Tags: Russia | Demand | Transit | Visas | for | Americans

Russia to Demand Transit Visas for Americans

Monday, 07 May 2001 12:00 AM

A new regulation issued by Russian's Foreign Ministry took effect Sunday and is seen as a tit-for-tat measure the Kremlin has taken to counter a similar rule imposed by Washington on Russians passing through the United States.

On April 6, the State Department announced its decision to require Russian nationals to obtain transit visas en route to third countries via the United States, a move that angered Moscow. Hundreds of Russians apply daily at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow for tourist and business visas and often complain of having to stand in long lines awaiting interviews by the consular staff.

The new regulation entitles Russia's customs officers to require the transit visas even from U.S. passengers traveling aboard aircraft that may be forced to make an emergency landing in Russia.

Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov told reporters Saturday that there was nothing extraordinary in the ministry's move, which he said was governed by the principle of reciprocity, which is widely applied by diplomats in visa-related matters.

However annoying the introduction of transit visa requirements may be for both sides, they are discussing steps to simplify bureaucratic procedures and ultimately drop the existing regulations. The issue of visas will be on the agenda in mid-May when Ivanov and his U.S. counterpart, Secretary of State Colin Powell, are scheduled to meet.

Russia's NTV television network said Sunday that Powell could propose including Russia among a group of 29 nations whose citizens can travel to the United States without visas and stay up to 90 days, provided they have enough cash and a return plane ticket.

Such a move would be a relief to thousands of potential tourists who could skip the long waits and interviews at the U.S. Embassy.

Copyright 2001 by United Press International.

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A new regulation issued by Russian's Foreign Ministry took effect Sunday and is seen as a tit-for-tat measure the Kremlin has taken to counter a similar rule imposed by Washington on Russians passing through the United States. On April 6, the State Department announced...
Russia,Demand,Transit,Visas,for,Americans
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2001-00-07
Monday, 07 May 2001 12:00 AM
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