Manama: Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nationals can visit the Russian Far East without the need for visas, Russian Prime Minister has said.
Beside the citizens from the GCC member states — Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — the nationals of 12 other countries have been allowed to arrive in Vladivostok, the major Pacific port city, without a visa.
“I have recently approved the list of countries, whose nationals can take advantage of the preferential regime,” Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said, quoted by the Russian news agency TASS late on Monday.
“Businessmen and tourists will not need to undergo the traditional procedure of Russian visas receipt. It will be enough for foreigners to enter their data on a special website on the Internet.”
Russia is proactively forming a modern infrastructure and creating special regimes in the Far East, Medvedev added.
The law on visits to the Vladivostok free port was approved in March and the cancellation of visa procedures for tourists and businessmen “will promote growth of investment and tourist attractiveness of the Far East”.
The region will earn more money from tourist traffic growth, he added.
Medvedev said that the 18 countries from various regions were selected under the reciprocity principle.
“This is not because these states are situated at a closer or longer distance. We are appropriately introducing bilateral agreements on visa-free travel for those ready to use such an approach for us.”
Russian nationals arriving in Bahrain and the UAE are granted visas upon their arrival.
The list of 18 countries posted by TASS includes Algeria, Bahrain, Brunei, India, Iran, Qatar, China, North Korea, Kuwait, Morocco, Mexico, UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Tunisia, Turkey and Japan.
Russia’s Ambassador to Kuwait, Alexey V. Solomatin, confirmed in a statement to Kuwaiti daily Al Rai that the airport and port of Vladivostok were the only entry points that would not require visas from the citizens of the 18 countries named by the prime minister.
“The visa-waiving decision aims to encourage tourists and investors to see this stunning part of Russia,” he said.