Taipei, Taiwanese nationals can soon apply for a short-stay, single entry visa to Russia through its newly introduced electronic visa issuance program, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) official announced Tuesday.
Russia has included Taiwan in a list of foreign countries eligible for its unified e-visa program, said Yang Syin-yi (楊心怡), director of MOFA’s Department of West Asian and African Affairs at a regular press briefing.
Yang was not able to say exactly when the program will begin, however.
Its original launch date was set for Jan. 1, 2021, but it remains in limbo due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a notice posted on the website of the consular department of Russia’s Foreign Ministry.
The new e-visa program was first announced in Taiwan by the Moscow-Taipei Coordination Commission on Economic and Cultural Cooperation (MTC) in October 2020, and people can contact the MTC for details on the program’s launch date and application requirements, Yang said.
Once the program begins, tourists and business people can apply for a Russian unified e-visa online for US$40, except for children under 6 years old, who can get the visas free of charge, Yang said.
The e-visas will be valid for 60 days, with their holders allowed to stay for up to 16 days in Russia, he said.
According to a news report from the Russian News Agency (TASS) on Jan. 1, the Russian government initiated an e-visa project in 2017, under which e-visa holders were allowed to enter the country through certain parts of the country but were not allowed to leave those regions.
Under the new program, however, foreign visitors will be allowed to travel across all of Russia after entering the country, the report said.
Meanwhile, at the same press briefing, Yang said Taiwan has been offering visa-free entry privileges to Russian nationals since September 2018, and the privileges have been extended twice due to the positive impact on tourist arrivals from Russia.
Russian tourists are currently allowed to enter Taiwan without a need to apply for visa and stay in Taiwan for up to 21 days, he said.
According to MOFA records, Russian visitors to Taiwan totaled 14,927 in 2019, a year-on-year increase of 407.55 percent.
Yang said that travel to Russia is possible at present.
He said foreign nationals entering Russia for work need to be quarantined for 14 days while visitors entering for other purposes do not need to be quarantined but have to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test done three days prior to their arrival.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel