Russia visa

VISA INFORMATION FOR RUSSIA

Invitation letter for Russian visa (tourist, Student or Business visa)

Tourist travel Russian visa:
If you visit Russia for travel purposes, we will provide you with an invitation letter to obtain a Tourist Russian visa for max. 30 days, short-term travel. The invitation can be arranged for single entry visa or double entry visa.

Long term Russian visa (called business type visa):
If you travel for longer that 30 days we will provide you with a Business invitation letter to obtain a Business Russian visa (for longer term stays) at the Russian consulates serving your area. The business invitation can be arranged for single entry visa or double entry visa.

Student Russian Visa:
If you book a Russian language course, we will provide you with an official invitation letter and supporting documents to obtain your appropriate student visa to Russia.

If you wish to travel independently to Russia, and just need a Russian visa support use our online visa application form.

Please note that certain Consulates (UK, US, Austria, Switzerland) require to mail the original invitation letters for double entry or long-term stays (more than 90 days) from Russia directly. For all other invitations, a fax or printed copy of the scanned invitation letter and voucher will be sufficient.

Citizens of the following countries: Israel, Finland and Shengen Countries (Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal and France) must also present a medical insurance certificate valid for Russia or a guarantee of medical coverage from the Russian hosting organization for the intended period of stay. All other citizens must state on their visa application forms that they have valid medical coverage (from their own medical insurance), however no proof must be submitted.

Visit also our other visa information pages about how to obtain Mongolian visa and Chinese visa if you wish to travel along the transsiberian Railroad to those country.

Russian Embassies and Consulates

Some Russian Embassies and Consulates have their own web-pages, on which you will find application forms, details of the visa application process and current Russian visa fees applicable for your country and citizenship (they are different, yes !!!). Bellow you will find a list of the major Russian Consulates or click here for a list of all Russian Consulates worldwide.

Russian Consulate in London Russian Embassy in Bonn, Germany
Consulate General in New York Russian embassy in Switzerland
Consulate General in San Francisco Russian embassy in Japan
Russian embassy in Washington D.C. Embassy in Brazil
Russian embassy in Toronto, Canada Chinese Embassy in Beijing
Russian Consulate in Australia Consulate in Zimbawe
Consulate General in Cape Town Consulate in Madrid, Spain
Russian Consulates in India Russian Consulate in Helsinki, Finland
Russian Consulate in Singapore Embassy in Rome, Italy

Please visit our special page Russian consulates North America to find out which Russian consulate may serve you in North America. We also have list of Consulates in German and French speaking countries (German, French) and a complete list with all Russian foreign representations.

In order to get a TRANSIT visa you should first get a visa of the state of destination and submit it to the Russian Consulate General along with papers mentioned above. A transit visa Ukraine, Belarus and Russia is normally valid for 72 hours only. Members of cruise ships are not required to have a visa in the port of St.Petersburg.

After your visa is received please check all items on your visa as there are frequently errors. If you discover any mistake return it immediately to the Consulate for correction. If you would like to extent the visa, the easiest way is to get a new invitation and submit it with the visa to the Russian Consulate. Please note that visas cannot be extended in Russia.

Migration Card Russia on arrival in Russia

When entering Russia, you will be asked to hand-in a migration card while passing through customs. It consists of two sections and the top portion is immediately collected by the passport/visa control officials, while the bottom part is collected when you leave the country. Officials may also ask about your plans and the inviting organization. Therefore, take copies of your invitation letters and other travel documents with you.

