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Changes coming to U.S. visa process with Russia

Come September, residents of both Russian and the United States who need or want to make multiple trips to the other country will be able to do so with much less hassle. This is due to a new visa program that was recently agreed upon by both the U.S. and Russia's Vladimir Putin. Finalized this past July, it is set to go into effect on Sept. 9. There are multiple reasons residents of both countries are excited about the change.

The first reason is that under the new agreement, individuals who travel to either of the countries will not have to apply for visas as frequently as they once did. Instead, each will now be able to apply for visas that are good for a period of three years. Under the new visa arrangement, a resident of either of the countries will be able to travel back and forth between the two during the course of the three year period, staying a maximum of six months in a row if they wish.

Another positive thing to come out of the agreement is the former requirement that a resident of the U.S. obtain a letter of invitation before entering Russia has been eliminated. Anyone who is in the country for pleasure only as a tourist however, must still provide proof of their accommodations before they enter.

Individuals making the trips for business purposes are expected to enjoy the revised system as well. The ease of entry into each country by residents of the other country should increase business conducted between companies in each of the nations.

Source: The Washington Post, "Easier US-Russia visa program to begin Sept. 9," Associated Press, Aug. 29, 2012

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