Russia restores visa freedom for stateless born after February 1992
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Wednesday that restores the right of young stateless residents of Estonia and Latvia to travel to Russia without a visa.
According to the order drafted by the Russian Foreign Ministry, the stateless residents of Estonia and Latvia born after Feb. 6, 1992 will also be entitled to visa-free entry. This cut-off date was the day Soviet citizenship became invalid.
Under the previous presidential regulation dating back to 2008, people who had earlier had Soviet citizenship were allowed to enter Russia without a visa. That meant persons born before Feb. 6, 1992. The change taking effect now lifts that restriction, meaning that all holders of alien’s or so-called grey passports can enter Russia without a visa, regardless of age. The order is effective immediately.
The explanatory note accompanying the draft stated that visa-free travel directly affected the interests of “Russian stateless compatriots” in Estonia and Latvia. Most of them wanted to maintain and develop historically established cultural, humanitarian, scientific, regional, trade and economic, and other ties with Russia.
Dividing these people into those who have the right to enter Russia without a visa, and those who do not, such a step only aggravated their situation, the note read.
According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the measure concerns about 6,000 stateless residents of Latvia and Estonia.
The problem concerning the entry of holders of alien’s passports into Russia last came up in August 2016 following the arrest of a young stateless resident of Latvia, who had had no right to be in the country without a visa under valid Russian law.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev then tasked the ministries of internal and foreign affairs to draft amendments to allow all stateless residents of Estonia and Latvia to travel to Russia without a visa.
Editor: Dario Cavegn