On the 9th of September 2012, a bilateral Agreement between the Governments of the Russian Federation and the Unites States of America came into force. The agreement simplifies visa procedures for both nationalities wishing to receive a business, private, humanitarian or tourist visa.
The agreement includes these key provisions:
· Three-year, multiple-entry visas will be issued as the standard “default” visa for U.S. citizens visiting Russia and Russian citizens visiting the United States;
· Diplomatic and official visa holders on temporary assignments will receive one-year, multiple-entry visas;
· The agreement streamlines the visa issuance process by reducing the documentation required. For example, the Russian government will no longer require U.S. citizens to provide formal, “registered” invitation letters when applying for Russian business visas or visas for private visits, although applicants seeking Russian tourist visas must continue to hold advance lodging reservations and arrangements with a tour operator;
· Both sides have committed to keeping standard visa processing times under 15 days, although the circumstances of individual cases may require additional processing; and
· The $100 issuance – or reciprocity – fee for Russians issued U.S. visas for business or tourism (visa types B1/B2) will decrease to $20.
Reference: US Department of State
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