Russian Visas – Information about different Russian VISA types, document requirements for the application, visa fees and application form.

Most foreign citizens must obtain entry visas in order to travel to the Russian Federation, except for the citizens of some countries that do enjoy a visa-free regime.

A visa is a document or endorsement on a passport that permits the holder to enter, stay, and leave Russia within a specified period of time. In a visa you will find listed entry and exit dates, vital information, passport details and other information about the person or party that sends you (the visa holder) the invitation.

Russian Visa Information and Requirements

To obtain a Russian Visa you must apply at the Russian embassy, consulate, or representative office! It is advised to apply in person instead of online or through post. Applying through the Post will also be the slowest way for you to receive the visa.

There are different Visa types for specific occasions, such as:

For each specific visa, there are also specific documents required to complete and send to the Russian Embassy. Also, the required documents vary between states, but in general you will need the documents listed below:

General Required Russian Visa Documents:

  • Your current passport, valid for a minimum of six months after the visa’s expiration date. Your passport must have at least 2 blank pages, which do not need to be consecutive.
  • Visa Application Form filled and printed out from the website only. Make sure that the dates of your entry and exit entered in the application form match and fall within the period specified in your supporting documents.
  • A recent passport size photo, which you should glue to the indicated space in the application form.
  • A letter of invitation from your family members, relatives, friends or organization.
  • Introductory letter from your University/College (or from yourself in case you are self-employed) giving full details of the traveler, destinations, dates and purpose of the visit as well as stating the name of the inviting organization, contact details of the responsible person in Russia and explaining who will take financial responsibility of your trip.
  • Self-employed, company directors, working from home or unemployed applicants need to provide bank statements for the last three months which have a current balance of a minimum of 121€ per day for the duration of the visit/stay. Please note that if you wish to provide online banking printouts, make sure they are certified and stamped by your bank. Exceptions are: housewives, students, and retired applicants.
  • Insurance policy for the whole period of stay in Russia. The policy document should show validity for the duration of the journey as well as indicate the geographical area coverage, including Russia. Copies of insurance cards are not admissible! If covered by Company insurance, a signed letter on the Company letterhead, which clearly confirms the validity of the insurance in Russia for the entire duration of the journey, would suffice!

*Note: If you are applying from a country where you reside, different than your citizenship, then you must provide a proof of residence in that particular state for the last 90 days. One of the following documents should be submitted to confirm the same: applicant’s valid visa for the particular residing state in your passport, last three months bank statements, utility bills with applicant’s name and address, letter from employer specifying the starting date of employment or for students, letter from University/ College specifying the date of enrolment and course details. Rent, mortgage agreements, and phone bills are not acceptable!

All visa supporting documents must be in Russian or English language only! 

If you have no previous employment or educational history, you need to enclose a signed cover letter, which confirms the same and then mail it together with your application form.

Double-entry tourist visa requirements:

Same rules apply with the exception of having to provide the reason for second entry in the Russian Federation.

Multiple-entry visa requirements:

Same rules apply with the exception of having to provide the reason for multiple entries in the Russian Federation.

Photography Specifications:

The photographs you submit must meet these criteria:

  • A recent color photography of yourself, not older than 6 months.
  • Photography measures: 4 cm height, 3.5 cm width, 3 cm space for face
  • The photography must be taken against a light (white or off-white) background in order for your features to contrast against the background and be distinguishable.
  • Clear quality
  • Your face on focus
  • Camera print
  • Full non-smiling face
  • No sunglasses, hats, caps or other head coverings, unless it is of religious belief or ethnic background
  • Stick the photography on the Visa Application Form on the specified spot

*Note: Please meet these criteria, as your application will be considered incomplete otherwise!

Russian Visa Fees

  • Normal applications: 47€ including VAT
  • Urgent applications: 55€ including VAT
  • Method of payment: Either cash or Credit/Debit Card.

To have your passport returned, once processed by the Embassy of the Russian Federation, a nominal charge is 12€ (additional to visa fees and service charges,) which should be paid at the time of submitting your application. The passport then will be sent directly to the specified address in a Special Delivery Envelope!

Make sure to include the charges for the postal return along with the Visa fee and service charges in your Postal order or Bank Draft you send!

*Note: More or less, the same fees apply for approximately all Russian visa types! Depending on your nationality the fees may raise, in which case it best to consult the Russian Embassy directly!

