Russia approves easy visa arrangement

Moscow: Russia`s lower house of Parliament has overwhelmingly voted to approve an inter-governmental deal on visa regime simplification that will benefit Indian citizens wanting to travel to this country for tourism or business purposes.

At its plenary session on Friday evening, the 450-strong State Duma approved by 428 votes the Inter-Governmental Agreement on simplification of requirements for mutual travels of certain categories of citizens, which was was signed by India and Russia on December 21 last year in New Delhi, the lower house of Parliament said on its website.

"The agreement is aimed at consolidating the legal basis for Russia-India relations in the area of mutual travels of citizens and promoting creation of favourable conditions for certain categories of citizens of the two countries, first of all representatives of business, scientists, cultural workers, students and tourists," Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Borodavkin said presenting the document before the House.

After the ratification of the Indo-Russian agreement by the upper house of Parliament – the Federation Council – and signing it into law by President Dmitry Medvedev, the individual citizens and organisations will no longer need an invitation or a tourist voucher to travel to Russia or India and will be able to directly apply for visas.

Earlier in August, the Presidium of the Russian Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin approved the Indo-Russian deal easing issuance of business and tourist visas to their nationals and forwarded it to the State Duma.