassle, may take some time, and can be expensive.

I traveled to St. Petersburg and Moscow in 2018 just before World Cup using a FAN ID, which required a match ticket purchase (purchased one for a random match).

You have to keep in mind that it is unclear when Russia will reopen for international arrivals.

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