On July 6, 2012 the State Duma of the Russian Federation ratified an agreement between the Russian Federation and the United States of America “On the simplification of visa formalities for citizens of both countries”.
The agreement is intended to create favourable conditions for travel as well as for the development of economic, cultural, scientific and humanitarian ties between the two countries.
From the Russian side, the agreement concerns the conditions for the granting of business, private, humanitarian and tourist visas. From the American side, the agreement concerns the granting of the category B1 and B2 visas; and from both sides, the agreement governs functions of short-term official travel.
Under the terms of the agreement:
1) Citizens of each country entering (in transit, exiting or situated) on the territory of the other are to have:
· a valid passport entitling them to cross the border
· a valid visa, except in cases whereby they are exempt from the requirement of obtaining a visa in accordance with domestic legislation of the state of entry.
2) Diplomatic missions and consular offices makes decisions on visa applications and the granting of visas within 15 calendar days from the day an application was submitted. Besides that, the amount of time it takes to make a decision on a visa application and the granting of a visa can either be
· reduced by 3 working days or less in the event it is urgent, or
· extended, if the application requires addition time to be reviewed.
A citizen may submit an application for a visa while he/she is situated on the territory of a third state to the appropriate diplomatic mission or consular office.
3) Multi-entry visas are issued for period of stay for no longer than 6 months from the date of each entry and are valid for period of 36 months from the date the visa was issued.
· Visas are issued without the presentation of documents required in accordance with domestic legislation of the country of entry.
· However, in addition to the visa application, the diplomatic mission or consular office can request additional information relating to confirmation of reasons or the purpose of the travel and the availability of sufficient funds while staying on the territory of the state.
4) Forshort-termofficialtripscitizens are issued visas for a period of stay not longer than 3 months from the date of each entry and are valid for a period of 12 months from the date the visa is issued and is subject to the principle of reciprocity.
5) In the event of a loss of a passport while staying on the territory of another state, a citizen may travel or depart without a visa or other authorized documents based on replacement documents issued to him by his diplomatic mission or consular office on the territory of the other country.