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MOSCOW, December 16. /ITAR-TASS/. Italy’s authorities intend to ease a procedure for issuing visas for Russian citizens on the Bilateral Year of Tourism (2013-2014), Italian Ambassador to Russia Cesare Maria Ragaglini told a news conference at the Itar-Tass news agency on Monday.
“We believe that Russia and the Schengen countries should sign a visa free agreement sooner or later. Today our purpose is to minimise troubles for Russian tourists while receiving an entry visa to Italy,” Ragaglini said.
Free of charge visas will be issued to certain categories - to those who will take part in events within the Bilateral Year of Tourism, to journalists who write about Italy and to tour operators, the Italian ambassador said, adding “This will be related to students and professors who will visit Italy under an exchange programme, participants in youth sportive events and children aged up to 12 years, disabled persons and their attendants.”
“In recent times the number of entry visas to Italy has doubled. In 2013 a total of 770,000 visas were issued. The number increased by 22 percent as compared with the year 2012,” Ragaglini said.
“We’ll also issue multiple, long-term visas (for a term of 12 months year to five years) for Russian citizens, who often travel to Italy,” the ambassador said.
At present, seventeen Italian visa centres operate in Russia. “Another two visa centres will be opened in Russia - in Volgograd and Rostov-on-Don. Three visa centres will be opened in Trans-Urals,” the diplomat said.