Russia relaxed entry rules for Russians – vaccinated were exempted from tests

From now on, to enter Russia, Russian citizens need a certificate of vaccination or a transferred covid. If there is no such certificate, one PCR test will be needed, the result of which must be uploaded to the State Services portal.

Rospotrebnadzor has changed the rules for entering the country for Russian citizens returning from abroad. The corresponding decree of the chief sanitary doctor was published on the portal of legal information.

From July 7, the requirement to pass two tests after arrival, which has been in effect since May 1 of this year, is canceled. Now, as in the period from mid to late April, only one test is needed – within three calendar days from arrival. From the end of August last year to April 15, 2021, only Russians arriving in Russia from abroad were required to undergo testing, while those who crossed the border through sea or land border checkpoints were not required to test.

There is another important relief: those who have been vaccinated against coronavirus infection over the past year or who have had covid over the past six months have been exempted from the need for testing from today. The decree does not explicitly say which vaccines are suitable for exemption from tests, but it means that information about vaccinations should be in the unified state information system in the field of health. Thus, Russians who have been vaccinated or who have been ill abroad must first achieve the entry of the relevant information into the Russian database, obviously by translating foreign documents.

In Russia, vaccination is now carried out with two drugs: “Sputnik V” (and its version “Sputnik Light”) and “EpiVacCorona”. Yesterday, the Ministry of Health reported that several foreign manufacturers have submitted applications for registration of their vaccines against coronavirus, but did not specify which companies in question. After the start of the third wave and the announcement of partially compulsory vaccination, a shortage of drugs arose in some Russian regions. In addition, there were problems with entering information about vaccination in the state database and, accordingly, obtaining a certificate.

After entering the country, a Russian citizen must upload a certificate of vaccination, a past illness, or a negative PCR test on the State Services portal. Unvaccinated and non-vaccinated Russians are required to do the test only after arrival, that is, a test done abroad will not work. Travelers must self-isolate pending test results.

Should Russians vaccinated in Russia and living in Europe be re-vaccinated in the EU?

Since June 28, Russia has resumed flights with eight countries: USA, Belgium, Italy, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Jordan, Ireland and North Macedonia. Air traffic with Finland was restored at the end of January 2021. In the summer, bus routes between St. Petersburg and the cities of Finland were also resumed.

The borders, however, remain, if not completely closed, then only slightly ajar. For the time being, entry to Finland for ordinary Russian tourists is prohibited and, apparently, it will not be allowed soon. Yesterday, the Finnish government agreed that it is possible to come to the country without restrictions only from countries where the infection rate is less than 10 cases per 100 thousand population over the past 14 days. In Russia, this figure is about 200.

At the same time, some EU countries allow Russians and even recognize Sputnik, although it has not yet been approved by the European Medicines Agency. In Bulgaria, “Sputnik” frees you from having to take a PCR test. At first, Greece also freed the vaccinated Russians from the tests, but with the spread in Russia of the delta variant, it again began to demand them even from the vaccinated. But in Cyprus, a certificate of vaccination gives the right not to take the test upon arrival. In Croatia, a vaccination certificate will replace the PCR test and free from quarantine.

Since June 21, Estonia has allowed the entry of citizens of third countries, that is, non-EU countries, for tourism purposes. To do this, they should not have symptoms of coronavirus infection, and they should have completed a full course of vaccination against coronavirus within the last year and achieve maximum protection after the last dose of the vaccine. For Sputnik, this period is two weeks. However, it should be borne in mind that for Russian citizens who are not included in the list of exceptions, restrictions remain on leaving Russia by land. That is, ordinary Russian tourists can enter Estonia only by air.