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RUSSIA: New Fingerprinting Procedure

As of December 10, 2014, regardless of the visa type, length of stay, or number of requested entries, all Russian visa applicants must undergo fingerprinting at the Russian consular posts in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Denmark, Myanmar, Namibia, and upon arrival at Moscow's Vnukovo Airport (VKO). On November 24, 2014, President Vladimir Putin signed an order introducing this requirement for Russian consular posts at those locations to gather fingerprints from all foreign nationals applying for visas to enter Russia.

The order is the first step in a government program announced by Evgeniy Ivanov, Director of the Consular Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in February 2014. The aim of the program is to introduce fingerprinting at all Russian consular posts abroad as well as upon entry to Russia. According to Mr. Ivanov, the project should be construed as a sign of visa policy modernization rather than toughening.

The impact on immigration procedures is expected to be minimal, although the introduction of the fingerprinting procedure may affect consular processing times. Applicants scheduled to file for visas at these consular posts should allow sufficient time for the visa application process.

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