On December 6 the Federation Council held a round table on "Topical issues of the application of e-visas for foreign citizens staying in the Russian Federation and improvement of the legislation in this area".
The event was organized by the Federation Council Committee on International Affairs, the Federation Council Committee on Social Policy, the Federation Council Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State Building, the Federation Council Committee on Defense and Security. The meeting was attended by Valerii Riazanskii, Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Social Policy, Liudmila Bokova, First Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State Building, Vladimir Dzhabarov, Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on International Affairs, Aleksandr Rakitin, First Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Defense and Security, Igor Fomin, Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Social Policy, Sergei Tsekov, a member of the Federation Council Committee on International Affairs, as well as representatives of regional executive authorities, heads of federal and regional ministries and departments, representatives of the scientific and expert community.
Sergei Ivanov made a report on "Simplification of the visa regime as the main driver of the tourism industry in the Russian Federation".
"In general, the continuous growth of the global tourist flow has been going on for 8 years in a row, - said Sergei Ivanov, - according to a joint study by Ernst & Young, Russia ranks fifth among the most interesting tourist destinations for foreign tourists, but the potential of Russia as a tourist destination is not fully used.
At the same time, neighboring states have embarked on the path of active attraction of foreign tourists. Thus, in Georgia it was decided to cancel visas for the citizens of 104 countries, including the EU and the USA. As a result, in 2016 the number of foreign visitors in Georgia was 19% more". Sergei Ivanov continued: "Now the Russian citizens can freely visit 113 countries: Russians can travel to these countries "without visas" or receive visas right at the airport. There are also 11 countries that issue e-visas to the Russians. At the same time, citizens of only 36 countries can enter Russia without a visa. Among them: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Guyana, Guatemala, Honduras, Dominica, Cuba, Mauritius and other not rich countries.
On July 6, 2018 an agreement on the mutual abolition of visas for the citizens of the UAE and Russia was signed in Kazan, but this agreement still has not entered into force. Intergovernmental agreements on visa-free group travels have been signed with Iran and China, but the agreement with Iran is currently not valid."
The participants of the round table discussed the current practice of issuing e-visas to foreign citizens staying in Russia, the prospects of its extension to a greater number of checkpoints across the state border of the Russian Federation, as well as the expansion of the list of states whose citizens could receive e-visas. The issues of improving the legislation in this sphere were also touched upon.