The Russian Federal Tourism Agency (Rostourism) has proposed a multiple-entry tourist visa for foreigners that would be valid for up to five years, in a bid to help country’s tourism sector to recover after its devastation due to the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).

As part of the measures aimed at halting the spread of coronavirus pandemic, Russia previously decided to close its borders and temporarily suspend issuing visas. Rostourism warns that these preventive measures will lead to the loss of at least 300 billion rubles ($4 billion) per quarter, and it could be a  “colossal loss for the economy”, VisaGuide.World reports.

As for now, Russia has decided to allow single- and double-entry visas for more than 30 days for tourists.

The Russian Federal Tourism Agency also wants to reduce visa processing time to three business days.

Tourist visa holders who were ineligible to travel to Russia due to Coronavirus restrictions will be allowed to re-apply for new visas free of charge, the Rostourism announced.

Besides, the agency seeks to extend proposed e-visas, that will be effective from January 1, 2021, from 16 days to 90-120 days and make them multiple-entry visas.

The agency confirmed that together with the Foreign Ministry and other agencies are seeking to simplify the visa process.

“The measures could not only help restore but also increase inbound tourism by up to 30% compared to pre-crisis levels in 2021,” the Rostourism Cheif Zarina Doguzova pointed out.

In a bid to halt the spread of COVID-19, Russia decided to extend visas and banned authorities from deporting internationals whose immigration documents have expired between March 15 and June 16.

Last month, Russia prohibited the entry for foreign citizens from March 18 until May 1, in the fight against Coronavirus pandemic.

Amid the deadly virus, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin simplified the process of multi-entry working visas and increased to three years the period of validity for these visas issued for internationals acting as residents of the advance development territory (ADT) in the Far East and the Vladivostok Port.

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