Russia and US has agreed to simplify visa requirements.

New rules of getting Rusian visa

As of September 9 new visa issuance rules will be in effect for citizens of both countries applying for tourist, business and private visas.

Our analysis of the bi-lateral agreement put into force recently and comments on it shows that US passport holders going to Russia will benefit from the following:

Business visa applicants:
No need to have official letter of invitation.
All visas are multiple-entry for up to 6 month stay for each entry and valid for 3 years. Before the maximum length of Russian business visa validity was 1 year.

Tourist visa applicants:
No need to have official visa support (but proof of hotel and tour bookings are required).
All visas are multiple-entry for up to 6 month stay for each entry and valid for 3 years. Before the maximum length of Russian tourist visa validity was 30 calendar days.

Private visa applicants:
All visas are multiple-entry for up to 6 month stay for each entry and valid for 3 years. Before the maximum length of Russian tourist visa validity was 90 calendar days.

Another advantage is that US citizens may apply for Russian visas in other countries, not only from inside United States as the case now. So, for example, US passport holder on a short visit to Canada may apply at the nearest Russian consulate or through Russian visa center there.

At the same time Russian consulates reserved their right to request any applicant to present additional documents and information to confirm the purpose of the trip, availability of funds, etc. As this part of the requirements is not detailed, the practical implementation of it by consular bureaucrats may in some instances destroy most of the advantages. Russian officials are looking at complete visa-free regime by 2020.

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