On May 13, President Vladimir Putin issued a decree establishing visa exemptions for competitors and officials traveling to Russia for international sporting events. Eligible individuals will include competing athletes, their families, trainers, team representatives, official foreign delegations, event judges and referees, as well as other types of officials endorsed by event organizers. Participants will need to carry valid passports as well as approved accreditation documents. The documents will be issued by the event organizers in Russia after the Russian Federal Security Service has granted its approval.

According to a government order dated June 27, the following events will qualify for the waiver:

  • 2013 Summer Universiade in Kazan, July 2013. Participants must present an Accreditation Certificate issued by the Kazan 2013 Summer Universiade Executive Directorate. The visa waiver is in effect from June 25 through July 25. Passports must be valid beyond Feb. 1, 2014.
  • World Martial Arts Games SportAccord in 2013 in St. Petersburg, Oct. 8 – Nov. 3, 2013.
  • XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, February 2014. Participants must present an Olympic Identity and Accreditation Card (OIAC) or Paralympic Accreditation Card (PIAC). It is believed that this waiver will be in effect from Jan. 7, 2014.
  • XII World Championships in rowing and canoeing in Moscow, July 27 – Aug. 17, 2014.
  • XVI World Aquatics Championships in 2015 in Kazan, July 7 – Aug. 7, 2015.
  • XXII Ice Hockey World Championship in Moscow and St. Petersburg, April 19 – May 22, 2016.

BAL’s network partner in Russia has also confirmed that these events will be considered eligible for the visa waiver program:

  • IAAF World Championship in Athletics in Moscow, Aug. 2013.
  • FIFA World Cup in 11 Russian host cities, 2018.

The new visa waiver program should facilitate travel for competing athletes, their families, and officials participating in several large-scale sporting events scheduled to be held in Russia over the next few years. BAL will provide more details about credentials, effective dates and minimum passport validity as they are released by the Russian government.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Russia. For additional information, please contact GlobalVisaGroup@bal.com.

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