Russian Visa Application Process:

  • Step 1 — Be clear on your purpose of visit!
  • Step 2 — Understand details of short stay visas.
  • Step 3 — Make sure you possess all the supporting documents as required!
  • Step 4 — Fill in the online application form and print it out!
  • Step 5 — Gather your supporting documents and application form and apply in person at the Russian Embassy.
  • Step 6 — When applying, make sure you have all visa fee payments specific for your nationality and type of visa you are applying for all completed.
  • Step 7 — Check closure dates and read security regulation notices before submitting your application.
  • Step 8 — Please note that in order to be able to collect your passport you need to present the original receipt given to you during the submission, which will then be collected from you as proof of delivering your passport.
  • Step 9 — It is your responsibility as the applicant to check the validity of the visa to make sure it covers the period of stay you have requested, the exact number of entries required.

Russian Visa Application Processing Time:

Application processing time depends from the country you apply. It may vary from 5 to 10 working days. Please note that the visa processing time for some nationals may take up to 20 days, and it is solely at the Embassies discretion!

If application is sent by post or if your address is in a rural area, the processing time may take up to 15 days.

*Note: Keep in mind to check out for any public holiday dates or closures when applying!

Specific Documents for Russian Visa Types

Below we will present additional documents required for each specific visa type, apart from the general documents mentioned above!

Russian Tourist Visa

A tourist visa is required if you enter the Russian Federation strictly for tourism purposes. Tourist visa validity is up to 30 days and can be issued for single or double entry. The dates of visa validity will correspond with the dates of your legal invitation, as mentioned above.

  • A tourist voucher or confirmation document, stamped and signed by an authorized person (hotel or travel agent)
  • If you are planning to travel by automobile, then you should enclose a Registration Certificate of the vehicle and a covering letter where you mention the details of the journey, itinerary and names of accompanying travelers, if any.
  • An Invitation letter, if you are visiting relatives or friends with specified itinerary and their latest 3 month bank statement, their current address and phone numbers 

*Note: Tourists on board large cruise Ships have the right to stay in the Russian Federation without a visa for up to 72 hours. They have the right to leave the ship and come back on board the ship only as part of an organized tourist group. Tourists not participating on tours and wishing to disembark will need to obtain a Russia tourist visa.

Cruise passengers may disembark from the ship without a tourist visa if they participate on tours organized by cruise companies. Passengers not participating on tours and wishing to disembark will need to obtain a Russia tourist visa.

For auto-tourism:

In the document, known as Confirmation or Voucher and the in the section Additional Information, the original provider of this Confirmation (your Travel Agent or Hotel, etc.) must specify:

  • The model of your vehicle
  • The number of your vehicle
  • The color of your vehicle

*Note: It is recommended that you do not purchase tickets or make bookings that cannot be cancelled without payment, before obtaining the visa, except for cases where it is a specific stated requirement to do so, as part of the visa application!

Russian Business Visa

A Business Visa is required in cases where you wish to enter Russia strictly for business purposes. Business Visa may be valid for 90 days and can be issued for single, double, or multiple entries. Multiple entry visa can be valid for up to 1 year!

Dates of the validity of the visa will have to correspond with the dates of your legal invitation!

Additional Documents Required for Russian Business Visa:

Except for the general documents required, you will need to provide the following:

  • Invitation issued by the appropriate Russian Federation Migration Service branch. It must contain the official seal and legal address of the hosting institution, signature and name of the authorized person, purpose of your visit, document registration number and date, exact dates of stay, and the names of the persons invited.
  • For multiple entry visa, you will need to send the original invitation, whereas for single and double entry visas the copies of invitations are accepted if not asked otherwise by the Embassy officers.
  • Introductory letter from company/organization (or from yourself if self-employed) providing full details of the traveler, destinations, purpose of visit, dates of visit, the name of the inviting organization, as well as contact details of the person responsible of finances during the trip.

Russian Private Visa

A Private Visa is required if you wish to enter Russia in order to visit family or friends. Private Visa is valid up to 90 days, issued for single or double entry.

Dates of visa validity correspond with the dates stated on your private invitation from relatives or friends in Russia!

