The Russian State Duma adopted the first draft of the law on a single electronic visa. From January 1, 2021, citizens of 53 countries will be able to apply for a Russian e-visa online. At the same time, the Russian Foreign Ministry reports that later electronic visas will become multiple and tourist visas will be issued for several years.
The pilot project to introduce electronic visas has been implemented since 2017. It allowed citizens of 53 states to enter the territory of the Far Eastern Federal District (Vladivostok). From July 1, 2019, e-visas were introduced in Kaliningrad Region, and from October 1, 2019 – in St. Petersburg and Leningrad region.
These three separate electronic visas — each for one of the Russian regions — will continue to exist until the end of this year, but from January 1, 2021, they will be replaced by a single electronic visa, which will be valid for the entire territory of Russia.
The law says that a tourist will receive an e-visa no later than four days after application on the website of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The e-visa will allow travelling to Russia over the next 60 days. The duration of the trip cannot exceed 16 days.
The representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs specified that in the future the electronic visa might become multiple. Since the end of last year, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been proactively working on a bill that provides for the possibility to issue multiple travel permits to all foreigners for up to six months and only confirmation of hotel/cruise reservation for the first trip is required. “We see no obstacles to the fact that now the validity period of such a visa is extended even to one year. As for the possibility of obtaining tourist visas valid for up to five years in the future, the Foreign Ministry also has no fundamental objections”, Mr. Ivanov said.
The consular fee is to be increased up $ 50 not to reduce the federal budget revenues from issuing visas. Children under six years old will receive an e-visa free of charge.
The costs of obtaining an electronic visa are not significant in the structure of the total expenses of a tourist during a trip to Russia, the Foreign Ministry believes. The average budget for a trip to Russia is about $ 2000, the share of accommodation is about 23%, international transportation is 24%, food is 19%, and domestic transportation is 9%.
The list of countries that will be able to use an electronic visa will be approved by the Russian government. Now, citizens of 53 countries can enter by electronic visa to the pilot project areas — the Far Eastern Federal District, Kaliningrad Region, St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region. This list includes members of the European Union, China, Japan, India, Turkey and other countries.
Now, on the basis of international treaties concluded with foreign states, a visa-free regime of entry into Russia is valid for citizens of 60 foreign states. Thus, from January 2021, citizens of 113 states will be able to enter Russia without the need to issue a paper visa in a passport.