Russian Parliament clears easy visa pact with India

Cementing ties with India, Russian Parliament today ratified a bilateral visa simplification pact to boost business, scientific and cultural exchanges and tourism between the two strategic partners.

The nod by the Federation Council, the upper house of Russian Parliament, came days after the lower house State Duma overwhelmingly approved the inter-governmental agreement on simplification of requirements for mutual travels of certain categories of citizens.

Inked in Delhi on December 21, 2010, the pact provides for simplified visa process for members of the official delegations, businessmen, representatives of the industry and commerce chambers, persons involved in scientific, cultural and creative professions, sister city exchanges, school kids, other students, their group leaders, research scholars and tourists, the Federation Council said in a release.

The bill will now go for signing into law by President Dmitry Medvedev.

The individual citizens and organisations will not any more need an invitation or a tourist voucher to travel to Russia or India and will be able to directly apply for visas.

For the first time since the Soviet collapse, the two sides are also considering the issuance of one-year and five -year multi-entry visas allowing their citizens holding valid national passports to stay on the territory of the other country for up to 90 days within a period of 180 days from their first entry.

This limit is explained by the international practice that after staying in a foreign country for more than 180 days, a person becomes the tax resident of that country.

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