Additional Documents Required for Russian Private Visa:

Except for the general documents required, you will also need to provide the following:

  • Original invitation issued by the appropriate Russian Federation Migration Service branch
  • In case of visit for urgent medical purposes, urgent treatment, or for visiting a relative suffering from a serious illness, or for being present due to a deceased relative, you should present a certificate issued by a medical institution, a death certificate, and a document as proof of the kindred between the applicant and the deceased or the ill relative.

Russian Student Visa

A Student Visa is required when you wish to enter Russia in order to study in any of the Russian Universities or to attend short-term courses. A student visa is valid for up to 90 days, issued for single or double entry.

Dates of visa validity correspond with dates of legal invitation issued by the Russian Federal Migration Service agency!

Additional Documents Required for Russian Student Visa:

Except for the general documents required, you will also need to provide the following:

  • When applying for student visa you must additionally submit HIV Test (AIDS) Certificate taken within the last three months. HIV Test (AIDS) Certificate should still be valid for 15- 30 days on the day of your application.

Russian Work Visa

Work Visa is required if you wish to enter Russian Federation for employment purposes. It can be valid for up to 90 days, issued for single or double entry. Work Visa can also be issued for multiple entries, valid for up to 3 years.

Dates of visa validity correspond with dates of legal invitation issued by Russian Federal Migration Service agency.

Additional Documents Required for Russian Work Visa:

Except for the general documents required, you will also need to provide the following:

  • Submit your HIV test Certificate when applying for Work Visa
  • Highly Skilled Specialists are not required to provide a covering letter, unless applying for multiple entries Work Visa with validity for up to 3 years.

Russian Transit Visa

A Transit Visa is not required for as long as you remain in the transit zone of the airport to catch a connecting flight or an onward flight within 24 hours of arrival.

Transit Visas are valid for 3 days when travelling by air, whereas 10 days if travelling by train!

Make sure you check with your travel agent or airline if you will stay in the same terminal or transit zone to catch a connecting flight in order to understand whether you need a transit visa or not.

*Note: Passengers travelling to and from Belarus through the Russian Federation must obtain the transit Russian visa irrespectively of the length of stay in the airport!

Additional Documents Required for Russian Transit Visa:

Except for the general documents required, you will also need to attach:

  • A covering letter explaining the purpose and routes of journey, accompanied with the photocopy of the car registration certificate (details upon the owner and vehicle) in case you are travelling by car. The average daily distance that you cover by car should not be less than 500 km.
  • A valid visa to the country you want to enter after transit through Russia.

Family Members of Russian Citizens Visa

Since the changes of the Federal Law, effective from March 12th 2010, applications are accepted from citizens of the Russian Federation to issue visas for members of their families who are foreign nationals, such as spouses, children under 18 years of age, incapacitated children of any age. They will be able to enter the territory of the Russian Federation accompanied by citizens of the Russian Federation that have also signed the visa request.

These visa applications will enable the issuance of a single/double entry private visa for up to 3 months.

Depending on the applicant’s nationality, the visa processing time may last from 5 up to 20 working days!

Additional Documents Required for Family Members of Russian Citizens:

Except for the general documents required, you will also need to provide the following:

  • Translated birth/marriage certificate in Russian or English if it is in a different language
  • All required documents must be provided as per the Private Visa
  • An apostle is needed for a USA marriage certificate
  • Citizen of the Russian Federation must be present in person when submitting the application in order to sign the visa request form
  • Presence of family members is required if the applicant is over 12 years of age
  • Required originals or certified copies of documents confirming kinship of applicants. These documents are considered if issued by the Russian Federation or the foreign state marriage certificate for spouses, birth/adoption certificate for minor children, and birth/adoption certificate and the medical certificate confirming incapacity for incapacitated children of any age. These foreign state documents should be legalized by the Russian Embassy in the country that issued the documents. Only legal marriage certificate issued by governmental authorities that are stamped and signed are accepted!
  • Copies of the valid passport and proof of stay if residing in another country should also be enclosed with the rest of the documents

*Note: This whole procedure of migration registration also implies informing or notifying a relevant territorial office of the Federal Migration Service about the arrival of the foreign citizen to the place of sojourn. It is also the responsibility of the inviting person to be present in carrying out this procedure within the course of seven working days after arrival of the foreign citizen into the Russian Federation.

