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WARNING: Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, visa applications for your destination country may not have started yet. Please consult the relevant official authorities for up-to-date information.

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Russian Federation is situated at the conjunction of Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. Moscow being the capital of the country, St. Petersburg, Grozny and Krasnodar are among the most visited Russian cities.

Russia Visa Guide will provide you with the most up-to-date information on the country’s visa rules and regulations for foreigners. You can discover country-specific visa requirements and necessary documents depending on your nationality of origin. Do not forget to buy your “Russia Flight Ticket” to start all of the preparations for your trip.

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Do I Need a Visa to Travel to Russia?

In general nationals of all foreign countries shall apply for entry visas in order to enter and stay in Russia for predetermined periods. There are some countries which are exempted from visa requirements depending on the nature of bilateral relations. Accordingly, citizens of some countries are eligible to apply for electronic visas. You can find the complete list of countries whose citizens can apply for e-visas within minutes. Citizens of about 60 nations are not asked for a visa to visit Russia given that their stay is not exceeding 90 days in 180 days periods starting from the first day of entry. Nationals of Belarus and South Ossetia are entitled the right to visa-free travel to Russia without any time restrictions. Make sure to double check with the Russian diplomatic missions in your country of residence to make sure whether you will need an entry visa to go to Russia.

Russia Visa Types

Different types of visas for entry to Russian Federation are as following: tourist visa, business visa, private visa, work visa, student visa, humanitarian and transit visa. Single, double or multiple-entry visas distinguish the holder’s term of stay. Visa holders cannot stay in Russia longer than 90 days in periods of 180 days unless stated otherwise. E-visa can be obtained by citizens of listed countries for restricted travels and on single-entry terms within 30 days. In the case that the objective of your trip does not correspond to any of the mentioned visa types please apply for a traditional (non electronic) visa at authorized diplomatic missions.

Type C (Short-term Stay) Visa

Short-term visa is issued for predetermined periods in line with the applicant’s request for stays that are not exceeding a maximum of 90 days. Russia visa applications can be processed from the authorized diplomatic missions or delegated visa processing centers in one’s country of residence.

Russia Tourist Visa

Russia tourist visa is issued to third country nationals who are obliged to obtain an entry visa  to travel to the country for tourism and entertainment related purposes. Tourist visa holders can remain in Russia for up to 30 days.

Russia Visa for Business and Fair Visits

Business visa is granted to foreign nationals who wish to visit Russia solely for business reasons whether it requires the applicant to attend a conference or engaging in commercial activities. Travelers can stay in the country for up to three months with single or double entry visas. However, multiple entry business visa which will be valid for up to one year can be obtained if the applicant is able to prove the necessity of frequent travels.

Russia Visa for Visit to Family, Relatives and Friends

Travels to Russian Federation by third country nationals with the intention of visiting family, relatives or friends shall refer to private visa category.  The application must be supported through a private invitation from relative or friends who are in Russia. Private visa is valid for periods up to 90 days.

Russia Visa for Cultural, Sports Activities and Participation to Conferences

Foreign travelers are asked to obtain an entry visa to enter Russia in order to participate cultural or sports related events. Humanitarian visa is issued on single or double-entry terms for sport, cultural, scientific, religious, charity or humanitarian purposes. An official invitation letter provided by the host organization in Russia is mandatory. The multiple entry visa can be issued for 1-3 years although it does not mean a long-term residence permit.

Russia Visa for Short-term Education and Traineeship

Foreign travelers who would like to visit Russia for short-term education or training purposes can obtain a short-term student or work visa which will be valid for periods up to 90 days. An official invitation letter from the prospective employer or education institution based in Russia is mandatory to apply for such visa.

Type D (Long-term Stay) Visa

Long-term visa grants its holder the right to visit to Russia for periods extending 90 days. Foreigner students who wish to study in Russian education institutions shall obtain a student visa. The visa is granted for maximum one year with multiple entry possibility, however applying for a residence permit is mandatory for long-term stays. Admission letter from the Russian high education institutes is among the requirements to apply for a student visa.Third country nationals who wish to remain in Russia to work in a given period are required to apply for work visa. Experts, artists or scholars can obtain a work visa if it will be approved by the Ministry of Interior. Foreigners who would like to extend his/her stay in Russia must apply for a residence permit from relevant government bodies, before the expiry date of their visa.

Russia Transit Visa

Transit visa enables the travelers to change flights at the international zone of Russian airports on the way to third destinations. Russian transit visa is valid for maximum 3 days. The traveler must be able to submit an eligible travel document or passport that is valid for minimum six months after the travel dates, travel tickets and a visa if necessary for the next destination.

General Requirements to Apply for Russia Visa

Tourist visa requirements for Russian Federation are explained in detail below. Please be aware of the fact that the required documents may differ depending on the term and purpose of your stay, hence the category of your visa. The Consulate always reserves its right to ask for additional documents.

