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Russia to introduce free e-visa for Saint Petersburg area from October

Saint Petersburg is about to become easier to visit, with an e-visa for European travelers in the works.

European travelers will soon be able to visit Saint Petersburg and the surrounding areas with an e-visa, the finer administrative details of which should be finalized imminently.

Following a new decree seeking to lighten the bureaucratic load of entering and departing the Russian Federation for foreigners, travelers heading to Russia for tourist, humanitarian or business reasons can visit Peter the Great's former imperial capital by applying online for a free visa, which will be valid for 30 days, and allow an eight-day stay in the Saint Petersburg area. The list of eligible European nationalities has not yet been revealed.

With the launch of the new visa, Russia continues to open its borders to tourism. This follows the introduction of a visa opening the doors to the Kaliningrad enclave, located between Poland and Lithuania. A total of 53 nationalities are eligible for the latter, while citizens of 18 non-European countries (such as Japan and Qatar) are eligible for the Vladivostok area e-visa.

Generally speaking, travelers can visit Russia by applying for a visa through their local Russian diplomatic missions. The document is valid for a maximum stay of thirty days, and conditional upon proof of hotel arrangements from an authorized Russian travel company, or directly from a Russian hotel with the reference number and confirmation number for the visa.