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The new Russia e-visa

Did you know that a new e-visa system is planned for travel to Russia? As the ninth most visited country in the world, this will make life a little easier for many of the 30+ million foreign travellers who visit each year. Previously, it’s often been a quite long and extensive application process, involving an in-person visit to your nearest embassy, but read on to learn how the procedure to visit the world’s largest country – and one that is home to 23 UNESCO World Heritage Sites – is changing. We caught up with eVisaRussia.com to get the low-down. Who needs a visa to visit Russia? Currently, most visitors to Russia need a visa to visit. Exemptions include certain geographical neighbours such as Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Mongolia, a number of Latin American countries for trips of up to 90 days (eg. Argentina, Brazil, Chile, etc.) and some miscellaneous cases (eg. Cuba, Iceland and Mozambique). What are the changes with the new Russian e-visa? e-visas had been available for visitors to St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad and the Far East but, when the coronavirus struck in March, Russia closed its borders and stopped issuing visas to foreigners. The new e-visas for Russia will go live in 2021 and enable tourists to visit the whole country. They will offer a faster and more practical way for many foreign nationals to obtain formal authorisation to visit Russia than was available through the traditional Russian visa process. Where can the Russia e-visa be used? Although the e-visa can be used for travel all over Russia, as it stands at the moment, these new visas will only be valid when entering or exiting the country via official ports of entry situated around the Leningrad region and Saint Petersburg territory. These include: Pulkovo International Airport for air travel; Vysotsk, Saint Petersburg Marine Station Port and Saint Petersburg Passenger Port for entry or exit by boat; Ivangorod, Torfyanovka, Brusnitchnoe and Svetogorsk for arrivals and departures by road, and Ivangorod for anyone travelling on foot. The new e-visa does not yet cover entry or exit by train. Who can apply for the new Russia e-visa? Passport holders from many countries can apply for an e-visa in a matter of minutes. Citizens from 53 countries, including EU member states, China, Japan, India and Turkey, will be able to obtain 16-day, single-entry tourist visas online. An expansion of the e-visa program may be on the cards in order to inject much-needed revenue to a sector hit hard by the pandemic. Unfortunately, though, nationals from the United States, Canada and the UK are not currently able to apply for e-visas due to the strained political relationships between these countries and Russia, but this could change according to Deputy Foreign Minister Yevgeny Ivanov. How do you apply for a Russian e-visa? It is expected that you will be able to apply for a Russian e-visa from 2021. Using a visa service such as eVisaRussia.com will help simplify the process for you. Whether you love Russia for its unique architecture or its much-overlooked but stunning natural beauty, visting is just about to get a little bit easier. Disclosure: This post is sponsored by eVisaRussia.com.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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  1. I hope that there is a thawing in relations between UK and Russia next year and the e-visas become available in the U.K. Russia is on my list of countries that I’m keen to visit.

    1. I don’t think that’s likely to change in time for next year, but remember that still doesn’t preclude you getting a visa through the usual channels. I visited in 2018 when relations were really not great at all, but still found the visa process OK. Unlike with an e-visa, though, I did have to turn up in person with all the appropriate documentation.

    2. Never forget Harold Wilson’s words, “A week is a long time in politics.” Now, in the 21st century with global communications so much quicker, you could probably say, “A day is a long time in politics.” Who knows what international relationships will be like by the time these E – Visas are operating?

  2. Now that we are deep into the digital age I can’t understand why E visas aren’t the standard way of serving up a visa. Why make things any more complicated than they have to be? How long before every nation does E visas?

    1. I’m sure more and more countries will move in this direction with time. It feels inevitable as it will make the process easier and, no doubt, more cost efficient.

  3. Nice selection of pictures that remind me that it’s about time that I visited Russia again. It is over 30 years since my last visit. I’m expecting a few changes.

    1. I’ve only been the once – and that was to Moscow – but never got a sense that things were changing markedly. I could be completely wrong, though, and would love to return some time as I really didn’t have long enough there.

  4. But till now the borders of russia are still closed, only several visa types can enter russia…. maybe the evisa plan will delay

    1. The e-visas aren’t due to be introduced until next year anyway. I don’t think an exact date has yet been stated, but I don’t see any reason why it won’t be some time next year, unless COVID-19 takes a hold for a much longer period of time than is expected.

  5. I wonder why the e visa doesn’t cover entry by train? And is it likely to change in the near future?

    I’ve got plans for a trip across Finland, over the Russian border and onto St Petersburg as so many travellers have told me that it is a city that has to be seen to be believed.

    1. On the VR.fi site, it reads:

      According to the Russian authorities, the delay is temporary and is caused by a lack of technical readiness. E-visas will become available for rail traffic later…

    2. Remember that this is such a historic way to arrive in Russia. Think back to Lenin’s return before the 1917 revolution. Even The Pet Shop Boys oddly sang of his journey “to the Finland Station.”

  6. The exceptions to the need for a visa got me thinking Cuba, Iceland and Mozambique got me thinking. There must be an interesting piece yet to be published on how countries across the globe put together their visa policy. I always find those passport league tables fascinating, the ones which show the passports most accepted without a visa.

  7. Interesting to know that some countries are not allowed into Russia as of today. As a citizen of a third-world country, I apply for visas to everywhere, except neighboring countries and a few other. Not very many. And I can say that it is not easy to apply in person. You have to collate all documents needed and schedule an appointment, pay for the visa application, and then get yourself to the embassy and wait. Having this option of applying for e-visas will be a huge convenience. I hope more countries offer this. It’s actually very timely since I think we’d still be living with the danger of coronavirus for another year.

  8. I’ve been searching for countries that offer this type of visa application and came across this post. For now, now I am just collating and gathering information. Ever since this pandemic I’ve been wishing to travel more and more every day. For a country to have an e-visa application would really be efficient and it would save time and effort. People can avoid the long lines and crowds, and all those processes that need to be done in person. Applying for a visa can sometimes be a pain and too much effort. And with the pandemic still raging in many areas around the world, it puts people in danger. E-visa applications would limit the people going in and out of embassies and would avoid having close contact with other people, implementing social distancing, and reducing the possibility of spreading the virus in the country. I hope that more countries would follow this, it would be a huge sigh of relief.

  9. It’s a great move for Russia to make visa application online. I have yet to check it out and see how much it cost. But this is definitely a convenience and great timing for me. A potential business venture might open up for me by next year. I was hoping that things would have gotten much better in terms of travel restrictions and infection rates. I would love to make this trip both business and leisure so I’m also planning a bit of sightseeing itinerary.

  10. It is really a nice place, i want to visit, this year im planning for a travel visa, hope it is not too difficult for me. Thanks for your help…

  11. Come to Russia! To Moscow in early May. On May 9, a parade dedicated to the Great Patriotic War is held annually.
    At the end of May, everything turns green and around is more fun.
    There is a festive mood on Red Square for the New Year.
    St. Petersburg is a historically beautiful city.
    Kazan too. You can visit the city of Sochi in the south of Russia.

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