Local Visa Registration

Foreign citizens visiting Russia on a tourist or business visa must register with the local migration authorities. The registration has to take place within 7 (seven) business days upon arrival to Russia including the arrival day. The registration must be completed by the receiving entity (hotel, apartment landlord, receiving host). Please note that the receiving entity is not necessarily the same as the inviting organization or hotel indicated on the person’s visa invitation but the actual host company, hotel or person a foreigner is visiting in Russia. The initial registration has to take place within 3 business days upon arrival to Russia including the arrival day. If you visit several cities, you need to re-register your visa at each city where you stay more than three business days. Re-registration should be completed on the next business day upon your arrival to this city. If you stay less than 7 business days in each city, only initial registration is required.
We suggest that you keep copies of tickets, hotel reservations and other documents that could serve as a proof of itinerary. Keep all copies of registration notifications along your trip.
If you stay at the hotel, the registration is fully taken care of by the hotel. Please request a copy of the registration at the reception.
If you stay at a private apartment, a visa is to be registered by a landlord whether it is a tourist or a business visa. A landlord must apply for your registration at the local post office, police station (in Moscow) or department of Federal Migration Service (commonly known as OVIR) in other cities. A landlord will need to fill out a notification form and include a copy of your passport (pages with photo and visa) and migration card. A landlord must be a Russian citizen officially registered at the same apartment.

The Russian visa process in the United States is the following

(for other countries the process is similar, please inquire at the Russian Consulates serving your area). The following documents must be submitted:
  • A completed visa application form can be obtained from the Consulate General website or can be downloaded here: Russian Visa Application for citizens of US, UK and Georgia. Check also the The form requirements
  • Valid national passport (original). It must be valid not less than one month after the date of departure from Russia. Holders of travel documents other than passports (Permit to Re-Enter the United States of America, Refugee Travel Document, etc.) must apply in person. The passport must be valid not less than 6 months after the date of departure from Russia. Please make sure there is empty space in your passport to put another visa.
  • One recent passport size picture (approx. size 3×4 cm) with your name written on the back. Pictures can be black-and-white or color, preferably on mat paper.
  • Letter of invitation If you request a tourist visa invitation from us (for stays up-to 1 month max) a letter of invitation and a voucher will be sent to you. If you apply for a business visa, an official invitation from the Interior Ministry will be sent to you.
  • A cover letter from yourself, containing the following information:
    • applicant’s name or alphabetical list of a group;
    • dates and points of arrival and departure in and from Russia and means of transportation;
    • itinerary in Russia;
  • HIV Test (AIDS) Certificate An HIV test is required for all long term multi entry type of visa, you must present a recent (less than a three months old) AIDS-certificate stating that you are HIV negative. Such certificates can be obtained at your local hospital/doctor.
  • A check made payable to the “Russian Consulate General” by money order, cashier’s check or company check. Please do not pay by cash or by personal checks. The following fees apply for the US (as of March 2011):
Processing time Single-Entry Double-Entry Multiple-Entry
4-20 business days $140 $140 $150
3 business days $250 $250 $450

The same day processing applies only to the applications which are delivered to the Consulate General before 11 a.m. and picked-up at 12.30 p.m. Please note that the same day issued visa will be valid not earlier than in three working days from the date of issue. If one applies by mail, one extra day is added to the visa processing time. Visa processing fees are not refundable.

Russian tourist visa in China

If you apply for a Russian tourist visa in China, you will need to contact the Chinese Embassy in Beijing. The visa section is opened for visitors from Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. till 12:00 p.m. only. Visa documents are accepted until 11:45 a.m. only. You must pay $2 or 20 RMB as a consular fee, which is non-refundable. Official processing time is 5 business days, which means that you need to plan at least a week to obtain the visa from the Consulate. The Consulate fee is USD 50 for most nationalities, and needs to be paid in cash when you apply. Apparently, the Russian Consulates in Beijing (and Mongolia) require now the original of the invitation even for tourist visas, or even refuse visas to non-Chinese cities at all. All other Consulates require copies only. We strongly suggest not to apply for the Russia visa in China at this point.

Be prepared that at most Russian Consulates there are long queues in summer. For other practical information on obtaining the Russian visa at various Consulates, please visit Ruths Russia visa pages.

For visa to other CIS (former USSR) republics like Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Belarus, or Kyrgystan, please contact-us. We can provide the invitation also for these countries.

Baraban – Bay Area Russian American Banner Affiliates Network