Applicants for the new electronic visas for Russia have been advised to carefully complete the online application forms to guarantee they can enter the country. Citizens of over 50 countries have been able eligible to apply for a Russia eVisa for the St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad and Far East regions since late 2019.
To obtain an eVisa for Russia, applicants are required to fill out a form on the website of the Russian Foreign Ministry at least 4 days before their intended date of arrival in the country.
Over 50,000 Russian eVisas have already been issued in the 2 months since the electronic system was implemented, with the majority of applications arriving from citizens of Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, and Latvia.
However, authorities in Saint Petersburg have warned that around 3% of eVisa holders have had problems crossing the Russian border upon arrival in the country, due to issues with their travel document. Officials say that the travelers who have had problems are those who completed the online visa application with incorrect information.
How to Apply for a Russia eVisa without Problems
The Russian Foreign Ministry has advised applicants for the electronic visas to carefully check that all the information provided on the online form is correct and matches the details of their passport before submitting an application.
The warning follows a number of reports of travelers refused entry to Russia because of a small mistake made when completing the eVisa application.
Some eVisa holders who have experienced problems entering the country have accidentally entered an incorrect symbol on the application, for example “0” (number) instead of “O” (letter).
Other applicants with diacritical marks in their name (“ø”, “ê”, “ç” “ü”, etc.) have been refused entry because those same marks were not correctly entered on the online form.
Other eVisa refusals have been caused by applicants with a hyphenated last name including a hyphen between the names on the application form, which the online system does not recognise.
Nevertheless, the Russian Foreign Ministry has asserted that the majority of applications will be approved if travelers take more time to make sure any unusual symbols are correct before submitting the eVisa form.
Successfully Entering Russia with an Electronic Visa
eVisa applicants are advised to be aware that an approved electronic visa does not permit the holder to travel to every region of Russia, only within the borders of the specific region for which the visa was issued.
For example, those with an approved eVisa for Kaliningrad will not be able to travel to St.Petersburg on the same visa, as it is only valid for entry to the Kaliningrad region.
Applicants should also be aware that a Russia eVisa is only accepted for entry at select road checkpoints, airports, and seaports in the designated regions.
Authorities have promised that it will be possible to enter Russia via train with an eVisa at some point in the future, but this option is not yet available.
Although eVisa holders are able to show an electronic copy of the approved visa at Russian border control, travelers are also advised to print a paper copy to present in the rare case of any problems with the online system.
Finally, applicants are advised to be aware that although an approved eVisa is valid for 30 days to enter Russia, it only permits a total stay of 8 days in the designated region.
The period of allowed stay begins from midnight on the day the traveler arrives in Russia and receives a stamp in their passport.
For more global visa information, visit onlinevisa.com.