TEHRAN, November 23 /TASS/. A Russian-Iranian inter-governmental agreement on simplifying reciprocal travel for certain categories of Russian and Iranian citizens, effective as of February 6, has enabled the two counties to double the number of issued visas, Yevgeny Ivanov, the Russian Foreign Ministry Consular Department director, said in an interview with Iran’s Tasnim News Agency.
"80,000 visas were issued in the first 10 months of 2016 compared to 40,000 issued throughout the entire 2015," the Russian diplomat emphasized. According to him, the consular services in both countries were supplementing and improving the existing agreements. The participants in the fifth session of the Iranian-Russian Commission for Consular Cooperation initialed a new agreement on tourist travel. Ivanov hoped that the document would be officially signed approximately in four months.
"Russia and Iran have a great potential in tourism, which we can help tap. The agreement on tourist travel provides for a visa-free sojourn for tourist groups numbering from 5 to 50 people in the course of 15 days," the director of the Russian Foreign Ministry Consular Department said.
"Our strategic goal is to establish a visa-free system, which is currently applied only to diplomatic passport holders. We are planning to extend its coverage to aircraft crews and tourist groups numbering from 5 to 50 people in future. We are also taking measures to simplify the visa system for other categories of citizens, including entrepreneurs. The possibility of issuing multiple-entry visas to heavy truck drivers is also being discussed," Ivanov stressed.
He told the Iranian news agency that Iranian football fans with tickets for the 2018 World Cup would have the right to stay in Russia without visas for the two months that the tournament takes place.