Russia Approves New Visa Regime for 19 Countries Including India, Restart eVisa

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Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has signed legislation allowing citizens of 19 countries, including India, to travel without a visa. The move is intended to increase tourism to Russia and boost the country’s economy.

Facilitated Visa Regime for 19 Countries

According to the decree published on the government portal, citizens of 19 countries, including India, Bahrain, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Iran, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mexico, Myanmar, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Türkiye, and the Philippines, may obtain a tourist visa for up to six months if they have a hotel reservation.

Russia Plans to Introduce Visa-Free Travel for Friendly Countries

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced last week that Russia intends to implement visa-free travel for citizens of up to 11 “friendly” countries, as well as relax entry requirements for citizens of six others.

Lavrov also stated that the country intends to restart the e-visa programme it implemented before the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is worth noting that the Electronic visas were approved three years ago, then Covid intervened, and then we lifted the Covid restrictions last summer. Still, given the West’s hostile actions, including in the area of issuing visas to Russians, the government was directed to report by June 1 on the possibility of beginning the implementation of previously adopted decisions on the issuance of electronic visas.

Logistical Restrictions Affecting Tourism Volume

According to the most recent data from the Russian Federation’s Federal Security Service’s Border Guard Service, foreign tourist flow to the country fell by 96.1 per cent in 2022.

Lavrov stated that the volume of tourism in Russia was affected by logistical constraints rather than visa issues. The decision to discontinue direct flights has complicated logistics.

Tourist Traffic from India to Moscow

Between 2016 and 2019, Indian tourists visiting Moscow increased from 61,000 to over a lakh. By 2021, traffic had recovered to 40% of pre-pandemic levels. Interestingly, they discovered that 48% of Indian visitors to Moscow in 2021 returned twice that year.


The decision to ease visa requirements and allow visa-free travel for citizens of friendly countries, including India, is a positive step towards promoting tourism in Russia. Russia hopes to attract more tourists and boost its economy, which has been severely impacted by the pandemic, by relaxing visa restrictions.

The reintroduction of the e-visa scheme is also expected to simplify the visa application process and make it easier for tourists to plan trips to Russia.

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