According to several Russian news sources, the government of Russia is planning a significant increase in visa fees for the visitors from all 27 European Union member-countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. Russia’s move is apparently in retaliation for the EU and non-EU countries’ withdrawal from travel agreements with Russian Federation, after it launched an unprovoked full-scale war of aggression against neighboring Ukraine.
All of the countries listed in new scheme have already been designated ‘unfriendly states’ by Putin’s regime for imposing sanctions and carrying out various ‘anti-Russian activities’.
The visa fee increase was initially proposed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and has already been approved by the government commission.
Under the new scheme, visa fees for the visitors from the European countries listed in the proposal will increase from the current $37-$73 (€35-€70) to $50-$300 (€48-€286), depending on the type of entry permit requested.
According to Russian Foreign Ministry, new scheme would allow it to more than double its income from issuing entry permits to European visitors.
Also, the Russian visa waiver program will no longer cover several categories of visitors from these countries, under new regulation. This includes the close relatives of Russian citizens, officials, students, athletes, people involved in scientific and cultural activities, and those traveling to Russia for humanitarian reasons such as medical treatment or to attend a funeral.
The Foreign Ministry stated however that the visitors from the European countries listed in new scheme will still be eligible for electronic visas (e-visas), which were introduced by Russia two months ago.
The e-visa application process takes four days and involves using a dedicated website or mobile app. It costs around $52 (€50) and allows foreigners to stay in Russian Federation for around two weeks as a tourist, guest, or business visitor.