Passengers arriving at six Russian airports in the Far East region of the country can now use eVisas to enter. The government initially trialed the scheme at Vladivostok Knevichi airport and it is now operational at more airports: Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky (Yelizovo), Blagoveschensk (Ignatyevo), Khabarovsk (Novy), Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk (Khomutovo) and Anadyr (Ugolny).
President Putin said: "Our decisions on eVisas for entering (Russia’s) Far East. Now they are valid for residents of 19 countries who can get all paperwork done remotely and under a simplified procedure. These decisions meet the spirit of development and openness."
The Russian electronic visas were first introduced in August 2017. They are currently available to citizens from Algeria, Bahrain, Brunei, China, India, Iran, Japan, Kuwait, Mexico, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Tunisia, Turkey, and the UAE.
Russian eVisas: growing in popularity
The Russian Ministry for the Development of the Far Eastern region said the eVisa is becoming increasingly popular with tourists. Since the project launched, 27,500 tourists from 14 countries have visited Russia using the eVisas. Though only a thousand people applied in October 2017, the number of applicants has been steadily increasing. More than 4,000 applied this June.
The vast majority of visitors using the eVisas are Chinese, the second biggest demographic are Japanese travelers.
Boris Gorbunov, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky Airport's media official, said: “Aviation is the only way to enter the peninsula and so we expect the new eVisa regime will foster international traffic, primarily from the Asia-Pacific region.”
The eVisa scheme may be expanded to more parts of Russia in the future. Kaliningrad, Russia's eastern European enclave, is thought to be the next destination.
Traveling to Russia with the eVisa
- Russian eVisas permit visitors to enter for tourism, business purposes, and for sports, cultural, scientific, technological or humanitarian related trips.
- The eVisas are free to obtain and allow one entry into Russia.
- They are valid for 30 days (from the date of issue) and allow visitors to stay for up to eight days.
- Travelers cannot extend the validity of the eVisas.
- The processing time for eVisa applications is up to four days from the date of submission.
- Applicants cannot submit applications earlier than 20 days before, or later the four days before, the intended date of entry into Russia.
- Applicants' passports must be valid for at least six months from the date of the application.
- It is a requirement to have medical insurance.