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'Siberia is a home to the cultures of indigenes, including people whose ancestors migrated to the Americas'
A.J. Haywood

Glimpse Siberia without a visa - historic move to boost tourism

By The Siberian Times reporter
03 November 2013

Transit passengers from 20 countries will be allowed 72 hours in Russia without the hassle of obtaining a visa.

It is possibly the first time since early in Soviet times that visas have been waived in this way. Picture: Alexander Ermolitskiy

The new visa-free stays will apply to Novosibirsk, the largest city in Siberia, and two key Far East hubs in the Russian Far East, Vladivostok and Khabarovsk.

Visitors must have onward bookings with major Russian airlines like Aeroflot and Transaero or Siberian carriers such as S7 and UTair.

The exemptions - which allow for short visa free visits - apply to citizens of 20 countries including the US and major European Union countries such as Germanny, France, Italy, the UK and Spain.

Of special significance to Siberia, the rules will apply to foreigners passing through Novosibirsk, Khabarovsk and Vladivostok from China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and Singapore. The full list is: Germany, China, the United States, Great Britain, Sweden, Italy, France, Spain, South Korea, Japan, Poland, Canada, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Finland, Singapore, Australia and Greece.

Transit passengers will require a valid passport or identity card, a hotel booking and medical insurance. 

It is possibly the first time since early in Soviet times that visas have been waived in this way. 

Ergaki National Park, Krasnoyarsk region, Siberia

The new visa-free stays will apply to Novosibirsk, the largest city in Siberia, and two key Far East hubs in the Russian Far East, Vladivostok and Khabarovsk. Picture: Alexander Ermolitskiy

The move is intended to boost tourism and this may lead to pressure to put Irkutsk - the main hub for Lake Baikal and an especially surprising omission - and Krasnoyarsk on the list.

The full list of airports on this list is: Sheremetyevo, Domodedovo, Vnukovo in Moscow, Pulkovo (St. Petersburg), Kazan (Kazan), Knevichi (Vladivostok), Koltsovo (Yekaterinburg), Khrabrovo (Kaliningrad), Tolmachevo (Novosibirsk), Adler-Sochi (Sochi) and Khabarovsk-Novy (Khabarovsk).

'The same visa-free rules are applied for foreign tourists, who arrive in Russia onboard specialised cruise liners and ferryboats,' said notes concerning the rule change. 'The introduction of the visa-free regime of stay in Russia for foreign tourists, who arrive by air, can bring a considerably larger result and economic effect,' said the authors of the resolution which was approved by the Russian government. 

The move is seen as boosting tourism to Russia by 60% and bring substantial additional revenue to hotels in the named cities. An estimate claimed it could boost Aeroflot revenue by $932. The Russian government estimates a 60% rise in foreign arrivals.

Russian - and especially Siberian - tourist numbers are seen as far lower than they could be. Despite its size and unquestioned tourist potential, Russia's tourist visits ranks on roughly the same level as Loas, Costa Rica and Honduras.

Comments (7)

So, how long will it be before this happens?
I am currently in Tel Aviv, thinking about a trip to Thailand before I go home in March
I found a routing with a good S7 fare from Tel Aviv to DME to Novosibirsk to Bangkok.
There is a 9 hour connection at DME, and a 23 1/2 hour connection at OVB
Michael, Las Vegas, USA
24/01/2014 14:07
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Irkutsk definitely needs to be on the list, as Lake Baikal is arguably the biggest draw for tourism in Siberia. Of course, I could be partial. :)
Karla Ford, Irkutsk, Siberia
22/11/2013 18:07
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This is a great step forward The visa hassle and expense has long been a barrier tourism in your country. Aeroflot often has significantly lower fares (sometimes by $300 US) between Los Angeles and London, but there is a layover at Sheremetyevo of up to 16 hours. The opportunity to visit Moscow for a day or two without the expensive and time-consuming process of obtaining a visa makes this routing far more appealing. The only flaw I see in this is that the time period is too short. It's also time for my country to ease up on some of the 9/11 paranoia and make the process of visiting the US less burdensome.
Gene, Los Angeles
17/11/2013 15:06
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starting when?
Interested Tourist, Calgary, Canada
13/11/2013 08:52
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"It is possibly the first time since early in Soviet times that visas have been waived in this way".

It is not. Last time Luzhniki hosted Champions League Finals (Chelsea vs Man Utd) anyone could enter the country with only a ticket to the match.
Nikolay, Troitsk
07/11/2013 01:52
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Also it is needed for tourists from the World to know about this opportunity with commercials from the Russian National Tourist Office.
Enrique, Spain
05/11/2013 08:56
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Also it is needed for tourists from the World to know about this opportunity with commercials from the Russian National Tourist Office.
Enrique, Spain
05/11/2013 08:55
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