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The unified electronic visa in Russia will be introduced from the beginning of 2021. The decree on the procedure for registration was approved by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin. It will be possible to apply for a visa on a specially created website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as using a mobile application.

As reported on the website of the Russian Government, a visa can be obtained for tourist, business, humanitarian and guest trips. A foreign citizen will not need invitations, hotel reservations or any other documents confirming the purpose of the trip.

“It is enough to fill out a questionnaire, upload a personal photo and a copy of your passport, pay a consular fee of $ 40 (for children under 6 years old - free of charge) and wait for notification,” said about the procedure.

The processing time is no more than four days. The visa will be valid for 60 days from the date of receipt. It is allowed to stay on it in Russia no more than 16 days. It is also noted that when crossing the Russian borders, a foreign citizen must present a printed notice of an electronic visa and a foreign passport. In 2019, Saint Petersburg and the Leningrad Region became subjects of the Russian Federation, which foreign tourists could get to using an electronic visa. In the same year, the Kaliningrad region joined the project. In 2017, the e-visa began to operate in the Far Eastern Federal District.

“Thanks to the decision of the President and the Government of the Russian Federation, unprecedented for the tourism sector, from 2021 the mechanism of a unified electronic visa will be launched across the country. Its prerequisite was, among other things, an experiment with the use of an electronic visa on the territory of Saint Petersburg and the Leningrad Region, launched in October 2019 at the initiative of the Governor of Saint Petersburg Alexander Beglov. Saint Petersburg is one of the leading tourist destinations in the world. The city is ready to offer its guests an all-season vacation: tourists can find something to their liking both in summer and in winter. Our city is a kind of bridge between Russia and the world, from here the routes "Silver Necklace of Russia", river cruises "Russian North", "Golden Ring - Moscow" and many others begin. Thanks to the entry into force of a single e-visa, all these routes are available within 16 days of a possible stay in our country, ”said Sergey Korneev, Chairman of the Saint Petersburg Committee for Tourism Development.

According to the head of the department, the main task now is to conduct a serious information campaign to popularize a single e-visa and marketing the city in 52 countries, from which citizens will be able to arrive in the northern capital under a simplified visa scheme. As Sergei Korneev stated earlier - “Information works for a long time, so the campaign will take place in several stages. This will allow tourism organizations and potential travelers from 52 countries to familiarize themselves with the new opportunities of Saint Petersburg in advance and take into account the availability of a single electronic visa in planning sales and trips by the time the countries actively begin to open their borders for international tourism. We must have time to take part in the distribution of tourist flows by the time the pandemic weakens”.

The introduction of an electronic visa in Saint Petersburg in 2019 played a significant role in increasing the tourist flow. This year, the Northern capital was visited by 10.4 million tourists. More than 4.9 million of them are citizens of foreign countries, 5.5 million are Russians. Compared to 2018, the tourist flow increased by 26.8%. Since the start of the pilot project and until the introduction of restrictive measures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued more than 151,000 electronic visas to visit Saint Petersburg and the Leningrad Region. The TOP-5 countries, whose citizens have issued the most electronic visas for the specified period, include Estonia, France, Latvia, Germany and Finland.

The list of countries whose citizens will be able to use the e-visa in 2021 was previously published. These include: Austria, Andorra, Bahrain, Belgium, Bulgaria, Vatican, Hungary, Germany, Greece, Denmark, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Iceland, Spain, Italy, Cyprus, China (including Taiwan), Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, North Macedonia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia , Turkey, Philippines, Finland, France, Croatia, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Sweden, Estonia and Japan.

It should be noted that the cost of issuing a single electronic visa to Russia will be $ 40. For children under 6 years old, the visa will be issued free of charge. The list of border points through which it will be possible to enter the Russian Federation includes 29 points and is published on the website of the Government of the Russian Federation. In Saint Petersburg, this is an air checkpoint - Pulkovo international airport, sea checkpoints - Big Port of Saint Petersburg and Passenger Port of Saint Petersburg. The list will be supplemented with new border posts as they are equipped with the necessary equipment.

Tourism is one of the drivers of economic development in Saint Petersburg and it shows outrunning growth. In 2019 alone, tourists spent 376.8 billion rubles in the city. The contribution of tourism to the economy amounted to 4.4% of the GRP. Tourism is 12% of all exports of Saint Petersburg and 44.5% of its non-energy non-resource exports, while tourism is the most environmentally friendly export. The employment of the population in the hospitality industry in the normal season is more than 107 thousand people, in the high season this figure rises to 300 thousand, and in total, up to 500 thousand people are associated with tourism and related industries during the peak period.

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