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RUSSIA: Bilateral Agreement Between Russian Federation & U.S.

On September 9, 2012, a bilateral agreement between the governments of the Russian Federation and the United States came into force. The proposed agreement simplifies visa procedures for persons of both nationalities wishing to receive a business, private, humanitarian, or tourist visa. The full terms of the agreement have not been finalized.

The main points of the agreement include:

  • Visas should be issued within 15 calendar days. In urgent cases, visas may be issued within 3 business days
  • Visas are valid for up to 3 years and allow a stay of up to 6 months at a time (as opposed to the current limit of 90 days)
  • No official invitation issued by an authority is required. However, the consulate may require documents confirming the purpose of travel and the availability of sufficient funds
  • If a passport is lost, persons of either nationality may leave the other country without an exit visa, provided an identification document is issued by the appropriate consulate or diplomatic post
  • Visa applications may be filed at consulates and diplomatic posts of Russia or the United States located in a country different from that of the person's citizenship or permanent residence.
It is unclear when these provisions will come into effect, but this agreement is expected to greatly simplify visa processes between Russia and the United States.

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