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Starting Today, 53 Countries Can Get Free E-Visas to Russia

Starting Today, 53 Countries Can Get Free E-Visas to Russia
Jonathan DeLise

Starting October 1st, visitors from 53 countries will be able to visit the St. Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast regions with a free e-visa.

The entry application – for tourism, business, and humanitarian reasons – will be a significantly more simplified version of the current procedure and will require nothing else uploaded (e.g. a Letter of Invitation) besides a passport photo.

Travelers from those countries and territories will be able to apply up to four days before their arrival into Russia. The e-visa will be valid for thirty days, though the maximum permitted stay will be limited to eight days.

At this moment, two types of e-visa schemes are already in place; parts of the Russian Far East (including Vladivostok and the Kamchatky Peninsula) have been accessible to citizens of eighteen countries since early 2017, and as of July 1st of this year, the Kaliningrad Oblast has been welcoming folks from 53 countries under the e-visa system. It is quite likely that those same 53 countries will comprise the St. Petersburg/Leningrad Oblast list come October 1st.

These pilot efforts to increase tourism are predecessors to the Russian government’s wider plan to introduce by January 1st, 2021 nationwide e-visas for some travelers. It is expected that these e-visas will be valid for sixteen days, and will cost roughly US$50.

Note that Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States are nowhere to be found in any of these e-visas programs; given the constant tension between those three countries and Russia, it is unlikely that this will change. However, St. Petersburg can still be visited visa-free for up to 72 hours, as long as the visitor arrives/departs by boat, and has joined a tour group.

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1 Comment

  1. ozgal

    October 9, 2019 at 6:34 am

    St Petersburg maybe Visa free for people who arrive on ships, but I was not allowed to day tour with a Russian Pilot and his family as I was not allowed to leave a Pre Booked Guided your from onboard the ship.
    Very very disapointing not to mention frustrating.

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