Starting from August 1, Russia is now offering an e-visa application service. The option is available to residents of 55 countries. E-visas are valid for 60 days from the date of issue. They allow stays in Russia of up to 16 days by tourists or business travelers, as well as for participation in scientific, cultural, sporting, and other events. To obtain them, travelers must complete the application on the website of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs no later than 4 calendar days before the planned trip. Visa-free group tours with China have been launched. The tours will be available for tourist groups of 5 to 50 people – they can visit Russia without visas. Russia already has a visa-free regime in place with a number of countries including several former Soviet Republics such as Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Citizens of Israel, the Maldives, Qatar, South Korea, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, and a number of other countries can also enter the Russian Federation visa-free.
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