Russia visa free by train.
I have written previously about a Visa free entry to Russia if you arrive by Cruise Ship or Ferry for up to 72 hours. The Rossiiskaya Gazeta has announced a couple of days ago, that parliament is in discussions to extend this agreement to foreigners, arriving by train to St. Petersburg.
Visa waiver program Russia.
Russia has seen a flood of tourism into the country this past year and many Europeans have made use of the 3-day Visa free agreement. 2.1 Million tourists visited Russia in 2013. The proposed legislation will make Russia more accessible to tourists and increase short-term tourism. If approved this will certainly give the tourism industry a boost. The Cruise Ship legislation was introduced in 2009.
Russia International rail connections.
Russia can easily be reached by rail from Estonia, Belarus, Latvia, Finland, Ukraine, Mongolia Lithuania and North Korea. This will be the ideal opportunity for Nationals from these countries to visit Russia for 72-hours visa free.
The Bill will be presented to Parliament on 11 February. If passed then a list will be made available of nationals eligible to enter Russia under this new law. A list of the Railway stations will also be published.
72-hour Visa Free for Tourists arriving by plane.
More good news for tourists. A first reading of proposed legislation to allow foreigners entry into Russia for 72 hours when arriving by plane, has been passed in parliament. This will apply to 11 major airports including Moscow Airports, St. Petersburg and Kazan. You have to purchase a ticket on a Russian carrier like Aeroflot for example.
This will not apply to nationals from all countries. The proposed list includes countries such as Germany, China, United States, United Kingdom, Sweden, Italy, France, Spain, South Korea, Japan, Poland, Canada, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Finland, Singapore, Australia and Greece.
Reaction of other travellers to the proposed law.
I was surprised to see so much negativity among forum users. Many people feel that 72 hours is not enough because Russia is such a big country. Russia is a huge country but this is not the reason why this bill is being proposed. It focuses on short-term tourism and to make the major cities more accessible.
Maybe you have a long stop-over in one of these cities and want to step out of the airport. If you live in Europe and have dreamt of visiting Moscow or St. Petersburg for a couple of days, then this is an opportunity. If you want to stay longer in Russia, then it is best to apply for a normal visa.