Visa-free travel to Russia for all Seychelles passport holders as of December 14
Saint Basil's Cathedral located in the Red Square in Moscow, a popular tourist attraction pictured during summer. A visa waiver signed between Seychelles and Russia will allow Seychelles passport holders visa free entry for a maximum stay of 30 days once it comes into force in December. (Salifa Magnan, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - In four weeks’ time Seychellois nationals travelling to Russia will no longer need to apply for a visa, with the coming into force of a visa waiver agreement on December 14, 2015.
The agreement was signed in September this year, by the Seychelles Foreign Affairs and Transport Minister Joel Morgan and the Russian Ambassador to the Seychelles, Vladimir Belous.
In a press statement issued this morning, the Seychelles Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Transport describes the coming into effect of the agreement as “further testimony to the excellent relationship shared between Russia and Seychelles”
It is hoped that visa free travel for Seychellois nationals to Russia, for a short stay of up to 30 days, will lead to greater cultural and economic ties as well as greater people to people exchanges.
Currently, Seychelles citizens need to apply for a visa at the Russian Embassy in Seychelles; depending on the purpose of the visit, the procedures can take up to two or three days.
Seychelles and Russia have enjoyed diplomatic relations since the Indian Ocean archipelago gained its independence in 1976.
Bilateral cooperation between the two sides exists in the military field as well as in education where a number of Seychellois have studied and are still being sent to pursue further education opportunities in Russia
Tourism is another area of cooperation; although exact figures on the number of Seychellois nationals travelling to Russia is not known; Seychelles having a visa-free entry for tourists welcomes many Russian visitors to its shores each year.
According to figures available on the National Bureau of Statistics website (NBS) a total of 10, 361 Russian tourists have disembarked in the Indian Ocean archipelago of 115 island from January up to November 8, 2015.
Once it enters into force, the visa waiver will make Russia the 129th country to allow Seychellois nationals access to their territory without requiring a visa or to be granted a visa upon arrival or enter visa-free for a specific time period.
Palau, Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates are some of the countries that have also signed such an agreement with the island nation in recent months.