Travelling has become more and more convenient these days. There are more options of means of transportation, fares are relatively cheaper than years ago since budget flights were established and it is now possible to visit foreign countries without visas. The last point is probably something every traveler dreams of, because getting a visa could be a real hassle that takes time and not every request would be granted. How about Russia? We know that the number of people who wish to travel to Russia grows every year, but is it possible to have a vacation in the country without visa? Let’s find out.
What is a Visa?
Before we go further, say this is your first time reading about travel papers; it would be fair to take a brief look about what a visa is all about. A visa is an authorization issued by the immigration of a territory to a foreigner to allow them to enter the territory for certain purposes at a certain length of time. So, not everyone who owns a passport can freely visit every place around the world. It is the visa that determines the possibility.
There are many types of visa divided by the purpose and method of issue. The purposes of visa include transit visas – for travelers who only pass through the country, short-stay or visitor visas – the tourist visa is under this classification, long stay visas – for students, temporary worker, residence, and asylum, immigrant visas – for them who intend to settle permanently, and official visas – for government personnel. The method of issue classifies visas into on-arrival visas – also known as VOA (Visa On Arrival) that can be granted at the entrance point of a territory instead of at the embassy, and electronic visa that is linked to the passport number so there is no physical form of it such as stickers, stamps, or papers.
Why Some Countries Are Visa-Free and The Others Are Not?
The visa-free policy around the world doesn’t apply equally for every country. For example, the holder of USA, Canada, and Australia passports can stay visa free within the Schengen zone (that includes 26 European countries) for 90 days, while the UK citizens can stay for as long as they want within the zone without any visas required. In a simple way, we can say that each passport has its own level of “strength” that would then determine which countries the holder may enter without a visa. There are several things that decide how far a passport can go; diplomatic treaties and relations between countries, trade links, and economic and political stability. Now you can start to see the big picture of how this visa-free policy works.
Which Countries Are Allowed to Enter Russia Without Visas?
A Russian visa is a machine-readable sticker designed to be pasted into a passport. The name of the visa holder is transcribed in Cyrillic. The field headings are given in Russian and English, however, the fields are filled in only in Russian. The machine-readable strip contains the spelling of the name in transliteration of the Cyrillic alphabet into Latin, which may differ from the spelling of the name in the corresponding field of the visa. Citizens of several countries do not need a visa to enter the Russian Federation, but in most cases their stay in Russia is limited. To enter Russia for a longer period, a visa is required. As per 2019, there are 34 countries that are included in the visa-free regime:
- Argentina (for visits of up to 90 days in any 180-day period (starting from the day of first entry))
- Bolivia (for visits of up to 90 days)
- Bosnia and Herzegovina (up to 30 days for tourists and up to 90 days for other visitors).
- Brazil (for visits of up to 90 days in any 180-day period) – for tourists, private visits or transit purposes only.
- Brunei (for visits of up to 14 days) – Diplomatic and Service passport holders only
- Chile (for visits of up to 90 days in any 180-day period)
- Columbia (for visits of up to 90 days in any 180-day period)
- Croatia (up to 30 days for tourists and up to 90 days for other visitors).
- Dominican Republic (for visits of up to 90 days) – Diplomatic and Service passport holders only
- Hong Kong (for visits of up to 14 days)
- Iceland (for visits of up to 90 days) – Diplomatic and Service passport holders only
- Israel (for visits of up to 90 days)
- Kirghiz Republic
- Macedonia (up to 30 days for tourists and up to 90 days for other visitors)
- Montenegro (for visits of up to 30 days)
- Mozambique (for visits of up to 30 days) – Diplomatic and Service passport holders only
- Nicaragua (for visits of up to 90 days)
- Peru (for visits of up to 90 days in any 180-day period)
- Panama (up to 90 days in any 180-day period)
- Paraguay (up to 90 days in any 180-day period)
- Serbia (the visa-free regime does not apply to Yugoslavian passport holders)
- The Republic of South Africa (for visits of up to 90 days)
- Thailand (for visits of up to 90 days) – Diplomatic and Service passport holders only. Holders of ordinary passports can stay for up to 30 days
- Uruguay (up to 90 days in any 180-day period)
- Venezuela (for visits of up to 90 days). The visa-free regime does not apply to Diplomatic and Service passport holders
The countries not mentioned above should apply for visa in advance – at the Russian embassy in the passport holder’s country, or upon arrival. So, yes, you can have a vacation in Russia without a visa, but only if your country is listed on the visa-free regime.