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Russia has reopened its borders to nationals and residents of 14 countries, allowing tourists to visit.

Russia grounded most international flights on March 27, with only a handful of special repatriation flights and other government-approved flights bringing passengers to and from Russia over the past few months.

Starting August 1, updated on September 23, and updated again on October 14, a total of 14 nations can now visit Russia for the purposes of tourism.

Russia opens for tourism to select countries
Moscow, Russia

Residents and national from the following 14 countries can currently enter Russia:

  • Belarus
  • Cuba
  • Egypt
  • Maldives
  • Japan
  • Kazakstan 
  • Korea
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Serbia
  • Switzerland
  • Tanzania
  • Turkey
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom* currently suspended due to new virus strain

However, there are some important rules that do apply to visitors from these 14 countries:

PCR Testing

All passengers from approved countries must have a negative PCR test, taken no longer than 72 hours before arrival. The test must be in English or Russian, or if in a 3rd language – may be translated into Russian and notarized.

When tourists enter with the negative PCR test, there is no need to quarantine.

tourists in the Red Square, Moscow
tourists in the Red Square, Moscow

Direct Travel

Residents and nationals from the above 14 countries can enter Russia, as long as they are coming from that nation, and not via a third-party nation. Example: A resident of Switzerland and come directly from Switzerland, but not from vacationing in France.

Visa Regulations

Normal visa regulations are still in effect for the approved nations. They will have to obtain a valid visa from the Russian Embassy (if normally required) in order to enter Russia.

St. Petersburg - Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood
St. Petersburg - Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood

Russia started approving tourists to enter on August 1, 2020 – beginning with Tanzania, United Kingdom and Turkey. Then on August 15, flights resumed with Switzerland and Swiss tourists were permitted to enter Russia. On September 2, restrictions were lifted for Egypt, Maldives and the UAE.

Most recently, on October 14, Russia then made allowances for Cuba, Serbia and Japan.

St Petersburg, Russia. Winter Palace
St Petersburg, Russia. Winter Palace

As of September 3rd, the government has increased air traffic between the approved nations

  • Switzerland – 4 flights a week (2x’s Moscow to/from Geneva, 2x’s Moscow to/from Zurich)
  • Maldives – 2 flights a week
  • UAE – 2 flights a week to/from Dubai
  • Egypt – 3 flights a week to/from Cairo
  • UK – Daily flights to/from London
Sochi russia
Sochi, Russia

On September 20, 4 more countries have resumed flights with Russia, allowing residents from the below countries to once again enter; Belarus, Kazakstan, Korea, and Kyrgyzstan. 

The flights will be operated once a week. Air traffic with Kazakhstan (Nur-Sultan), Kyrgyzstan (Bishkek) and Belarus (Minsk) will resume on September 21, with South Korea (Seoul) on September 27.

When can other countries travel to Russia?

As of October 14, only 14 nations are permitted to visit. The government’s website states:

“The operational headquarters continues to monitor the situation and work on expanding the list of countries with which air traffic can be resumed.”

On August 24th, Reuters published: Russian authorities may this week announce the resumption of international flights to France, Hungary, Malta, Cyprus, Jordan, Egypt and China’s Shanghai.

Only Egypt seemed to make it on the approved list, but that may mean the other nations are still being considered.

russia is allowing tourism from these countries

Disclaimer: Russia’s reopening news is ever-changing and being updated constantly. We do our best to keep this article up to date with all the latest information, but the decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling.

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Originally published Sept 13, 2020

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