On September 9, 2012, a new visa policy went into effect making it easier for U.S. and Russian nationals to travel between their respective countries. The new policy for business travelers and tourists will allow multiple entries over a period of three (3) years and give the holder of the visa the right to stay in the host country for up to six months at a time. Additionally, the wait time to obtain a visa has been reduced to fifteen days and the costs are much less than with the previous visa rules.
According to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, tourist and business travelers from Russia will no longer have to provide formal invitations, lodging confirmation, or ticket reservations. American business travelers and tourists still have to provide a letter of invitation upon first applying for a three year visa, but no additional documents will be required for subsequent entries, as long as a valid visa is presented.
Russian Prime Minister and former President, Dimitry Medvedev expressed confidence that ratification of the agreement “will facilitate promotion of Russian-American economic, cultural, and humanitarian ties, and we presume that, eventually, such agreements will pave the way for visa-free travel for our citizens.”