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Russia rolls out electronic tourist visa for land border points

However, the new rules will not come into effect until Russia opens its borders more widely to tourists after the pandemic subsides.

Vaalimaan raja-asema Vaalimaalla Virolahdella.
File photo of the border crossing at Vaalimaa. Image: Antro Valo / Yle

The Russian government has added the international land border crossing stations of Torfyanovka and Brusnitšnoje to the list of points where it will be possible to enter Russia with an electronic tourist visa.

The Torfyanovka station is located opposite the Vaalimaa border station on Finland's eastern border while Brusnitšnoje is located about 100km further north, opposite Finland's Nuijamaa border station.

The decision was signed into law last week by Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, but will not come into effect until Russia opens its borders more widely to tourists after the pandemic.

The electronic tourist visas have previously been made available for use by Finnish citizens as well as citizens of certain other countries, but only for air travel to Russia.

Svetlana Levinskaia, the Finnish representative of the Russian Union of Travel Industry, told Yle Novosti that the decision will open up new opportunities for the development of tourism between the two neighbouring nations.

"It is good that the wishes of the players in the field have been heard. Hopefully the decision will soon be extended to the Allegro train," Levinskaia said, referring to the high-speed rail service linking Helsinki and Saint Petersburg.

Russia eased entry regulations at the beginning of this year, but tourism is still heavily affected by coronavirus restrictions.

Dual citizens living in Finland and Finnish citizens who have close relatives living in Russia can also travel to the country via the border crossing stations of Vaalimaa, Nuijamaa and Niirala.

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