Russia to finalize visa deal with U.S. in November

Russia will finalize the details of a long-discussed visa agreement with the United States by the end of November, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said on Thursday.

“Within the next few days we will complete all the technicalities concerning simplification of the visa regime [with the United States],” Ryabkov said.

The agreement will shorten the time it takes to process visa applications and extend the visa validity period.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin proposed scrapping visa restrictions between the two countries altogether during a meeting with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden in Moscow in March.

In May, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and U.S. President Barack Obama announced plans to liberalize visa restrictions for businessmen and tourists traveling between the two countries. Under the new agreement, eligible business travelers and tourists would be issued visas valid for 36 months at a unified and reciprocal fee.