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Russian e-visas now open to Taiwan

TaipeiTimes – Taiwanese would soon be eligible for short-stay, single-entry visas to Russia through its new electronic visa issuance program, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official said yesterday.

Russia has included Taiwan in a list of foreign countries from which passport holders are eligible for its unified e-visa program, Department of West Asian and African Affairs Director Yang Syin-yi (楊心怡) told a regular news briefing.

Yang did not say exactly when the program would begin.

Its original launch date was set for Friday last week, but it remains in limbo due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a notice on the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ consular department Web site said.

The e-visa program was first announced in Taiwan by the Moscow-Taipei Coordination Commission on Economic and Cultural Cooperation in October last year, Yang said.

People can contact the commission for details on the program’s launch date and application requirements, he said.

Once the program begins, tourists and businesspeople would be able to apply for a Russian unified e-visa online for US$40, with children under six free of charge, he said.

The e-visas would be valid for 60 days, with their holders allowed to stay for up to 16 days in Russia, Yang said.

The Russian government in 2017 initiated an e-visa project that allowed visitors to enter only specified regions of the country, the Russian News Agency reported on Friday last week.

However, under the new program, visitors would be allowed to travel throughout Russia, the report said.

Taiwan has offered visa-free entry to holders of Russian passports since September 2018, Yang said, adding that the privileges have been extended twice due to the positive effect on tourist arrivals from Russia.

Russian tourists are allowed to enter Taiwan without applying for a visa and stay for up to 21 days, he said.

Russian visitors to Taiwan totaled 14,927 in 2019, a year-on-year increase of 407.55 percent, ministry data showed.

Travel to Russia is permitted at this time, Yang said.

Foreign nationals entering Russia for work need to quarantine for 14 days, while people entering for other purposes do not need to quarantine, but have to present a negative COVID-19 test conducted within three days of their arrival, he said.

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