Russia ready to ease visa rules, waits for Europe’s approval

Russia is ready to liberalize its visa regulations for EU tourists and businessmen as soon as European leaders approve, President Dmitry Medvedev said on Tuesday.

“Russia is ready to move towards easing the visa regime with the European Union, with Germany, as quickly as our partners are ready for this,” Medvedev said during the Petersburg Dialogue forum in the German city of Hannover.

Russia is ready to ease visa rules as early as “in half a year” should Europe favor this, he said.

The president also stressed the importance of liberalizing registration procedures for foreigners legally arriving in Russia.

Medvedev said in mid-June the work on the stage-by-stage plan to lift the Russian-EU visa requirements would be finalized by the end of July.

Russia and the European Union have already reached an agreement on long-term visas, for up to five years. The EU currently issues short-term visas from several days to one year, although the Schengen Agreement allows five-year visas.

Five-year visas will not be issued immediately but only after a person has received a short-term visa and proved his responsibility.

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