Ministry of Foreign Affairs proposed to simplify obtaining visa by tourists to Russia
On 13 August, a bill on facilitation procedure for issuing Russian visas to foreign citizens was posted on the portal of legal acts. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation suggests allowing foreign tourists to apply for a visa to Russia without confirmation from the tour operator by the hotel reservation. Among innovations there is also an increase in maximum stay of foreign citizens in Russia from one month to six months.
According to the bill, it is planned to amend the Federal law “About an order of departure from Russian Federation and entry into Russian Federation”. In particular change is to exclude part about visa issuance for foreign tourist only if he has confirmation of admission from Russian tour operator. Amendments to the law on visa issuance rules will enter into force on April 2020.
According to authors “this requirement is an obstacle for foreign tourists who plan to visit Russia independently without service of tour operator”.
Under the new rules, foreign citizens can obtain visa to Russia if they have confirmed reservation at the hotel.
According to opinion of Sergey Voytovich, director general of Svoy TS, such measure will not affect flow of tourists to Russia.
Speaking about increase in maximum stay of foreign citizens from one month to six months, Voytovich emphasized that foreign tourists usually get visas to Russia on travel dates and very rarely come for such a long time.
Tour operators proposed to reduce processing time of visas, cost, and list of necessary documents before introduction of e-visas scheduled for 2021.
According to the director of inbound tourism of Intourist Nina Zharova, the innovation does not make much sense. She emphasized that guests from Southeast Asia, leading in entry into Russia, would not go because of the language barrier without a tour operator. As noted, these are elderly people and they need travel assistant and excursions.