Huge drop in Russian visas issued to Americans revealed

The Russian Foreign Ministry has revealed that it issued only around 1,000 visas to US nationals in the first three months of the year

Huge drop in Russian visas issued to Americans revealed

Huge drop in Russian visas issued to Americans revealed

The Russian Foreign Ministry says only around 1,000 US nationals received entry documents in the first quarter of this year

Russia’s Foreign Ministry has said it only issued around 1,000 travel visas to US citizens in the first three months of this year. There was also a sharp drop in the number of visitors from European countries, although the ministry insisted that people on the continent have not lost interest in visiting Russia.

In an interview with Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency published on Friday, the head of the consular department of the Foreign Ministry, Alexey Klimov, explained that the vast majority of visas granted to Americans were for tourism or family visits.

We can state that there is very low demand for business visas,” the diplomat added, putting the number of such documents issued to US nationals in the first quarter of 2023 at a few dozen.

As for Europeans, the ministry registered a nearly ten-fold decline in the number of visas issued compared to pre-pandemic levels, Klimov told reporters. Even though the total figure stood at 48,500, the official argued that there are signs that European citizens’ “interest in business as well as tourist trips to Russia” is still there.

On other fronts, the dynamics are more positive, according to Klimov. Overall, there was a 16% year-on-year rise in the number of visas issued during the first three months of 2023.

A total of 52,000 out of nearly 145,000 travel visas issued were for Chinese nationals, the diplomat noted. Growing interest in travel to Russia has resulted in a more than 13-fold jump in the number of tourist entries by PRC citizens over the past year. A growing number of people from Asia’s leading economy are visiting for business and education purposes, Klimov told RIA Novosti.

In mid-February, the US Department of State issued a travel advisory, warning Americans against going to Russia “due to the unpredictable consequences of the unprovoked full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russian military forces, the potential for harassment, and the singling out of U.S. citizens for detention,” among other things.

In May 2021, Russia designated the US an ‘unfriendly country’ along with the Czech Republic. Following the start of Moscow’s military campaign against Ukraine last February, and the subsequent imposition of EU sanctions on Russia, the whole bloc ended up on the list.

The status entails, among other things, the full or partial suspension of simplified visa agreements with such states along with individual entry bans for those who are deemed to have committed hostile acts against Russia.