Russia, U.S. to sign visa simplification agreement in nearest future

Russia and the United States will sign an agreement on the easing of visa regimes between the two countries in the nearest future, a source in the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

“We reaffirm that indeed there is a development of the text of the agreement, the final details are being processed now, and we hope very much that the signing will take place as soon as possible,” the source said.

Russia and the United States will soon agree on three-year multiple entry visas, U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Beyrle said in May.

Also in May, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and U.S. President Barack Obama announced plans to liberalize visa restrictions for businessmen and tourists traveling between the two countries. Under the new agreement, eligible business travelers and tourists would be issued visas valid for 36 months at a unified and reciprocal fee.

“I think that in two months maximum we will sign an agreement to issue new multiple entry visas for three years,” Beyrle said in Russian during an interview with Ekho Moskvy radio station in May. “The presidents instructed to complete negotiations on the issue, that’s why I expect the agreement to be ready by summer, maximum by fall.”

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin proposed scrapping visa restrictions between the two countries altogether during a meeting with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden in Moscow in March.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said last summer it was time to scrap visa requirements between Russia and the EU.

Earlier this month he said Russia and the EU would finalize a stage-by-stage plan to lift the visa requirement within a month.

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