Russia is one of the world’s most famous tourist destinations, and it’s not by chance: from the buzzing capital Moscow and culture-rich St Petersburg to the stunning natural beauty of Siberia, Russia has something for every taste.
Until recently, however, obtaining a visa for Russia was not particularly easy: travelers had to visit a Russian embassy or consulate in person or hire a travel agency in order to get a tourist visa. The process could result in long waiting times and high costs.
The new electronic visas for the Far East and Kaliningrad regions were launched in August 2017 and July 2019 respectively. They eliminate the need to go to an embassy or consulate to apply for a travel authorization to visit the Russian regions of Kaliningrad and the Far East.
The Far East and Kalinigrad E-visas are part of Russia’s plan to simplify travel and boost international tourism. More eVisas are expected to be launched soon for other Russian regions.
Citizens of E-visa eligible countries can apply online for the electronic visa in a matter of minutes.
The Russia E-visa allows travelers to enter the country for periods of up to 8 days for tourism, business, and humanitarian reasons. It is a single-entry visa valid for 30 days in total from the date of issue.
The Russia E-visa application process
The Russia E-visa application is quick and straightforward to complete. Applicants just need to fill out the online form by entering a range of information such as their name, date of birth, passport details and travel dates. There are also some security-related questions.
Other Russian E-visa requirements include:
- A valid eligible passport with a free page for stamps
- A recent photo (ratio: 35 x 45)
- Medical insurance valid for the entirety of the visitor’s stay in Russia.
After the application form has been completed, it is necessary to pay a visa fee using a credit or debit card. Applicants are advised to submit their application at least 4 days before traveling — the time it normally takes to process the application.
Any inaccurate answers given can lead to the application not being approved. To avoid delays or possible rejections, applicants should carefully enter and revise all the information they enter.
Traveling with the Russian E-visa
Once an application has been approved, the E-visa is sent to the traveler electronically. Visitors can enter Russia by presenting their E-visa and their passport on arrival at the relevant Russian entry points.
The new E-visa for Russia saves time at the border, as well as during the application process, as travelers have already been pre-screened by the authorities.
It is crucial that the details on the visa match those of the passport exactly. Applicants with two passports should bear in mind that the passport used to enter Russia must be the same as the one used for the visa application.
The Russia E-visa is a region-specific visa. This means that the electronic visas allow freedom of movement within the Russian region they apply to only. Holders of an E-visa for Kaliningrad, for example, will need to apply for a new relevant visa in order to enter the Far East or other Russian regions.Apply for Russian E-visa