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Everything You Need to Know About Russia’s New E-Visas

Fourteen Russian airports will welcome e-visa holders under the new rules. Alexander Avilov / Moskva News Agency

Citizens of 52 countries will be able to visit Russia with an electronic visa starting Jan. 1, 2021, according to Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin’s order published Wednesday. 

While Russia’s borders have partially reopened following a nearly total border shut-down in the spring, most foreigners are still not able to enter the country. The e-visa system is expected to boost Russia’s tourism industry — which has already lost at least $7 billion in revenue since pandemic restrictions were introduced in late March — once borders reopen.

Here is a closer look at how the e-visa program will work:

Who is eligible? 

  • Citizens of 52 countries, including EU member states, China, India, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Japan. 
  • E-visa holders can enter Russia for tourism, business and humanitarian activities as well as for private reasons such as visits to Russian relatives or friends. 

					Countries whose citizens are eligible for Russia's e-visa program.					 					MT
Countries whose citizens are eligible for Russia's e-visa program. MT

How to get it? 

  • Eligible visitors will be able to apply for a visa on a special website administered by the Russian Foreign Ministry or through a mobile application. 
  • Applicants will be asked to fill out a form, upload a photo and scanned copy of their passport and pay a $40 processing fee. Children under the age of six are exempt from the processing fee. 
  • E-visa applicants are not required to submit an invitation letter, proof of accommodation or ticket bookings. 

How long will it take?

  • Applications will be processed in no more than 4 days.
  • The visas will be valid for 60 days from the day of issuance. 
  • A single e-visa allows foreigners to remain in Russia for up to 16 days. Visitors have to obtain a new visa each time they plan to enter Russia.

What to do at the border? 

  • E-visa holders can enter Russia through 29 border crossings, including international airports in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Kazan, Krasnodar and Novosibirsk. 
  • Visitors will need to present a printed copy of their e-visa notification as well as a valid passport at border control. 

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