Russia to simplify the visa regime for transit air passengers
According to the mass media, a government bill providing for the introduction of a visa-free 72-hour stay of foreign citizens in Russia is expected to be adopted in the near future. Corresponding amendments to the Federal Law “On the procedure for departure from the Russian Federation and entry into the Russian Federation” have already been submitted for discussion to the State Duma Committee for Civil Society Development.
The visa-free regime will be available for passengers transiting through the Russian international airports. According to the authors of the bill, the introduction of such changes in the current legislation will increase the inbound tourist flow to the country, since air transport is currently the most common way of travelling. Foreign citizens arriving in the country by sea (on cruise ships and ferries) already have the right to enter and stay in the country without visas.
According to the experts, such amendments are relevant for the development of transit air travel of foreign citizens through Russia. The geographical position of the country laid between Europe and Asia contributes to the growth of the number of foreign tourists traveling through Moscow. Currently, transit passengers enjoy short docking; however, the simplification of the visa regime may allow them to choose longer term layovers that will positively affect the airlines activities and the economy of the country as a whole.
It is reported that visa-free transit will be available only for citizens of a certain number of countries that have concluded relevant agreements with Russia. The list of such states has not been approved yet. “We hope that these countries will be important for tourism. In general, the decision on visa-free transit by air, if adopted, will play an important role in the development of the industry,” said the vice president of the Russian Union of Travel Industry Yuri Barzykin.