Russia has a reputation as being one of the more difficult countries to visit due to tough visa requirements, but it’s about to get much easier — for some countries, anyway. Citizens of 53 countries will now be able to visit St. Petersburg and the surrounding region (Leningrad Oblast) with a free electronic visa. The nationals of the same countries can also obtain an e-visa for Kaliningrad.

According to the Russian government, it only takes four calendar days to process the application and once approved, you have 30 days to use your e-visa. The e-visa is only valid for eight days.

But eight days is plenty to visit the amazing palaces of St. Petersburg, tour some of the most beautiful churches in the world, and check out the beaches along the Gulf of Finland.

The nationals of the following 53 countries can obtain the new e-visa:

  • Austria
  • Andorra
  • Bahrain
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • China (including Taiwan)
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • North Korea
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Kuwait
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Liechtenstein
  • Luxembourg
  • Malaysia
  • Malta
  • Mexico
  • Monaco
  • The Netherlands
  • North Macedonia
  • Norway
  • Oman
  • Philippines
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Qatar
  • Romania
  • San Marino
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Serbia
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Turkey
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Vatican

To obtain an e-visa, you must submit your application on the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website no later than four days before your trip.