19 Jul 2023 20:23

Unified electronic visas to enter Russia to be launched on Aug 1, 2023 - Deputy PM Golikova

MOSCOW. July 19 (Interfax) - Electronic visas will be launched in Russia on August 1, 2023, they will also be available for citizens of unfriendly countries, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said.

"We propose keeping the list determined before and comprising 52 countries, adding another three countries to it, they are Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar, and launching electronic visas on August 1, 2023," Golikova said at Russian President Vladimir Putin's meeting with government members on Wednesday.

Holders of diplomatic and service passports from unfriendly countries would not be able to obtain such visas, she said.

The matter of e-visas was elaborated with federal bodies, primarily the Foreign Ministry, the Interior Ministry, and the Federal Security Service, Golikova said.

"We consider it inappropriate in response to the unfriendly actions of the official authorities of countries to exclude for their citizens the possibility of acquiring a unified electronic visa for a short-term visit to our country. Maintaining the simplified entry to Russia for citizens of these countries as tourists to participate in scientific, sports and cultural events and also to maintain business contacts amid sanctions will be meeting, in the first place, the interests of our state," she said.

A bill adopted in Russia in July 2020 envisaged issuing electronic visas online to the citizens of 52 countries, including the member states of the European Union, from January 1, 2021. The Russian government delayed the launch of the e-visa service in January 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic. E-visas were intended for use by visitors, business, tourists and event participants.

In November 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the Russian government in cooperation with the Foreign Ministry, the Interior Ministry, and the Federal Security Service to prepare proposals for the resumption of the issuance of unified e-visas enabling foreigners from the countries which are not on the list of unfriendly ones to visit Russia.

In early June 2023, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin signed a decree expanding the list of border checkpoints where foreign citizens could use unified e-visas.

It was reported earlier that a one-time visa would be issued within four calendar days; it would be valid for 60 days and allow a person to stay in Russia for 16 days. Visas will be issued on the specialized website of the Russian Foreign Ministry or in a mobile application. The consular fee is $40, no confirmation of hotel booking is required.