Traveling to Russia should be a little easier after this coming September. On Monday, a long overdue simplification of visa procedures was set in motion when Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the Federal Law On Ratification of the Agreement between the Russian Federation and the United States of America on Simplifying Visa Procedures for Citizens of the Russian Federation and the United States of America. Thankfully travel will now be easier between the two countries.
The new law has been some time in coming, first agreed upon in 2011 with specifics ironed out between the Foreign Ministry of Russia and the State Department of the USA over the past year. The talk of changing the law began when American President Barack Obama visited Russia and the idea was offered by Mr. Putin, who was then the Russian Prime Minister.
In a statement from the Presidential Press Office, the Russian government affirmed that the agreement is intended to make it easier issue business, visitor, humanitarian and tourist visas on the basis of invitation from the receiving party valid for up to 36 months and allowing for stays in the destination country of up to six months from each entry date. Visa applications will be processed within 15 days.
The Agreement also makes it possible to issue multi-entry visas for up to 12 months for short-term official trips with up to three months uninterrupted stay in the destination country from the each entry date.