How to get a Russian visa

Russian visa - overview

If you are not a citizen of the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States you must obtain a Russian visa before coming to the country.

The exceptions are short-term trips (mostly up to 90 days) for citizens of Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Fiji, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Israel, Macao, Macedonia, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nicaragua, Peru, Salvador, Serbia, Seychelles, South Korea, Thailand, Uruguay, Venezuela.

The process of obtaining a Russian visa requires some time and is not free. You should better begin to work on it having two or more months in advance. Sometimes you can do it faster if you are ready to spend more money.

The main types of Russian visas

Tourist visas are issued for a period of up to 30 days with an indication of the purpose of the trip “tourism, sightseeing”. Citizens of the United States can obtain a tourist visa with a validity of 3 years. To issue a visa it is required to get a tourist invitation, which is provided by a travel company organizing the trip.

In most cases it is a confirmation letter with info about booking, prepayment of your Russian travel arrangements. The second document you need is a tourist voucher. The documents are obtained with the help of your tour operator, Russian hotel (approved by government), Russian travel agency.

The time for issuing a tourist visa is about 1-2 weeks. The extension of the tourist visa is possible only in case of emergency treatment and force majeure circumstances.

Business visas to Russia are issued for business connections, its validity can be 5 years. At the same time, the “90-180” rule applies: this is a restriction according to which a foreigner is allowed to stay in Russia for not more than 90 days for every 180 days. This restriction applies to all visas, except for work visas. Business invitations can be organized by any Russian company. In most cases you need to have the original copy of such an invitation.

Private visas allow Russian citizens to invite their relatives or friends who have foreign citizenship to Russia. They can get a private invitation with the help of their local passport office and visa service of the Russian Federal Migration Service. The maximum validity of the private visa is 90 days.

Work visas allow foreigners to officially find jobs and work in Russia and are issued for a period of 1 to 3 years. In order to receive a work visa, your employer must invite you to Russia.

Student (academic) visas are issued for education in Russia. You need to get an invitation issued by a higher educational institution.

Transit visas are intended for transit to the country of destination through the territory of the Russian Federation. This type of visa is not required for foreigners who make a stop at the airport and are not going to leave the transit zone, and those who make a non-stop flight over the territory of Russia.

Receiving a Russian visa

After receiving an invitation you have the right to apply for a Russian visa. The fee is about 100 USD for most countries. You will need the following documents: an application, your invitation, passport, two passport-size photos. After receiving your Russian visa you should check it for any errors (especially your name and passport number).

Entering Russia

When you enter Russia, you fill out the migration card and keep one half of it after your passport is checked. You need to be very careful with it, otherwise you will have problems with registration and for sure when leaving the country. Your visa should be registered within 3 days. This can be done at the hotel or at the travel agency.

Every time you come to the next city and stay there for over 3 days you need to put a new stamp. The more stamps you have the safer you are. It is recommended to keep all the tickets as well, so that you can prove the date of your arrival to some diligent policeman.

The comments of our visitors

ray
Tourist Visa Information
most interesting information clear, precise and excellently presented

Robert
Visa information
This was very informative as I am planning a trip to Russia to visit some of my Russian friends. They tell me I will have a good time and go home amazed.

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