Nov 02 2007

New Russian visa restrictions

Published by at 10:57 am under World Tour 2008

It looks like the Russian government has recently introduced tougher visa restrictions:

Up until last month (October 2007) it was relatively easy to get a multi-entry 12 months business visa even for tourism purposes, no questions asked. That’s what most long distance cycle tourists opted for.

The new restrictions now impose the following:

  • A 12 months multi-entry business visa is only valid for 90 consecutive days and no more than a total of 180 days per year in the country.
  • Multi-entry visas can only be issued to people who have already been issued a Russian visa in the past.
  • Foreigners applying for a visa must do so in their own country, or any country where they are permanent resident or have the right to live for 90 days. In practice this should mean that EU citizens can apply anywhere in the EU.

Therefore it is now impossible to get any visa to travel any longer than 90 consecutive days in Russia.

3 months would be enough for me to cycle without too many detours from St Petersburg to the Mongolian border near Irkutsk (about 6-7000km). However I will need to change my plans about studying Russian in St Petersburg for 2 months…

You gotta love these Russian bureaucrats, although to be fair I don’t think the UK or French visa restrictions for Russian citizens are any more lenient. Restrictions on immigration are more popular than ever in any country… I find this rather hypocritical in a world where “global economy” is the rule.

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