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Russia and China renew the visa-free travel agreement

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Moscow, February 20 – Russia and China have renewed the visa-free group tourist agreement, which was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, RBC writes citing sources in the Russian Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Economic Development.
Earlier, Vice President of the Russian Federation of Travel Industry (PCT) and Chairman of the Domestic Tourism Committee Leonid Fleet told the News Agency that the first group of Chinese tourists after the epidemic of 34 people will arrive in Moscow on February 23. They will arrive from Guangzhou, and St. Petersburg was also included in their visit program. He confirmed that visas were issued to all tourists, and the cost was approximately $150 per person. Fleet added that the Russian tour operator Nika and the Chinese company GZL International Travel Service Limited were involved in organizing the arrival of tourists.
“Russia and China have resumed an agreement on group visa-free travel, which was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, following the responses of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Economic Development to a request from RBC. This is a document concluded between the governments of China and Russia in February 2000, allowing tourists organized in a group of Five to 50 people visit a neighboring country on the lists without obtaining a visa and stay there for up to 15 days.

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The representative of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also confirmed to RBC that Chinese citizens can enter the territory of the Russian Federation on the basis of visas “and in a visa-free manner” within the framework of an intergovernmental agreement.
According to the newspaper, in order to allow tourists to enter the Russian territory, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the People’s Republic of China must soon send the Ministry of Economic Development a list of Chinese travel companies that plan to send group tours to Russia. The Ministry of Economic Development will also forward this list to the Border Service. It was determined that the Russian Ministry did not specify the expected dates for the resumption of the visa-free corridor.
Since January 8, 2023, China has lifted a number of anti-COVID restrictions in effect since 2020, including mandatory centralized quarantine and PCR testing upon arrival from abroad. Travelers to China must present a negative PCR test for COVID-19 48 hours before their flight to China. People with a negative test result are no longer required to apply for a “health code” at Chinese diplomatic missions.

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