Future of the visa regime between Russia and the US
Consul General of the US in Russia, Richard Beer gave an interview to the agency “Interfax” concerning the situation in the sphere of tourism and migration between Russia and the US.
Speaking about the recently held US–Russian consultations on consular issues, Beer said that among other things, they raised a question concerning increasing the period of validity of visas. The practice is that the visa can be issued for the same period, as in another country. Consequently, an increase of validity period of visas is a matter of agreement. In particular, Beer said that the US citizens to get in Russia require an invitation, and the validity of the visa is for the period specified in invitation.
Also, a question was raised about the reduction of the consular fees for visas. As noted by Richard Beer: “We try to keep visa fees as low as possible. We can not change the size of the consular fee, because it is the same for all countries in the world.” The only exception is when a person receives a visa for two years. Then one has to pay additionally another hundred dollars. However, as noted by the consul, this question may also be revised during the negotiations and mutual concessions.
Richard Beer said that US citizens are interested in tourist and business trips to Russia. For example, in 2009 approximately 180 thousand people visited the country. And this figure is rising due to a number of programs such as, in particular, cruise tours to St. Petersburg. This way the Americans are able to visit Russia without a long and complicated procedure of visas processing.
In addition, according to the FMS approximately 90,000 of Americans live in Russia, many of them have dual nationality.
It is quite possible that due to modification of law concerning labor migrants this number is expected to grow. From now come to work in Russia will be easier and more profitable. “I still do not know all the details of this decision, – said Beer – but anyway we consider it as a positive step from Russian government. We are confident that this will help to attract foreign investment in Russia, including from the United States.”
Richard Beer outlined problems with the existing Russian system of registration and obtaining work visas. They are a significant impediment for business in the country. As noted the Consul: “If these procedures will be easier for foreign workers that will increase foreign investments in Russia.”