Russian lawmakers are moving to ease visa restrictions on foreigners participating in the 2018 FIFA World Cup with a new bill that’s likely to be passed before the end of the year
Interfax is reporting that Russia’s State Duma is currently preparing a draft law that will allow visa-free visits to Russia by foreign nationals involved in the events of the FIFA World Cup for 2018, together with 2017 edition of the FIFA Confederations Cup, which Russia is also set to host. The move was announced by the Russian Travel Industry Union’s (RST) vice- President, George Barzykin.
According to the report, the bill will cut out much of the red tape that foreigners normally face when entering Russia. All foreign nationals involved in the preparations of the 2018 World Cup and the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, who plan to stay in the Russian Federation over the duration of those two competitions, will be exempt from paying consular and other charges relating to visas, invitations, etc., reports Interfax.
In addition to this, those involved in the two competitions will be granted permission enter Russia for a period of five months prior to the start without the need to obtain a visa. Foreigners only entry requirement will be to produce documents stating their involvement in the FIFA competitions, and an official invitation from Russia-2018 committee.
Mr. Barzykin added that the bill will also smooth the way for foreigners travelling between the host cities of the World Cup. FIFA officials will be granted a special travel document granting them free use of public transport facilities during both tournaments.
The bill does not outline any plan for visiting fans of foreign nations competing in the World Cup, although it’s expected that a similar visa-free travel scheme will be introduced for those holding official match tickets, something Russia did previously when hosting the 2008 UEFA Champions League final.
Luzhniki Stadium image via Wikipedia Commons