NEW YORK -- Russia's Foreign Ministry is mulling over plans to
offer 72-hour tourist visas at airports and border train crossings,
according to the Russian National Tourist Office here.
Russian visas for U.S. travelers typically take at least three
weeks to process; last-minute requests double the normal fee and
can cost more than $100.
The 72-hour visa plan, initiated by St. Petersburg city
officials, Russia's most touristic city, possibly will be tested in
the next month, according to Michael Kolesnichenko, the tourist
"The tourist visas would have little impact on Americans, since
they generally stay in Russia for more than three days, but it
could draw many Europeans who want to take spur-of-the-moment
weekend trips to St. Petersburg," he said.
If the administering of tourist visas goes smoothly,
Kolesnichenko said it could also be extended to seaports, which
would be a boon for U.S. cruise passengers, who comprise the
greatest number of American tourists to St. Petersburg.
Kolesnichenko was not optimistic that the tourist visa plan
would be adopted permanently, he said, citing security