Wednesday, April 01, 2015

On Russian Visas for Researchers

There has recently been a good deal of internet comment about the category of visa that is required by those intending to do research (particularly, to visit archives) while staying in the Russian Federation. Members may have seen this story on RFE/RL, as well as discussions on SEELANGS, H-Russia, and Facebook. Our recent survey of the membership (many thanks to those who replied) suggests that the number of known cases involved is small (no more than 5-6 in the last year), but the penalties can be high–from an interrogation by the Federal Migration Service and levy of a fine to the worst case being deportation and a 5-year ban. We have also become aware of some Russian media reports of visa-related deportations that are not included in our survey.

For non-Russian passport holders requird to obtain a visa to conduct research in Russia, the safest visa choice appears to be the Common Humanitarian visa type, backed by an invitation from a Russian academic organization, and specifying “scientific-technical” purposes of the visit, rather than a tourist or business visa. You can obtain a multi-entry humanitarian visa as well, at least for US citizens (check with the Russian consulate in your country). Obtaining a humanitarian visa will involve more advance planning. It is important to note that this is not a change in Russian visa law, but possibly a stricter enforcement of its visa regulations, particularly in certain localities. We suggest that you consult the Russian Consulate website and a visa service specialist. “Kritika” journal plans to publish a “From the Editor” column dealing with this subject in more detail, to which members are referred.  Also see the “research/travel arrangement” introduction section of ArcheoBiblioBase. We will continue to gather more information and keep you informed.

The administration of ASEEES regrets that, with 3000 members from over 50 countries, we do not have the capacity or expertise to advise individuals on their plans for research visits. However,as a scholarly society committed to academic values, ASEEES will do everything in its power to press for the freedom of movement that is essential to all its members, whatever their nationality, to carry out their scholarly and collaborative activities.  

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