Foreigners in Russia can freely expand visas terms and residence permits as Moscow loosened requirements amid coronavirus fears, the Russian Interior Ministry said on Thursday.
If a visa or a residence permit has expired, it will be renewed without any penalties, it said in a statement
"In order to ensure the implementation of the rights and freedoms of citizens, as well as taking into account the situation associated with the spread of a new coronavirus infection, starting from March 19, 2020, foreign citizens can extend their temporary stay on the territory of the Russian Federation," it said.
Applicants can file for renewal with a simple letter, it said, and those who do not need a visa to enter Russia will be granted an extension of their stay, if their permits have expired.
Labor migrants, who previously had to leave to renew documents, can reapply without having to travel outside Russia and without being held administratively liable for violating the deadline for submitting relevant applications.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared Europe the new epicenter of the virus known as COVID-19, which first emerged in Wuhan, China last December.
The virus has now spread to 164 countries and territories, World Heath Organization data shows.
Out of more than 227,000 confirmed cases, the death toll now exceeds 9,300, while 84,500 patients have recovered, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University in the U.S.
COVID-19 is not fatal in all cases and a vast majority of patients do fully recover.
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