Russia begins issuing simplified electronic visas to citizens of 18 countries

Russia begins issuing simplified electronic visas to citizens of 18 countries
Foreigners from 18 countries can now visit the Russian Far East using electronic visas which are issued online and take three days to receive, the Ministry for the Development of Eastern Regions reports.

People who use the electronic visas can enter Russia through border crossing points in the Vladivostok sea port and in Vladivostok International Airport Knevichi. Starting from January 1, 2018 the total number of such border crossing points will increase to four. Those who enter Russia in these places can also visit the Kamchatka Peninsula and Sakhalin Island,” reads the ministry’s release published on Tuesday.

Receiving an electronic visa will be simple and easily available – visitors will only have to submit an application on a special website four days ahead the planned date of visit and if their request is fulfilled, they can start their travel,” it added.

The rules specify that a reply must be issued within a maximum of three days, and the electronic visa will be valid for 30 days.

The new service is available to citizens of 18 nations: Brunei, India, China, North Korea, Mexico, Singapore, Japan, Algeria, Bahrain, Iran, Qatar, Kuwait, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Turkey.

The decree allowing for the visa regime to be relaxed was signed by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in April this year, and is aimed at boosting the tourism sector in Russia’s Far East regions.

The deputy minister for the development of the Far East, Pavel Volkov, told reporters that he expected at least a 30-percent increase in the number of foreign tourists because of the simplified visa rules.

Given the fact that every wealthy tourist spends at least $1,000 in the territory, we assume this will significantly increase the opportunities for the development of the region, trade turnover and currency flows,” he added.