The new rules for entering the Russian Federation through border checkpoints in St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region enter into effect on October 1, 2019.

The new rules state that, starting October 1, 2019, nationals of 53 foreign states can get an electronic visa ("e-visa") to enter the Russian Federation by any mode of transport other than rail through checkpoints in St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region. For example, it will be possible to use an e-visa to enter by air through Pulkovo, St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region's only airport; to enter by ship through the port of Vysotsk and Big Port St. Petersburg (the Marine Station) and the Passenger Port of St. Petersburg; and to enter by car through the checkpoints at Ivangorod, Torfyanovka, Brusnichnoye and Svetogorsk.

Foreign nationals entering St. Petersburg or the Leningrad Region on an e-visa should remember that e-visas are issued for up to 30 days with a permitted stay in Russia of not more than eight days. A one-time business, tourist or humanitarian e-visa is issued depending on the planned purpose of the trip.

A foreign national can obtain an e-visa by visiting the special website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and completing an application no later than four days before the proposed date of entering Russia. It is not necessary to visit Russian Federation consular offices or to submit any invitations or confirmations to obtain an e-visa. There are also no fees for an e-visa. All you need to do is complete the e-visa application, get a notification on the website or by email that the e-visa has been issued, print out the notification and present it to a person working for the transportation company and to a Russian border guard service employee at the checkpoint.

As already mentioned, e-visas are available for nationals from only 53 states to enter the Russian Federation through the checkpoints in St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region. The list includes all EU countries except the United Kingdom, and most other European countries (the Vatican and some Balkan nations), China (including Taiwan), Japan and Persian Gulf countries other than Iraq. Please note that the United States of America is not on the list. The list of foreign states whose nationals can apply for an e-visa can also be found on the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

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