Key Points

  • Russia will grant entry for citizens of 52 countries through e-visas on January 1, 2021
  • The e-visa program is an extension of a pilot program launched in 2017
  • The e-visa program will relax entry requirements and enable unrestricted domestic travel
  • E-visas enable travel for business, tourism, and humanitarian reasons
  • E-visas permit a 16-day stay and are valid for 60 days from date of issuance
  • COVID-19 restrictions may impact the use of e-visas


The Russian government plans to start issuing e-visas to nationals from 52 countries on January 1, 2021.


The upcoming e-visa program is an extension of a pilot program that was introduced to Russia in 2017. Initially, the e-visa program limited travel to certain regions within Russia, including the Far Eastern Federal District, St. Petersburg, Leningrad, and Kaliningrad. The 2021 program will significantly expand the scope of travel permitted with Russian e-visas. Along with granting entry to Russia for foreign nationals, the e-visa program will allow domestic travel throughout Russia. E-visa holders must enter through specific ports of entry.

What are the Changes?

The Russian government intends to facilitate travel and ease entry requirements for certain foreign nationals. In the absence of COVID-19 restrictions, the e-visas will grant eligible individuals entry to Russia for 16 days for the purposes of tourism, humanitarian travel, and business travel.

What Should Employers and Applicants Know?

Although individuals will be eligible for the new e-visa on January 1, 2021, they may still face entry restrictions into Russia due to COVID-19. Employers and applicants should monitor travel requirements and restrictions before traveling to Russia. E-visas are valid for 60 days from the date they are issued.

Originally Published by Envoy, November 2020

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