Russia is planning on introducing an electronic visa system in the year 2021. Electronic visas have become part of a national project to welcome foreign visitors to the country. The government hopes that this will lead to an increase in tourism revenues. However, Russia expects that other countries will facilitate entry for Russians in return.
Six regions in Russia's far East offer an e-visa for business and tourists travelers that grants a week-long stay. President Vladimir Putin has tasked the government to increase the tourism revenue to up to 15.5 billion by 2024. The implementation of an automated border passage, the introduction of an e-visa and an electronic immigration card are all described in an action plan of the national program "Digital Economy". According to this document, the concept of the project should be developed by October 2019. First, the system will operate on pilot mode at selected border points. It is planned that by 2021 the program is launched throughout the country.
Details about the Russia electronic visa
The Ministry of Digital Development, the Ministry of Communications and Mass Media, and the Ministry of Transport and the Federal Security Service are behind the project initiative. The amount of resources required for the implementation of the electronic visa has not been disclosed. However, it is known that the project will be implemented on the basis of a visa and immigration system. It is projected that the project will generate revenues of billions of 14 billion rubles.
President Vladimir Putin wishes to increase inbound tourism and it was one of the goals he set for his government on March 2018. The head of the Ministry of Culture, Vladimir Medinsky shared with the RBC media details about the longstanding attempts to soften the visa regime for foreign visitors. He said that the ministry offered to introduce a visa-free regime for up to 72 hours for foreign visitors.
At this time, electronic visas are accepted at six Russian Far East airports. According to the Russian Aviation Insider, foreign passengers arriving in Russia via these six airports are able to use the simplified entry clearance procedure. Travelers can go through new special passport control booths that accept visas in electronic format. This pilot project was successfully trialed at Vladivostok Knevichi Airport in September last year.
The Russian entry visa in digital format was first introduced in August 2017 and it is available for citizens of 18 countries that include: Brunei, India, China, Mexico, Singapore, Japan, Algeria, Bahrain, Iran, Qatar, Kuwait, Morocco, the UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Turkey. Russia also introduced a visa-free system for those traveling to Russia during the World Cup, fans with game tickets were granted a Fan ID to enter the country without a visa.