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As of August 1st 2017, Russia has started issuing e-visas to citizens of 18 countries, for visiting Russia’s far east. The Russia e-visa is part of an initiative by the The Ministry for Development of the Russian Far East to boost tourism and development.
New Russia e-Visa
The new e-visa will be valid for visiting Russia’s far east regions of Primorye, Khabarovsk, Sakhalin, Chukotka and Kamchatka. E-Visa applications can be made online and will be processed within 3 days. This e-visa will allow travelers to enter Russia through the border crossing in the Free Port of Vladivostok or Vladivostok International Airport (VVO). Russia hopes to add 3 more entry points by January 2018. The e-visa is applicable for visits up to 8 days, and will be valid for 30 days from date of issue. For visits longer than 8 days, visitors are expected to apply for the regular Russian tourist visas.
Citizens of the following countries are eligible to apply for the free Russia e-visa:
- North Korea
- Saudi Arabia
- United Arab Emirates
E-visa applications can be accessed online through Russian embassy websites of the respective countries listed above.
Getting to Vladivostok (VVO)
Vladivostok International Airport is well connected to small and major city hubs of the region. Notably, Korean Airways (KE) serves VVO with daily direct flights from Seoul (ICN). KE is an Alaska partner and that opens up interesting redemption opportunity from North America. Obviously only for those that are citizens of above mentioned countries and can leverage the free Russia e-visa program. Nor surprisingly, Aeroflot is the primary airline for VVO and has extensive connectivity across Russia, East and South East Asia.
The Moscow Times did a great feature on 6 Places You Need to Visit on Russia’s Free Far East E-Visa
While Russia’s far east may not be everybody’s choice of vacation, I think the free Russia e-visa for citizens of 18 countries is a significant step towards promoting tourism within the region. I am definitely intrigued and travel pictures from the region look incredible! I hope to leverage my Indian citizenship and take advantage of this e-visa program.