This is good news and we will see how this all works out in the end…
On visa agreement, which comes into force on September 9, issuing multiple-entry visas valid for three years become standard practice when issuing visas to citizens of the United States to visit Russia for Russians visiting the United States.
“When applying for a visa for business or leisure travelers will not have to provide an official invitation from the U.S. although applicants for tourist visas to Russia, will continue to be required to confirm the preliminary booking and arrangements with the tour operator. Both sides also pledged to adhere to standard time required to process a visa – 15 days, although in some cases it may take longer for additional processing of applications.” – the report says.
Note for U.S. agreement frees the maximum stay in Russia up to 90 days in any 180-day period of the visa. Just as the Russians in the U.S., they will now be allowed to stay in Russia for up to six months. Also, do not need an exit visa by the U.S. citizens who have lost their passports during their stay in Russia.
Most of it is good news and the fact of no more invitations is awesome. Also I have been on a year visa for two years now and this allows me to get a three year visa instead of a 1 year, next time… 🙂
But by then I should have my residency worked out and have at least a temporary permit as I strive to get my permanent residency permit…
Still it is good news in the visa departments for America and Russia…
Windows to Russia…
Update: Sveta found the original site source…
Historic Visa Agreement Enters Into Force September 9, 2012:
Moscow, Russia | August 29, 2012
The U.S. Embassy in Moscow is pleased to announce that the historic U.S.-Russia visa agreement will enter into effect September 9, 2012. The agreement will facilitate travel and establish stronger ties between Russia and the United States, as it will benefit the largest segment of travelers in both our countries: business travelers and tourists. Starting September 9, Russian and American travelers for business or tourism will be eligible to receive visas valid for multiple entries during a period of 36 months. The agreement also outlines other simplifications in the bilateral visa regime and eases visa processing time for travelers from both countries. At the same time, the United States will be reducing the fee charged to Russians issued visas for business or tourism from $100 to $20.
Thanks to the agreement, three-year, multiple-entry visas will become the standard “default” terms for U.S. citizens visiting Russia and Russian citizens visiting the United States. No formal invitation will be required to apply for a business or tourism visa, although applicants seeking Russian tourist visas must continue to hold advance lodging reservations and arrangements with a tour operator. Both sides have also committed to keep standard visa processing times under 15 days, although the circumstances of individual cases may require additional processing.
Also on September 9, the $100 issuance – or reciprocity – fee for Russians issued U.S. visas for business or tourism (visa types B1/B2) will fall to $20. As a rule, successful visa applicants will receive the full-validity three-year visa. The $160 application fee will still apply, and validity and fees for other visa types (for example for students, workers, and journalists) will not change.
For Americans in Russia, the agreement lifts the previous restriction limiting stays in Russia to 90 days within any given 180-day period—just like Russian travelers, they will now be permitted stays of up to six months. In addition, “exit visas” will no longer be necessary in the case of U.S. citizens who lose their passports while in Russia. (Russian citizens may already exit the United States without an exit visa). U.S. citizens with current Russian visas are reminded that they are still subject to the terms and dates of the visas already in their possession.
U.S. citizens with Russian travel plans are encouraged to monitor Embassy Moscow’s website for additional details concerning this agreement: http://moscow.usembassy.gov/russian-visas.html. Russian citizens may visit http://www.ustraveldocs.com/ru/index.html for specific instructions on how to apply for a U.S. visa.