17 Mar 2020 11:59

Russia to limit entry for foreigners, including Belarusian citizens, from March 18 to May 1 - govt order

MOSCOW. March 17 (Interfax) - Entry to Russia for foreign citizens, including foreigners arriving in Russia from Belarus, and Belarusian citizens will be limited from March 18 to May 1, in accordance with an order published on the Russian government's website on March 16.

"From 00:00 a.m. local time on March 18, 2020 to 00:00 a.m. local time on May 1, 2020, the FSB [Federal Security Service] of Russia shall temporarily limit entry to the Russian Federation for foreign citizens and non-citizens, including those arriving from the territory of the Republic of Belarus, and also citizens of the Republic of Belarus," according to the government's order.

This measure will not apply to accredited or appointed employees of diplomatic missions and consulates of foreign states, international organizations and their offices, other official missions of foreign states in Russia, and also family members of the abovementioned people.

Other categories exempt from it are drivers employed by international road transport companies, crews of airplanes, sea and river vessels, and trains, engine crews operating on international routes, members of official delegations, and holders of diplomatic, service, or ordinary private visas issued in connection with the death of a close relative.

Additionally, the measure will not apply to people who permanently reside in Russia and connecting passengers at airports.

The Russian Federal Agency for Air Transport (Rosaviatsia) has been given 24 hours to notify relevant air carriers of the temporary restriction on entry to Russia.

Russia's Interior Ministry and its territorial branches have been ordered from midnight on March 18 to suspend accepting documents and drawing up and issuing invitations to foreign citizens and non-citizens to study or work in Russia, permits to hire foreign employees, and work permits to the abovementioned category of citizens.

From midnight on March 18, the Russian Foreign Ministry will suspend accepting documents and drawing up and issuing all categories of visas to foreign citizens and non-citizens via Russia's diplomatic missions and consulates, except for diplomatic, service, and ordinary business visas to the abovementioned people and also ordinary private visas for foreign citizens or non-citizens heading to Russia in connection with the death of a close relative.

The Foreign Ministry has also been instructed to suspend issuing electronic visas to foreign citizens from midnight on March 18, draw up and submit suggestions on how to further apply visa-free travel international treaties signed by Russia to the government, and notify foreign citizens of the abovementioned measures, at the same time, stressing that these measures have been prompted by exceptional circumstances and are only temporary.