Russia Visa Applications

  1. A passport or travel document with at minimum two blank pages, valid for at least six months and for at least 90 days after the end of travel. Copy of the first page including personal data and previous visas if obtained.
  2. Completed and signed visa application form along with two biometric photo that is not older than 6 months.
  3. Proof of travel with confirmed both-way tickets.
  4. Bank account details proving that the passenger can sufficiently fund his/her travel.
  5. Evidence of occupation in the form of certified documents through employer letter, student certificate, document of registration or demonstration of pension funds.
  6. Accommodation details through an invitation letter or proof of your hotel reservation throughout your stay.
  7. Documentation of travel health insurance which will be valid in Russia for the entire period of stay.

Additional specific documents may be asked  to enclose your application depending on your employment status.

Employed:

  • Employment contract (original certificate of employment indicating the position in the company and the salary)
  • Bank account statement of the past 6 months
  • Approval letter of leave from employer
  • Income Tax Return (ITR)

Self-employed:

  • Proof of business license (company registration)
  • Company’s bank account statement of the past 6 months
  • Income Tax Return (ITR)

Student:

  • Documentation of University enrollment
  • No-objection certificate from school management

Retired:

  • Pension statement documenting the past 6 months

  Unemployed:

  • Proof of financial resources is nevertheless required
  • If the person is not able to finance his/her own expenses, proof of a sponsor is mandatory.

What is Visa Sponsorship for Russia?

Students or unemployed/retired people who are not in a position to cover their own travel expenses will need to demonstrate support from a sponsor who will borne the full costs. The sponsor is entitled to certain requirements. Hence, only first grade relatives can fulfill this position. You can check our website for all the relevant details.

Russia Visa Rules

  • Electronic visas are issued free of charge for visits to the regions of Far-Eastern Federal District, or Kaliningrad Oblast, or Saint-Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast. Holders of e-visas cannot visit other regions in the Russian Federation. Applications are processed online. E-visa application form cannot be submitted earlier than 20 days or later than last 4 days before the intended travel date.
  • Biometric fingerprinting of all foreign citizens are mandatory for the visa application process.
  • Dual citizens holding also Russian citizenship must enter and leave Russian territory with the Russian passport.
  • An immigration card shall be filled out upon arrival at the Russian airports. Immigration card consists of two identical pieces and one must be kept by the traveler until the end of trip to safely leave the country. Be aware that many hotels wouldn’t accept guests without the immigration card.
  • Applicants who are requesting long-term tourist or work visas may be asked to go through an HIV/AIDS test.
  • Passports holders from former Soviet states such as Belarus, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Armenia etc. can enter Russia with ordinary passports of their countries.
  • Please keep in mind that the entry requirements may change based on decisions of the authorities and it is strongly advised to have solid information from the local diplomatic missions in your country of residence prior to your departure.

 

Russia Visa Requirements

In addition to above mentioned application documents, general requirements include:

Russia Visa for European countries

Nationals  of the EU member states are asked for entry visas to visit the Russian Federation.

EU citizens are entitled the right to apply for Russian e-visa to visit to St. Petersburg as of October 2019. However, its holders can merely stay in St. Petersburg and its nearby regions for periods up to 8 days.

Russia Visa requirement for US, UK, and Canadian citizens

UK, Canadian and US citizens are not exempted from visa requirements to travel to the Russian Federation. A passport that is valid for at least six months after the travel date is required. Passengers who are on cruise or ferry are entitled to stay in Russia for up to 72 hours even if they do not hold a visa. But they must have booked their trip via a licensed travel agency.

  • US citizens holding US passports can request a three-month valid single-entry visa or a multiple-entry visa that will be valid for a total of three years in line with a bilateral agreement approved in 2012.
  • UK citizens holding UK passports must apply for an entry visa from the authorized Russian diplomatic missions.
  • Canadian citizens holding Canadian passports are entitled to visa requirements that will be suitable with the purpose of their visit to Russia.

Russia Visa Fees

Russian visa fee may change depending on the type of visa and country of application. The visa fee comprises of the processing costs by the Consulate and service fee unless stated otherwise. Also, beware that the fee is non-refundable which means that the rejection of your application will not be reimbursed.

Single-entry  Tourist Visa 80 USD Consular Fee + 35 USD Service Fee
Multiple-entry Tourist  Visa 128 USD Consular Fee + 35 USD Service Fee

NOTE: This article was prepared in March 2020. Please check up-to-date information published by official sources.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I get a multiple entry tourist visa for Russia?

May my Russia visa get rejected?

How can I check my Russia visa status online?

How long does it take to get a Russia visa?

Does my previous nationality matter for getting a Russia visa?

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