The Federal Agency for Tourism of Russia (Rostourism) plans to relax visa rules after the country reopens its borders, as an effort to help the country recover from the damages caused by the Coronavirus outbreak.

As the pandemic caused global devastation Russia followed the example of a large share of countries by temporarily suspending international flights, in a bid to stop the further spread of the Coronavirus. Also, Russia closed all border crossings and suspended issuing visas and e-visas last month, VisaGuide.World reports.

According to Rostourism these measures will lead to “colossal losses for the economy of at least 300 billion rubles ($4 billion) per quarter”.

Rostourism proposes a multiple-entry tourist visa for internationals that would be valid for up to five years, as an effort to help the country’s tourism sector to recover from Coronavirus.

According to the current rules, Russia allows single- and double-entry visas, which are valid for up to 30 days for tourists.

The agency also aims to reduce visa processing time to three business days. All tourist visa holders who were ineligible to travel to Russia due to Coronavirus developments imposed restrictions are permitted to re-apply for new visas free of charge, the Agency clarifies.

Besides, Rostourism wants to extend proposed e-visas, which are planned to take effect on Jan. 1, 2021, from 16 days to 90-120 days and make them multiple-entry visas.

Rostourism stressed that it is involved in talks over “a large block of questions on visa simplification” with the Foreign Ministry and other agencies.

The Agency’s plan could increase inbound tourism by up to 30% compared to pre-crisis levels in 2021, Rostourism’s chief Zarina Doguzova said.

In a bid to stop the further spread of the virus, Russia decided to extend visas and banned authorities from deporting internationals whose immigration documents have expired between March 15 and June 16.

Amid COVID-19, last month, Russia banned the entry for all internationals, from March 18 until May 1.


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