Unified E-visa for Russia will finally arrive in 2021

The Russian government has confirmed that a new E-visa for Russia will be launched sometime in early 2021, and that it will be a Russia-wide travel document, permitting access to parts of the country that were previously off-limits with an electronic visa.

In what is good news for both the tourist economy of Russia and for travellers who wish to easily access greater swathes of the country, it seems that an expedited electronic visa application for travel to the Russian Federation is finally on its way. 

The Russian government has confirmed that a new E-visa for Russia will be launched sometime in early 2021, and that it will be a Russia-wide travel document, permitting access to parts of the country that were previously off-limits with an electronic visa.  

The plan was to roll it out from January 1st, 2021, but this has now been pushed back to later in the year due to the disruption to international travel caused by COVID-19. However, it’s unlikely that the wait will be too long, as the pandemic has already resulted in Russia’s loss of at least $7 billion in tourist revenue since it closed its borders due to coronavirus restrictions.

Updates to Russia’s E-Visa policy
Russia was rather late in joining the wave of countries who adopted a streamlined online visa platform, only implementing an E-visa application in 2017, and even then only for select regions in the country. 

The first Russian E-visa to launch permitted travel to the Far Eastern regions of the country, followed by an E-visa for the Kaliningrad exclave in July 2019 and an electronic visa for Saint Petersburg and Leningrad in October later that year.

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Even then, the E-visas were only available for a select number of nationalities, valid for 30 days to enter Russia, and only permitted a total stay of 8 days in the selected area: travel outside of the area covered by the regional visa was not permitted.

However, this will now change with the launch of the new unified E-Visa to Russia, which will be available for nationals of over 50 countries, offer a single entry stay of up to 16 days, and be valid for a total of 60 days to enter the country from the date of approval.