Russia Is Offering Malaysians A Free E-Visa So They Can Visit St Petersburg
Beginning 1 October, tourists from 53 countries will be able to visit Russia's cultural capital, St Petersburg, and its surrounding regions on an electronic visa
Besides Malaysia, the other countries in the list include India, China, Indonesia, Singapore, Japan, as well as all European Union member states other than the United Kingdom.
With the e-visa, foreign citizens will be able to travel for a maximum of eight days within St Petersburg and the surrounding Leningrad region
According to Russia Visa Online, applicants will not be charged a consular fee because an e-visa is free, unlike a standard tourist visa which, according to Russia Beyond, costs about 65 euros (approximately RM300).
The e-visas can be used for business, tourist, or humanitarian purposes. A regular visa would have to be obtained for other cases.
Applicants will need to fill out a form on the website of the Consular Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry and upload a photograph.
The application should also be made no later than four days and no earlier than 20 days before the expected date of entry. The e-visa is valid for 30 days from the date of issuance.
This e-visa programme was a decree signed by President Vladimir Putin in an attempt to increase Russia's annual tourism revenue
According to The Moscow Times, tourists around the world have often cited difficulties with obtaining visas as a barrier to visiting Russia.
In response, Putin had promised to offer e-visas to foreign visitors by 2021, while vying to collect USD15.5 billion (approximately RM64.7 billion) by the end of his presidential term in 2024.
Regions that can be entered with the e-visa will be gradually expanded, according to Russia Beyond. In July this year, e-visas for travel to Kaliningrad and its surrounding regions were also introduced to 53 different nationalities.
Beginning 2020, a new immigration process will be implemented for Malaysians travelling to EU countries: