As scientists focus on finding a solution to the coronavirus pandemic, governments around the world are taking steps to ensure the safety of their citizens. Measures include quarantine for suspected cases, travel restriction to and from the affected areas, and equipping existing facilities so that they can successfully treat the infected.
Russia is also making moves to protect its citizens and the foreigners visiting the country. The government stated that no risk is going to be taken.
Russian coronavirus restrictions include, for example, a travel ban for most foreigners and the temporary suspension of the issuance of all electronic visas. Keep reading to learn more.
COVID-19: Who Can Travel to Russia?
As the coronavirus outbreak developed into a pandemic, the Russian government has prohibited entry for almost all foreigners. This is to prevent the disease from spreading further internationally.
Some exceptions apply. Among them:
- British nationals and residents of the United Kingdom if arriving from the United Kingdom (temporary travel ban from the UK until February 2021)
- Nationals and residents of Belarus if arriving from Belarus (not traveling on flights FV/SU6496)
- Nationals and residents of Cuba if arriving from Cuba
- Nationals and residents of Egypt if arriving from Egypt
- Nationals and residents of Ethiopia if arriving from Ethiopia
- Nationals and residents of Kazakhstan if arriving from Kazakhstan
- Nationals and residents of Kyrgyzstan if arriving from Kyrgyzstan (not arriving on flights SU1883 and SU1895)
- Nationals and residents of Korea (Rep.) if arriving from Korea (Rep.)
- Nationals and residents of Japan if arriving from Japan
- Nationals and residents of Maldives if arriving from the Maldives
- Nationals and residents of Serbia if arriving from Serbia
- Nationals and residents of Seychelles if arriving from Seychelles
- Nationals and residents of Switzerland if arriving from Switzerland
- Nationals and residents of Tanzania if arriving from Tanzania
- Nationals and residents of Turkey if arriving from Turkey
- Nationals and residents of the United Arab Emirates if arriving from the United Arab Emirates
Nationals and residents of the Russian Federation, as well as their families, can enter the country.
Do I need to take a Covid-19 test before traveling to Russia?
Foreign passengers who are not affected by the travel ban must present a medical certificate with negative COVID-19 test results that are no older than 72 hours.
Nationals and residents of the Russian Federation are exempted.
Passengers transiting through Russia must also have recent negative PCR test results. This does not apply to Russian citizens.
Can Brits travel to Russia during the pandemic?
British citizens were initially among the nationalities exempt from the Russian travel ban. However, since the discovery of the new coronavirus strain in the United Kingdom, flights from the UK to Russia have been temporarily suspended. The measure is expected to remain in place until February 1st, 2021.
Passengers who reach Russia from the United Kingdom are subject to 14-day mandatory quarantine.
Is Russia Issuing Electronic Visas to Travel?
The issuance of electronic visas has been suspended in Russia to allow for better screening procedures against COVID-19. The suspension will remain in place until further notice.
However, Russia normally welcomes visitors and until the pandemic hit, the government had launched several initiatives to boost international tourism, including designing a new unified E-visa for eligible travelers to visit the entire country.
The new online visa for Russia has been confirmed on January 1st, 2021, and will be available as soon as the anti-COVID restrictions are lifted.
What Is the Risk of Coronavirus in Russia?
The pandemic is a developing situation and all travelers are advised to check the latest changes in cases and regulations before departure.
At the moment, there are active cases of coronavirus in Russia. Foreigners who reach the Federation should follow the government’s advice, which includes:
- Washing the hands often
- Maintaining social distance especially indoors
- Using a face mask
Failing to do so may result in fines. Quarantine and restrictions to movement and activities may be implemented at a moment’s notice should the need arise.
The Closure of Russian Borders
Russia’s eastern regions border directly with China for a total of 2,670 miles (4,300 kilometers). That’s why 3 Far East regions have closed their borders with China. Originally, the closure was to stay in place only until February 2020. The Russian news agency TASS reported that the affected areas were:
- The Jewish Autonomous Oblast
- Khabarovsk Oblast
- Amur Oblast.
Mayor Sergei Sobyanin wrote on his website:
“We have taken special control of hotels and other places where tourists gather […] When alarming signs appear, emergency medical teams will be sent to carry out a thorough examination.”
On March 30, 2020, the rest of the Russian borders were closed as the number of cases worldwide rose. The civil aviation authority was also ordered to suspend all regular and charter flights to and from Russia from March 27.
Closing borders is a temporary, cautionary measure. Russia has shown great interest in better and easier movement into and from China. In fact, the completion of the works for the first bridge between Russia and China was recently announced.
FAQ’s Related with Russian Restrictions
The issuance of Russian electronic visas was suspended on the 18th of March, 2020 and has not been resumed yet.
Once the special anti-COVID travel restrictions are lifted and the global pandemic is under control, eligible foreigners will be able to apply for their Russian visa online as usual.
The Russian government welcomes and encourages international tourism. As soon as the extraordinary measures and restrictions currently in place to fight COVID-19 are removed, foreign nationals will again be allowed to enter the country with an electronic visa.
Some foreign citizens are already permitted to enter Russia and international travelers are invited to check the eligible list.
At the moment, the vast majority of foreign citizens are not allowed into Russia although some exceptions apply to the travel ban. This is to prevent the new coronavirus from spreading across the country. It is very unlikely, therefore, that eVisa holders can enter Russia without contacting a Russian embassy or consulate and obtain permission first.