Russia: Immigration Bulletin – American Citizens Visiting Russia
As of September 9th, 2012 an agreement signed by the Russian and US authorities, dated November 2011 came into force. As a result, simplified rules of issuance for business, private, humanitarian, or tourist visas have been implemented in the Russian immigration law.
The main changes for American citizens visiting Russia are as follows:
- Visas will be issued with validity period of up to 3 years, not as it used to be up to 1 year only;
- Visitors will be allowed to stay on Russian territory for 180 days counted since date of each entry (the limit of stay 90 days within 180 days is no longer applicable)
- An Invitation Letter issued on company letterhead will be sufficient for the visa process instead of Invitation Letters issued by the FMS (immigration authority) – as required until now.
- In case of loss of Passport in Russia American citizen will be able to leave the country holding only ID issued by the correspondent consulate or diplomatic post in Russia, without the need to obtain an exit visa before departure. US consulates are usually able to issue the new Passports for American citizens within just a few days.
- Processing times in Russian consulates for visa issuance should not exceed 15 days, while in urgent cases visas might be issued within 3 business days.
- Visa applications from US citizens should be accepted by the Russian consulates not only in the United States but all over the world, without requesting additional documentation (provided that the applicant has legal right to stay in the country where the application is being processed);
These new regulations should have a positive effect on the cooperation of the two countries and should increase the opportunities to strengthen ties.
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