Short-term electronic visas will be available for visits across Russia from 1 January 2021, officials have confirmed. Online visas have previously been trialled in the country, but were limited to only three regions. The countrywide scheme was announced by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Yevgeny Ivanov, in an interview with the Moscow-based newspaper Kommersant on 5 February.
The visas will be applicable for short visits of up to 16 days, and will cost $50, or approximately £38. Foreign citizens currently have to pay £45 for a tourist voucher, in addition to a consulate fee, which varies from £68 for Austrian nationals to £163 for US citizens.
Nationals of 53 countries have been able to access electronic visas to the Russian Far East since 2016, Kaliningrad since 2017, and St Petersburg since 2019.
However, Ivanov specified that the list of nationalities eligible for online visas will not include the UK, US or Canada. “The decision to include this or that particular country on the list was made after considering numerous factors, including a country’s visa policy regarding Russian citizens,” the official said.
“There are no plans to introduce changes into the list so far at this stage, but this does not mean that such a possibility is ruled out in the future, on the condition of a normal visa dialogue with the countries that you have mentioned.”