Moscow Mulls Lifting Visa Requirements for Short Visits

PHOTO by omur12 / Depositphotos

The Government of Moscow recently informed the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs that they are considering lifting visa requirements for foreign tourists planning to visit the country’s capital for a short period of time. RIA Novosti cited the words of Anatoly Valetov, head of the Department for External Economic and International Relations of Moscow, in their report on the potential plan.

While speaking at an international tourism forum in Athens, Valetov spoke of this and other plans to make Moscow a more accessible destination for tourists. Asked whether there were any plans to develop a “weekend city break” programme for the Russian capital, a programme already in place in such large metropolitan areas as Shanghai and Beijing, Valetov replied by saying that Moscow is a “prisoner of federal policy.”

“It would be wonderful if Moscow could launch a similar programme,” Valetov said. “We have already sent several initiatives to the [Russian] Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It may be that the decision is taking so long to reach because of the overall political situation, but it is definitely being looked into. The idea has not been officially revoked.”

Valetov also said that the idea that Russian visas were hard to get was nothing more than a myth. According to Valetov, foreign tourists should have no problems getting permission to enter Russia, and a visa can take as few as three days to get.

Moscow was recently listed as one of the world’s top ten cities to visit according to Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2017.