In order to come to Russia you will most likely need a visa. In fact it is not so complicated to get a visa as it could seem. Equipping yourself with some knowledge, preparing all the necessary documents or trusting this process to some local touristic agency, you will get visa within some days and feel free to travel all Russia freely. Let’s examine some general information you may need before proceeding making your visa.
Russian visa is a special document in your passport which permits you to enter and to leave Russia during the period indicated in the visa. The countries who don’t need the visa are CIS countries and the countries who have a special agreement with Russia for visa-free regime. This regime allows to stay in Russia more than 90 days every 6 months. The list of visa-free countries here. Anyway the information can change, so please double check on the website of te Russian consulate in your country.
There are 6 types of Russian visa:
- Tourist visa
- Business visa
- Student visa
- Personal visa
- Transit visa
- Working visa
In fact the name of the visa is not so important, i.e. you can come for example with a touristr visa for business negotiation and vice versa. The most important when you determine what type of visa to make is to pay attention on price, period of stay and quantity of entries you may need.
The tourist and business visa is the most common. If you want to stay in Russia for not more than 1 month and you need only 1 entry or 2 entries, than it’s more convenient and easy to make tourist visa.
And in case if you want to stay in Russia more than 1 month and/or you need multy entries, it is better to make business visa.
Anyway remember that the tourist visa is the easiest and the cheapest but made for the shortest period, but if you need to come several times during a year, you will have to do business visa.
The Russian visa can be received in the Russian embassy or Official Visa venter of your country or the country where you are currently in. You can find the contact details of the Russian embassies or Visa centers on the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website visa.kdmid.ru after choosing your language in the second unfolding line and your country in the first unfolding line.
In order to apply for a visa, you should prepare and submit the documents depending on type of the visa you need. Please check the link below.
The list of the Documents for Russian Tourist visa
Time and money
After you receive an invitation, fill in visa application form and prepare all the other documents, you will submit all of them to the Russian consulate, pay a visa fee and if everything is ok, in 1-14 days you will get your visa. There is also a service of urgent consideration of your documents but it costs additional money. In sum, average time to get your visa is about 9 days.
The amount of the visa fee depends on the type of your visa, i.e. quantity of entries, time of consideration of your documents (from 1 up to 14 days) and even the nationality and country you are applying from. For example if an American applies from Finland, it will cost more than if he applies from Rumania.
Usually the price for the Russian visa for a citizen of some country is the same as the price for the visa of this country for a Russian citizen. The most expensive visa for Russians is the American visa, so usually the Americans pay for the Russian visa the same price.
Some useful advices to increase your chances.
- We recommend you first of all to receive an invitation letter (voucher or tourist confirmation corresponding to the type of your visa) and only after then to fill in the visa application form and submit all the documents.
- The data you indicate in the visa application form must be exactly the same as the data indicated in the invitation letter (the purpose of your trip, place of stay). Also while submitting the document to the consulate it is important to tell the information that won’t contradict the information indicated in the invitation and visa application form.
- Be careful when filling out your Visa application form and provide as much information as possible. If you make a typo or provide insufficient information, the Consulate might reject your visa application without providing any explanation and the whole procedure needs to be restarted then.
- Ideal time to start your visa procedure is 2-3 months prior to departure. Please note, we recommend not to make any non-refundable bookings for your trip until you receive the passport with visa stamp back from the Consulate.
- The 30 days visa is got only as per your request. So please double check the dates of the entry and departure you need.
- Please note that it is not possible to have two visas at the same time. If you have already a visa in your passport, the embassy will cancel it first in order to give you a new one.
- Remember that the visa is a permit not only for entry but also for departure: if you lose it or stay longer than the date indicated in your visa, to leave can be more problematic than to enter.
As soon as you cross the border, you will be asked to fill in the migration card. The questions in it are standard. Put down the name and the address of the inviting company (as it is indicated in the invitation letter). You will give the card back to the migration service at your departure.
Sometimes on the border they can ask you how many days you are planning to stay in Russia and put a stamp as per your return ticket. In this case you should leave the country not later than this date even if your visa is issued for a longer period.
Russian visa registration.
If you stay in Russia more than 7 days, you need to register your visa. As a rule, if you stay in a hotel, they will do it for you for free. Or, if you stay in a hostel, the landlord have to do it for you. They submit a special registration form and pay a small fee (about 2 $). After that you receive a special document that you should take with you everywhere. If you вщтже register your visa or won’t be able to show this document to the police if they ask, you might be imposed a fine of 30$ or even deported.
After you leave the country, the hotel or the landlord must inform the authorities by sending the second part of the form.
Other useful links with information about Russian visa:
Invitation letter (voucher, tourist confirmation)
How to fill in the Russian visa application form