Relatives of Russian citizens will now be able to obtain simplified Russian visas valid for up to 12 months, the Russian government announced Wednesday.
Currently, the spouses and children of Russian citizens can obtain visas that are valid for up to three months. The newly announced rules will allow the relatives to stay in Russia to renew their visas.
“Today, we will simplify the procedure for issuing ordinary private visas… for our citizens’ close relatives,” Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said at a cabinet session.
The 12-month visas will be available to children and spouses, as well as to the parents, grandparents, grandchildren and siblings of Russian citizens, he added.
“These relatives could apply for long-term private visas valid for up to one year,” Mishustin said.
All they would need is a written form submitted by a family member who is a Russian citizen.
The relatives of Russian citizens will also no longer need to cross the Russian border every three months to retain their right to renew their visas, the prime minister added.
“That will create more comfortable conditions for families who are divided by borders” that are shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic, Mishustin said.
At the start of Russia’s Covid-19 outbreak in March, the Interior Ministry allowed foreign nationals to extend their current or expired visas without leaving the country.
Russia Announces Travel Bans Against EU Officials Over Navalny
Russia said Tuesday it was hitting several EU representatives with tit-for-tat sanctions in response to penalties imposed by the bloc over the poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
The Foreign Ministry said that in response to “confrontational” EU actions, it had “decided to expand the list of representatives of EU member states and institutions who will be denied entry to the Russian Federation.”
The counter sanctions were announced after Moscow summoned senior diplomats from three EU countries where labs concluded Navalny was poisoned in August with Novichok, a Soviet-designed nerve agent.
German, French and Swedish representatives were called to the Foreign Ministry in “connection with the introduction of EU anti-Russian sanctions,” a spokeswoman told AFP.
The European diplomats did not make public statements.
The new sanctions came a day after Navalny said he had tricked a Russian agent into admitting the Federal Security Service (FSB) tried to kill him by placing poison inside his underwear.
The FSB late Monday described evidence in Navalny’s claims as “fake” and said he was aided by foreign intelligence services.
Navalny, 44, fell violently ill during a flight from Siberia to Moscow in August and was hospitalized in the city of Omsk before being transported to Berlin by medical aircraft.
In a statement earlier this week, the Russian Foreign Ministry repeated claims that EU countries had refused to cooperate with Russia over a probe into the incident.
Moscow has repeatedly denied allegations its security services played a role in the incident.