Support The Moscow Times!

Russian Visa Applicants Will Have to Be Fingerprinted

In September, the Interfax news agency reported that Russian consulates in the United Kingdom, Denmark, Myanmar and Namibia would be implementing fingerprinting technology starting next year.

Foreigners applying for visas in a number of Russian consulates will be fingerprinted starting in December, in accordance with a decree signed by President Vladimir Putin earlier this week.

Starting on Dec. 10, those seeking visas at Russian consulates in the United Kingdom, Denmark, Myanmar and Namibia, as well as at Moscow's Vnukovo Airport, will be fingerprinted.

Russian diplomats abroad will also be required to inform the governments of their respective host countries of the new practice by Dec. 5. The order does not provide a timeline for the implementation of fingerprinting in Russian consulates in other countries, or at Russia's other international airports and border crossings.

In September, the Interfax news agency reported that Russian consulates in the United Kingdom, Denmark, Myanmar and Namibia would be implementing fingerprinting technology starting next year. The head of the Foreign Ministry's consular department, Yevgeny Ivanov, said at the time that the move was a pilot project that would help determine the feasibility of collecting biometric data at other Russian consulates. The fingerprinting is not meant to harshen visa requirements for foreigners, Ivanov said at the time.

The measure, which will also apply to stateless individuals and those applying for transit visas, comes ahead of the European Union's planned introduction of biometric data collection in 2015 for Russians wishing to travel to the Schengen Area.

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

As the only remaining independent, English-language news source reporting from Russia, The Moscow Times plays a critical role in connecting Russia to the world.

Editorial decisions are made entirely by journalists in our newsroom, who adhere to the highest ethical standards. We fearlessly cover issues that are often considered off-limits or taboo in Russia, from domestic violence and LGBT issues to the climate crisis and a secretive nuclear blast that exposed unknowing doctors to radiation.

Please consider making a one-time donation — or better still a recurring donation — to The Moscow Times to help us continue producing vital, high-quality journalism about the world's largest country.