President Putin’s signing of an historic U.S.-Russia visa agreement
The U.S. Embassy in Moscow welcomes President Putin’s signing of an historic U.S.-Russia visa agreement on July 30th, 2012. This agreement brings our countries and people closer together by allowing qualified tourist and business travelers from the United States and Russia to receive visas with longer validity periods. These travelers are now eligible to receive, on a reciprocal basis, visas valid for multiple entries during a period of 36 months. The agreement will facilitate travel and establish stronger ties between Russia and the United States, as it will benefit the largest segment of travelers in both our countries: business travelers and tourists.
Thanks to the agreement, three-year, multiple-entry visas for stays of up to six months will become the standard “default” terms for U.S. citizens visiting Russia and Russian citizens visiting the United States. For Americans in Russia, the new six-month limit means that they will be permitted to stay in Russia up to six months instead of the previous restriction limiting stays in Russia to 90 days within any given 180-day period. The agreement eliminates the formal invitation requirement for U.S. citizens visiting Russia, although applicants seeking Russian tourist visas will continue to require advance lodging reservations and arrangements with a tour operator. For Russians, the $100 issuance – or reciprocity – fees will be reduced to $20, and the lower-fee, shorter-validity visa option will no longer be available. The application fee, currently $160, will still apply. Special “exit visas” no longer will be necessary in the case of U.S. citizens who lose their passports while in Russia. U.S. citizens with Russian travel plans are encouraged to monitor Embassy Moscow’s website for additional details concerning this agreement: http://moscow.usembassy.gov/russian-visas.html. U.S. citizens with current Russian visas are reminded that they are still subject to the terms and dates of the visas already in their possession.
This new visa agreement was first announced July 13, 2011. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov exchanged diplomatic notes November 19, 2011, during their meeting in Bali, Indonesia. Once the agreement is published in Rossiyskaya Gazeta, the Russian government’s daily newspaper of record, our governments will exchange a second set of diplomatic notes confirming that our internal procedures for entry into force have been completed. The agreement will come into force 30 days after that exchange. Please monitor Embassy Moscow’s website, Twitter, and Facebook pages for announcements concerning the specific entry-into-force date.