If Russia, that wilfully distant country of long winters where you could stroll around Saint Petersburg, discover Moscow, or bask in Lake Baikal, has always been on your travel plans but the visa process has been your biggest challenge, now you can smile has Russia is going to make visa application very easy from 2021 through the E-visa application process.
The great news is that President Vladimir Putin has signed a presidential order instructing the implementation of electronic visas (e-visa) to foreign visitors starting in 2021, according to Russia Today.
The e-visa offer will be a straight-forward online procedure that will result in short-term single-entry visas – likely to be for up to 16 days and is expected to cost around $50, saving you both time and money!
What is not clear is whether this innovation will be available to African travellers. Early reports suggest that the system will apply to European Union countries, and countries within the EU Schengen zone – as well as China, South Korea, Japan and New Zealand. Interestingly, Canada and the United States are not included.
With this, Russia has decided to improve on its entry procedures after its user-friendly approach during last summer’s football World Cup when travelling supporters were able to visit the country without a visa as long as they had an official tournament “Fan ID” (which could be applied for online) as well as their passport.
A similar system was in place when Manchester United and Chelsea faced each other in Moscow in the 2008 Champions League Final – supporters needed only a match ticket, passport and completed immigration card to fly in for Europe’s blue-riband club game.
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