Russia has announced some of the eligible countries for the upcoming Russian eVisa. The country has long been expected to introduce an eVisa in the coming years, but now plans are in motion to introduce the system by January 1st, 2021, according to the Russian newspaper Kommersant.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has reportedly instructed government departments and the Federal Security Service to ensure that the new e-visa system, and app-based application interface, will be ready in time for the proposed launch date.
Kommersant also reported that the upcoming electronic visa will permit holders to visit Russia for up to 16 consecutive days, and that it is expected to cost around $50, far less than the current fees for a Russia consular visa.
The same report confirmed some of the eligible nationalities who will be able to apply for the eVisa, which will include citizens from all EU member countries, as well as non-EU countries that are part of the Schengen passport-free zone, such as Norway. Although the full list has yet to be finalized, the report also mentioned that citizens of China, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea could also become eligible for the eVisa.
However, the announcement also revealed some notable emissions from the Russia eVisa eligibility, as citizens of the UK, the United States, and Canada have not been included on the list.
These omissions are thought to reflect the current poor relations between Russia and the major western countries, the worst they have been in the post-Cold War period. Tensions have significantly increased in recent years over the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, the 2018 UK chemical attacks by suspected Russian agents, and suspected interference in foreign elections by the Russian government.
The Benefits of the Russian eVisa
Those who will be eligible to apply for the Russian eVisa will find the application simplified from the current process of obtaining a visa to travel to Russia. At the moment, applicants for a tourist visa are required to first obtain a tourist invitation online, before presenting a range of supporting documentation at an Russian consulate or embassy.
The eVisa application will eliminate the need to visit a Russian embassy or consulate in person, as it will be possible to submit an online form from anywhere in the world. The Russian eVisa is also expected to be available for business activities as well as for purposes of tourism.
The introduction of the Russia-wide eVisa follows the success of two region-specific electronic visa programs in the country. An eVisa system was previously available for visitors to the 2018 World Cup in 2018, and an electronic visa is currently available for certain nationalities to visit the far eastern regions of Russia.
An additional local eVisa system is also due to be launched in July for visitors to the Kaliningrad region, but the expected launch of the Russia eVisa in 2021 will be the first time that such a service will be avaialble for the whole country.
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