Citizens of four countries will have to abide by new rules of applying for Russian visas from January 2015 and leave their fingerprints at Russian diplomatic missions abroad, Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Consular Department Yevgeny Ivanov told Interfax.
The new rules will be introduced by way of experiment at Russian embassies in Britain, Denmark, Myanmar and Namibia, he said.
"In January 2015 we will start testing fingerprint scanning know-how when foreign citizens, or persons without citizenship apply for Russian visas," Ivanov said in an interview with Interfax.
After this experiment is over, a decision will be made "whether this practice will be applied at other Russian embassies and consular services," Ivanov said.
He made a point that the new practice does not mean a tightening in Russia's visa policy.
"The introduction of the practice of gathering biometric data should not be seen as a move to tighten Russia's visa policy. Preparations for its introduction had been going on for the past few years," he said.
Ivanov said that the countries of the Schengen zone will start collecting biometric data about all Russian applicants in a mandatory procedure from 2015.
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