Some Alaska Natives Allowed Visa-Free Travel to Russian Area

Some western Alaska Natives can travel back and forth to a Russian region without a visa under a 1989 agreement that was recently revived.

Vera Metcalf, a Native leader who works part time with the State Department, said Friday that the program allows indigenous residents from both sides of the Bering Strait to visit for up to 90 days without the documentation.

Alaska and Chukotka Natives have historically been linked to the Chukotka region, and many are still related.

Metcalf says administrative issues had forced those Alaska Natives to get a visa over the past three years. She says the issues have been resolved, allowing the program to begin again in mid-July. She declined to elaborate.

Metcalf says those on the Russian side haven’t needed a visa under the program.

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