Getting a physical visa to Russia often serves as a significant enough barrier to visiting our country. Now the government has approved a bill introducing Russian electronic visas! In our opinion, this is one of the most important tools for increasing the entry flow to Russia.

The bill will be introduced on January 1, 2021.

✅ Electronic visa is a separate category of visas along with diplomatic, official, ordinary, transit visas and visas of temporary residents.

✅ It is assumed that it will be issued as a single entry for a period of up to 60 calendar days with an authorized period of stay on it in the Russian Federation up to 16 days. This is twice as much as you can be in Russia on an electronic visa now. “An application for a single electronic visa is submitted by a foreign citizen no later than four calendar days before the expected date of entry into the Russian Federation,” the document reads.

✅ A visa is issued to foreigners entering Russia “on a guest or business visit, as tourists, to participate in scientific, cultural, socio-political, economic and sports events,” the explanatory note to the bill notes.

✅ As ATOR notes today, “The bill states that a single electronic visa is issued to citizens of foreign countries,“ a list of which is determined by the Government of the Russian Federation. ”

✅ Apparently, experts believe that the initial list will be focused on the St. Petersburg version of the list of 53 countries. (the list will be approved no later than September 1, 2020). First, the government will determine a list of a limited number of checkpoints through which foreign citizens can enter via electronic visa.

✅ A single electronic visa will be issued upon application from a foreign citizen, filled out on a “specialized website on the Internet.” Here, since the Foreign Ministry website is not directly mentioned, there is a place for a tourism services marketplace project, which the Ministry of Economic Development, Rostourism and the Moscow City Hall mentioned in various presentations and interviews in 2019.

“It is important that the deadline for applying for an electronic visa is also set in the bill.” As noted by Interfax, the Russian Union of Travel Industry (PCT) believes that the adoption of the bill was delayed, because of which Russia may receive less foreign tourists this year. “The bill is expected to be read in the State Duma, then the Federation Council, the signature of the president, then the preparation of regulations and the definition of a list of countries.

Recall that electronic visas to enter Russia have been valid since 2017 in the Far East for citizens of 19 countries, and since 2019 in Kaliningrad, St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region for citizens of 53 countries. In all three regions, the introduction of such visas led to an increase in inbound tourist flow.