Electronic visa travel was first launched in Russia in 2017. The electronic visa’s main advantage is simplicity – one can obtain a visa by filling in the form online without attending a consulate.
Where can you go?
Electronic visa travel is currently in force only for some regions of Russia, which are the Far Eastern Federal District, the Kaliningrad region, Saint Petersburg and the Leningrad region.
It is allowed to enter the mentioned territories only through the following checkpoints:
• In St.Petersburg and the Leningrad region: Pulkovo airport; port Vysotsk, Big port St.Petersburg (Marine station), Passenger port St.Petersburg; automobile stations Ivangorod, Torfyanovka, Brusnichnoye, Svetogorsk; pedestrian checkpoint Ivangorod.
• In the Kaliningrad region: Khrabrovo airport; ports Kaliningrad, Baltiysk and Svetly; railway stations Mamonovo and Sovetsk; automobile stations Bagrationovsk, Gusev, Mamonovo (Gzhekhotki), Mamonovo (Gronovo), Morskoye, Sovetsk, Chernyshevskoye.
• In the Far Eastern Federal District: airports Vladivostok (Knevichi), Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky (Yelizovo), Blagoveschensk, Khabarovsk (Novy), Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk (Khomutovo), Anadyr (Ugolny), Ulan-Ude (Mukhino) and in Chita (Kadala); ports Vladivostok, Zarubino, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Korsakov, Posiet; railway stations Pogranichny, Khasan and Makhalino; automobile stations Pogranichny, Poltavka and Turiy Rog.
Visitors can move freely only within the region through which they entered the country. For example, having arrived in the Khabarovsk region, one can only travel within its borders and leave through it, respectively.
How to get an e-visa?
To get an electronic visa, a foreign citizen needs to fill out a form on the specialized website of the Russian Foreign Ministry (electronic-visa.kdmid.ru) no later than 4 calendar days before the expected date of entry, and attach a digital photo. No other documents are required for obtaining an e-visa.
The site can save a draft application and it will be stored for 30 days from the last save. In addition, it is recommended to remember or write down the application number in order to restore it if necessary.
The electronic visa is stored in the information system, and at the entry one only gets a mark in the passport about crossing the border.
Validity of an e-visa
Electronic visas are one-entry visas and are issued for a period of 30 days from the date of issue and with an allowed period of stay in territory of the Russian Federation for up to 8 days from the date of entry.
At the same time, eight days does not mean a 192 hour net period (24*8) stay in the country. For example, if a person entered Vladivostok on August 1 at 8:00 pm, that person should leave at no later than 23:59, on August 8.
The visa is issued free of charge within four days. In order to get one, no invitations or confirmations of stay are necessary.
Which type of visa will you get?
An electronic visa can be a single-entry business (the purpose of a trip is business), a tourist (the purpose of a trip is tourism) or a humanitarian visa (the purpose of a trip being sports, cultural events or scientific-technical ties).
If a person intends to visit Russia for other purposes than stated, one will have to attend the consulate for a regular visa.
• The passport must be valid for at least six months from the date of application for an e-visa, and there should be enough space for stamps in it.
• Visitors should have medical insurance for the entire duration of stay in Russia.
• A separate electronic visa has to be issued for every child in the family.
• When applying online, a coloured full-face photo needs to be uploaded in JPEG. It should be against a light background with normal lighting.
How does this work?
• Fill in the application form.
• Get notification of visa issuance via e-mail or on the website (you will need an application number for that).
• Print it or save it on a smartphone.
• Show it to employees of the transport company and a border guards.
It is important to remember that the issuance of an e-visa does not guarantee an entry into the country. Entry can be denied at the border, for example, in case one knowingly provided fake information about themselves or in other cases provided by law.