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Welcome to the Russian Far East: visa rules eased for 18 countries

By The Siberian Times reporter
20 April 2017

Aim is to boost tourism and development as country shows its Pacific face, with list including China and Japan.

The new rule is hoped to see a major boost to the number of tourists to the region. Picture: Sergey Orlov

This week has seen the announcement from prime minister Dmitry Medvedev that citizens of 18 countries will be allowed drastically simplified visas to travel to Russia from 1 August 2017. 

The list does not include any EU countries, nor the US and Canada, where political relations are currently cool.

It includes North but not South Korea. 

The inclusion of close neighbours China and Japan is seen especially as leading to soaring numbers of visitors.  

The full list is Algeria, Bahrain, Brunei, India, Iran, Qatar, China, North Korea, Kuwait, Morocco, Mexico, UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Tunisia, Turkey, and Japan.

Medvedev said cancellation of existing visa procedures for tourists and entrepreneurs initially for those entering in Vladivostok 'will help increase the investment and tourism attractiveness of the Far East'.

The government also made clear it was granting the 'privilege' to countries open to reciprocal arrangements. 

The new rule is hoped to see a major boost to the number of tourists to the region, according to the Ministry of Far East Development.

Tourists and entrepreneurs will only be required to fill a form. Picture: Sergey Orlov

'We'd like to see an increase in tourism to the region by at least 30%. Given the fact that every wealthy tourist spends at least $1,000 in the territory, we assume this will significantly increase the opportunities for the development of the region, trade turnover, and currency flows,' said deputy minister for the Development of the Far East, Pavel Volkov.

People on the list will have simplified entry procedures into Russia through the free port of Vladivostok.

Tourists and entrepreneurs will only be required to fill a form on the website of Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

Applications will be approved within four days. 

Electronic single entry visas will be issued directly at the Russian border and will be valid for 30 days.

Later, in 2018, a dozen entry points to Russia in five regions in the Far East will move to e-visas. 

One highlight for tourists is Russia's largest casino complex, Tigre de Cristal, near Vladivostok which since opening in 2015 has already attracted significant interest from the Chinese and other Asian tourists. 

Other casinos are due to open in the same zone. 

Russia is seeking a great leap forward in economic development in its Far East regions. 

Comments (4)

I would love to go there as a tourist :-)
William McLean, Copenhagen, Denmark
22/04/2017 16:29
With beauty all around them, why would any tourist go there for Casino's?
Jaker, Dundalk
21/04/2017 10:35
I do not understand why New Zealand was not included in this new free travel system to the Russian Far East, we are not involved in any political problems with any other Country just quiet Kiwi's. Please extend this privilege to us Down Under !!!
Ian Robertson, New Zealand
21/04/2017 09:28
South Korea has visa-free agreement with russia for several years.
Roman, Germany
20/04/2017 18:06

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