On mediation and common mistakes in applying for an electronic visa

On mediation and common mistakes in applying for an electronic visa for visiting certain regions of the Russian Federation

We carefully monitor the situation with obtaining electronic visas for visiting certain regions of the Russian Federation. We also noticed the recent appearance of a number of publications about various websites of travel agencies and dubious intermediaries who earn money by providing services for issuing electronic visas to the Russian Federation. The cost of such services is quite significant and varies from 15 to 40 euros. Of course, we do not in any way dispute the right of foreign citizens to spend their savings at their own discretion, but we would like to recall that the abovementioned electronic visa for visiting certain regions of Russia is issued free of charge and is issued exclusively on the specialized website of the Russian Foreign Ministry evisa.kdmid.ru.
 No invitations, confirmations of hotel reservation or any other documents confirming the purpose of the trip to the Russian Federation are required to obtain it.

Processing time to issue an electronic visa does not exceed 4 calendar days from the date of submission of the completed application. Therefore, any promises of intermediary structures to expedite the consideration of the application and get an “urgent visa” for extra payment, cannot be fulfilled. In addition, an intermediary, who applies for an electronic visa on behalf of another person, is also not immune to errors in filling in personal data, which may lead to refusal in entry to Russia for a foreign traveler.

It should also be remembered that an electronic visa, as well as a paper visa, does not guarantee entry into the Russian Federation. The final decision on the entry of a foreign citizen into the country is taken at the border checkpoint, which generally corresponds to the best international practices.

There are a lot of comments in the media regarding difficulties in crossing the state border, expulsion of foreign citizens from Russia due to errors in their electronic visas or overstaying. Analysis of these reasons shows that almost all of them are connected with common carelessness and ignorance of the electronic visa application instruction, which is an integral part of the visa application process. It provides detailed explanations with examples on the correct filling of names and surnames, including how to enter letters with diacritics, and other personal data. A large section of the instruction is devoted to the correct calculation of the length of stay and date of departure of a foreigner from Russia in order to avoid administrative responsibility for violation of Russian immigration law.

In conclusion, we would like to highlight that an electronic visa is issued on the basis of a personal application of a foreign citizen, not intermediary structures, and the traveling experience depends on the correctness of its completion.