International tourism is currently going through difficult times, but borders are gradually opening up with certain restrictions. Russia resumes air traffic with many countries and resumes issuing tourist visas.
Who can enter Russia?
Denis Grishkin / Moskva Agency
The main document that regulates entry into Russia during the pandemic is Government Decree No. 635-r (March 16, 2020) which is regularly updated.
According to this document, only certain categories of foreigners can visit Russia, regardless of their nationality: diplomats, pilots, family members of Russians, athletes participating in competitions and specialists by invitation and foreigners with residence permits. in Russia. They can enter with any type of transport.
Residents of the partially recognized republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia can also enter Russia via land and rail checkpoints, regardless of the purpose of the trip. The bottom line is that the entry must come from these republics.
Andrei Nikerichev / Moskva Agency
However, no restrictions apply to Russian citizens: holders of Russian passports can freely enter the homeland. Before registering for a flight, they must complete a special electronic form, and upon arrival in Russia, they must take a PCR test for COVID-19 within three days and upload the results to the services website. State. If they have a certificate of vaccination with a Russian vaccine, the test is not necessary. Note that foreign vaccines are not yet recognized in Russia.
Can a tourist visit Russia?
Denis Grishkin / Moskva Agency
According to the above-mentioned decree, foreigners can come to Russia from countries with which Russia has resumed regular flights, including for tourist purposes. It is important to come from the country where the visitor has citizenship or a residence permit. That is, a Turkish citizen must fly from Turkey, while a British citizen – only from the UK. It is forbidden to enter Russia through land or sea borders (with the exception of Belarus: citizens of this state can also enter by train).
As of July 2021, the countries from which a tourist can travel directly are: Germany, Austria, Azerbaijan, Albania, Armenia, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, United Kingdom, Hungary, Venezuela, Vietnam, Greece, Egypt, India, Iceland, Jordan, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Qatar, Cyprus, Kyrgyzstan, Korea, Cuba, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Mauritius, Maldives, Malta, Morocco, Mexico, United Arab Emirates, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, North Macedonia, Seychelles, Serbia, Singapore , Syria, United States, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Switzerland, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia and Japan.
To board the plane, you must provide a negative PCR test for COVID-19 (in English or Russian), carried out no earlier than 72 hours before entering Russia. Children under two do not need to be tested. There is no quarantine for holders of such certificates (you won’t be allowed to travel without them anyway). In addition, those arriving must complete a special form (sample) and have a policy covering medical costs in the event of COVID-19.
Citizens of the Eurasian Economic Union (Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan) (and from September 1, 2021, all citizens of the CIS) must install the mobile application titled “Travel without COVID-19” to enter Russia (Google Play and App Store) and enter the test results into the app.
In Russia, it is always necessary to wear a mask in public places, including all public transport and shopping malls. You don’t have to wear one outside.
Russia has its own visa rules for each country, which can be found on the website of the Russian Embassy or visa center in your country. If you already have a visa for Russia and are included in the list of countries whose citizens are allowed to enter, you can enter with this visa. If you need a new visa, you must apply for it at the visa center or at the embassy in your country. Russia is once again issuing tourist, business and other visas for countries with which it has resumed air traffic.
Note that a tourist visa will be granted for a maximum of six months, if a confirmed hotel reservation is provided (the document is in Russian).
Meanwhile, citizens of 52 countries, including the EU, Japan and China, will be able to enter the country on an electronic visa, which can be issued in just four days, without the need for documents confirming the purpose of travel. . In addition, a 72-hour visa-free entry into Russia for cruise ship passengers will again come into effect.
Important! In many countries there are still restrictions on EXIT for tourism purposes, so having a Russian visa does not even guarantee that you will get permission to leave your country. This should be clarified before making any travel.
All information is up to date as of July 23, 2021.
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