A senior official in the Russian government has confirmed that a Russian electronic visa for 53 nationalities will launch next year, greatly simplifying the process of applying for a visa for the country. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Yevgeny Ivanov announced that the new electronic visa system will come into effect on January 1st, 2021, and
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Russia is implementing a new electronic visa for St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region, government officials have confirmed. The new eVisa for Russia’s capital and the surrounding region will be launched from October 1st and will permit travel to Leningrad Oblast for tourism, business, or humanitarian reasons.
The introduction of the Russia online visa for St. Petersburg and Leningrad will mark the first time that foreign citizens will be able to get a visa for the capital region through a simplified online application, and eliminates the need to apply from an embassy or consulate and pay a consular fee.
The visa will allow a total stay of 8 days in Leningrad Oblast and will be valid for a total of 30 days from the date of approval. Over 50 nationalities are able to obtain the St. Petersburg eVisa, including citizens of all Schengen Area, states, the majority of Gulf Cooperation Countries, China, South Korea, and Japan.
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has confirmed that eligible applicants will be able to submit an application up to 4 days before the intended date of arrival in St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region, as it will take 4 calendar days, including weekends and bank holidays, to process the eVisa. Applicants will only be required to have an eVisa-eligible passport valid for at least 6 months from the intended date of arrival in Russia.
It has also been confirmed that there is no need to obtain a guest invitation if visiting friends and family in the region when applying for the eVisa, unlike the process of obtaining a tourist visa for St. Petersburg through an embassy or consulate. It will only be necessary to complete the online form and upload a passport-style photograph in order to submit an application.
Russia Expands Available Electronic Visa Types
The implementation of the electronic visa for St. Petersburg and Leningrad marks the latest step in the plan to offer eVisas for travel to the whole of Russia by 2021, a process that began in August 2017 with the introduction of an eVisa for Far East Regions for 18 foreign nationalities.
This electronic visa for Russia allows holders to enter and exit 8 regions in the far east of the country, including Primorsky Krai and Kamchatka Krai, though a number of different ports of entry, including airports and seaports, rail and road checkpoints. Like the new St. Petersburg eVisa, it allows a maximum stay of 8 days in the region.
Following the success of the Far East eVisa system, the Russian government introduced another electronic vision for a specific region in the country, the Kaliningrad eVisa, in July 2019. Citizens of over 50 countries are also now able to apply online to travel to the Kaliningrad exclave, located between Poland and Lithuania, for short stays of up to 8 days.
The introduction of these electronic Russia visa types for specific regions signal that President Vladimir Putin is well on the way to fulfilling a promise to offer Russia-wide electronic visas to foreign travelers by January 2021, in a move to significantly boost tourist arrivals to the country by the same year.
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