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Russia approves the visa regime for 19 countries, including Turkey

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Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin approved a decree that will make it possible to facilitate the visa regime for citizens of 19 countries, including Turkey.

Citizens of the designated countries may get a tourist visa for up to six months if they have a hotel reservation, read the decree posted on the government portal on Tuesday.

Facilitating countries are Bahrain, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Laos, Malaysia, Mexico, Myanmar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Thailand, Turkey and the Philippines.

Speaking before the Russian Parliament on February 15, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced that Russia plans to introduce a visa-free regime with 11 countries in the near future, as well as a visa-facilitation regime with six countries.

He said that the State Department will publish a report by June 1 on the possibility of offering electronic visas to citizens of 70 other countries, and pledged that “there will be no problems for friendly countries.”

Russia introduced visa requirements for ordinary Turkish passport holders from 1 April 2016, and expanded the requirements for Turkish citizens with service and special passports as well. The restrictions were imposed after Turkey shot down a Russian Su-24 fighter jet for violating the country’s airspace in 2015.

In July 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to send notice to Turkish officials about this partial restoration of visa-free travel for official and service passport holders as well as for international transport drivers.

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