Vladamir Putin has signed an order that will begin the preparation of the new electronic visa system that is set to be introduced as of January 1, 2021. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and both the Foreign and Interior Minister of Russia will be responsible for the implementation of the visa, as well as Alexander Bortnikov, the head of the FSB (The Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation).
At present, a similar service is available but only for those who plan on visiting the Far Eastern Federal District (FEFD). As of July 1, there will also be an electronic visa for foreigners who wish to visit the Kaliningrad region.
The Russian eVisa will be a single-entry visa and will permit visa holders to stay for up to 16 days. The visa will enable its holder to travel to any part of Russia, as opposed to the visa currently available which are only available for traveling particular areas of Russia.
The visa will grant access to all of Russia, making it universal. Travelers will be able to visit for business and tourist purposes, and it is expected that guest visits will still be permitted, as well. Furthermore, it is said that the new eVisa system will be app-based and facilitate the use of the eVisa with modern applications.
Which Countries Will Be Eligible for an eVisa for Russia?
The countries eligible for the electronic visa have been drafted and have yet to be finalized. The drafted countries include EU countries and exclude the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada.
While it is not yet clear as to who will be eligible, it has also been said that countries that are non-EU members but form part of the Schengen Zone, such as Norway, will also be included in the new online visa scheme. Further countries such as New Zealand, Japan, China, and South Korea may also be included in the finalized list of eligible countries for the Russia eVisa.
Due to the political conflict between Russia and the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada, it is unclear as to whether the eVisa will be offered to citizens of these countries. Recent political events and opinions on global issues have come between these countries and it is not yet known whether citizens of the aforementioned countries will be eligible for the electronic Russian visa.
Visa System Changes to Russian Visa Application
The current visa system requires travelers in need of a Russian visa to apply for a visa by submitting the necessary documents at an embassy or consulate appointment. Guest invitations are also necessary for those who are visiting family or friends and in many cases, without an invitation, visas are not always approved.
During the World Cup in 2018, an eVisa system was used to facilitate the influx of foreign travelers. A similar concept will be used for the new eVisa system that is set to be implemented on January 1, 2021.
The main changes to the current visa system will involve eliminating the necessity to visit an embassy or consulate to obtain a Russia visa. Instead, eligible citizens will be able to apply for an electronic visa online. This involves completing the application form online for the Russian eVisa.
Visa applicants can expect to receive a confirmation and the end result of their visa application at the email address provided in the application form. It will be necessary to pay for the visa online using a secure payment platform. A valid debit or cred card will be required in order to comply with the online payment procedure.