If you’ve always wanted to stroll around Saint Petersburg, discover Moscow, or bask in Lake Baikal, but haven’t followed through because of the country’s long and tedious visa application process, we’ve got great news! President Vladimir Putin has signed a presidential order instructing the implementation of electronic visas (e-visa) to foreign visitors starting in 2021.
The e-visa offer will apply to single-entry visas for visits of up to 16 days and are expected to cost around $50, saving you both time and money!
If you remember, Russia already offered ‘Fan IDs’ to foreign tourists during the 2018 FIFA World Cup last year. This temporary e-visa program resulted in a 10 percent boost in tourism in 2018—encouraging the nation to continue such initiatives.
Although Russia has not announced the list of eligible countries; China, South Korea, Japan, most European countries and New Zealand are amongst those being considered.
Even though a visa is required for Chinese citizens to enter Russia, China accounted for the largest number of visitors in 2018, with 1.26 million tourists, resulting in a 14.5 percent increase from 2017.
Germany and South Korea also increased their numbers by 10.5 percent and 45 percent each, contributing the second and third-most visitors at 451,400 and 342,300 tourists respectively. And while German citizens also require a visa to enter Russia, South Korean passport-holders do not.
Russia is currently ranked as the 74th most welcoming country, offering only 53 countries visa-free entry. The new e-visa program will surely help open the country’s borders and encourage many more tourists from around the world to discover its dynamic and unique landscapes, history, and culture.