Group Tourists from India Granted Visa-Free Access to Russia by Russia's New Offer

Russia has put forth a groundbreaking proposal that could reshape the way Indian tourists visit the country. Under this proposition, tourists from India and Russia will be able to travel to each other's nations without the need for traditional visas, provided they are part of organized travel groups. This initiative is aimed at boosting tourism between the two countries and fostering stronger cultural ties. The announcement was made by Russia's Economic Development Minister, Maksim Reshetnikov, highlighting the strategic importance of this proposal.

E-visa System for Indian Tourists

To facilitate smoother travel experiences and expedite entry processes, Russia had earlier initiated the Russia electronic visa (e-visa) system for Indian passport holders. Starting from August 1, Indian travelers were granted theopportunity to apply for e-visas, which allow them to obtain travel approvals faster for various purposes, including business trips, guest visits, and tourism. This innovation was designed to streamline entry procedures and encourage more Indian travelers to explore Russia.

Russian-Chinese Model as Precursor

Maksim Reshetnikov pointed out that Russia had already successfully implemented a similar visa-free regime with China, which paved the way for exploring similar arrangements with other countries. This strategy aims to simplify travel between nations and facilitate greater people-to-people exchanges. He mentioned that negotiations between India and Russia were underway, indicating the willingness to expedite the process and further strengthen bilateral relations.

Tourism Industry's Challenges and Intentions

The proposal to allow visa-free access for Indian tourists aligns with Russia's broader efforts to revitalize its tourism industry, which has been significantly impacted by the ongoing challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemicand the Ukraine conflict. The introduction of such a progressive measure is expected to not only attract more Indian visitors but also enhance the overall appeal of Russia as a tourist destination.

Reinstating Visa-Free Agreements

In addition to the India-specific proposal, Russia has already reinstated visa-free travel agreements with China. This agreement, which initially dates back to 2000, was temporarily suspended in 2020 due to the global pandemic. The revived deal caters to groups consisting of at least five individuals who are traveling together under a single itinerary and program. A similar arrangement has also been forged between Russia and Iran, exemplifying Russia's commitment to facilitating travel through pragmatic agreements.

New E-Visa Scheme for Foreign Citizens

Simultaneously, on August 1, Russia introduced a separate e-visa scheme for foreign citizens hailing from 55 countries.

New E-Visa Scheme for Foreign Citizens


Start Date

August 1

Eligible Countries

55 countries

E-Visa Fee

Approximately $52

Visa Validity

60 days

Maximum Stay Duration

Up to 16 days


Tourism and short-term visits


Simplified entry procedures


Encourage international travel

Implementation Approach

Streamlined electronic application

In conclusion, Russia's proposal to offer visa-free access to Indian tourists traveling in organized groups marks a significant step toward enhancing people-to-people connections and promoting tourism between the two nations. This innovative approach, coupled with the introduction of electronic visas and the revival of visa-free agreements with other countries, demonstrates Russia's commitment to reinvigorating its tourism industry while fostering global cooperation and cultural exchange.