Russian Humanitarian Visa

A Humanitarian Visa is required in cases when you wish to enter Russia for cultural, science, sports, religion and other similar purposes. Humanitarian Visa can be valid for up to 90 days and is issued for single entry and double entry; or multiple entries, in which case the visa is valid for up to 1 year. The dates of visa validity correspond with the dates of the legal invitation issued by the Russian Federal Migration Service Agency.

Additional documents for Russian Humanitarian Visa:

Except for the general documents required, you will also need to provide the following:

  • Invitation issued by the appropriate Russian Federation Migration Service branch. It must contain the official seal and legal address of the hosting institution, signature and name of the authorized person, purpose of your visit, document registration number and date, exact dates of stay, and the names of the persons invited.
  • For multiple entry visa, you will need to send the original invitation, whereas for single and double entry visas the copies of invitations are accepted if not asked otherwise by the Embassy officers.

Russian Highly Skilled Migrant Visa

According to Article 13/2 of the Federal Law No 86 of May 19, 2010 “The Alteration in the Federal Law”, “Legal position of foreign citizens in the Russian Federation” and other legislative acts of the Russian Federation since July 1st, 2010, Russian Consulates will receive applications and will also grant visas to foreign citizens that claim to be highly skilled specialists, in accordance with the following:

A foreign citizen can apply to a Russian Consulate with the intention to work as a highly skilled specialist in the Russian Federation.

The application form should be filled in the Russian language, legibly handwritten or printed. The information about the applicant will then be placed on the Federal Migration Service of the Russian Federation website.

The following information must be provided in the application form:

  • Passport data in Russian and in Latin letters (as are in the passport),
  • Information that confirms the experience of the foreign citizen – skills or achievements in a specific field
  • Application should contain recommendations if any, that will confirm expert knowledge and qualification
  • All names should be written in full, without any corrections or abbreviations
  • The visa will be granted based on the invitation by an employer or a sponsor to enter the Russian Federation

The invitation by employer or sponsor should contain:

  • A job vacancy that the invited is supposed to fill, accompanied by the conditions of labor and social support
  • The name of the person invited, date of birth, gender, passport number, and citizenship
  • The full name of the legal entity (employer or contractor)
  • Legal actual address of the employer
  • Taxpayer number and Tax Registration Code
  • Primary state registration number also known as PSRN
  • If employer is a branch or a representative office of a foreign company in the Russian Federation, then information on registration should be provided
  • Expected date of entry and itinerary in the Russian Federation
  • Signed by the director or his deputy, sealed and certified by the legal entity
  • The highly skilled migrant should present a one-month bank statement with a current balance of minimum 6000 €

Upon arrival in the Russian Federation:

  • Signing of the contract will provide the highly skilled migrant with a multiple entry work visa.
  • Visas for the family members of a highly skilled migrant are issued based on the existing procedure; the original visa support letter issued by the Federal Migration Service branch.
  • In case of no contract concluded, then the migrant has to leave the Russian Federation before expiry date of the Business Visa.

Russian Visa for Special Events

Supporting documents must be provided as per visa category you apply for. Instead of a letter of invitation issued by the Russian Federal Migration Service agency, you can also provide a written invitation from organizers of below events:

  • 18 March – 25 April 2016- International Sports events and FINA Diving World Series 2016, Kazan.
  • 21-24 April 2016- European Judo Championship, men and women participants, Kazan.
  • 29 April – 01 May 2016- Russia’s annual World Championship FIA “Formula 1” in Sochi.
  • 12 May – 16 May 2016 the European Sambo Championship, staged at the Ak Bars Martial Art Palace, Kazan.
  • 10 – 20 May 2016 European WUSHU International Championship, Moscow.
  • 19 – 21 May 2016 IX International Helicopter Industry exhibition HELIRUSSIA 2016, Moscow
  • 06 – 22 May 2016- Ice Hockey World Championship, Saint Petersburg and Moscow.
  • 18 – 21 May 2016- International Legal Forum, Saint Petersburg.
  • 15 May  –  10 June 2016- Russia’s annual Championship FIA Formula E, Moscow.
  • 20 May 44th Plenary Session of the IPA CIS, Saint Petersburg.
  • 20-30 May 2016- UIPM Modern Pentathlon, World Championships, Moscow.
  • 25 – 31 May 2016 – International Sambo tournament of “A” category “Memorial Yuri Potapov” (M&W), Vladivostok.
  • 26-30 May 2016- International competitions in fencing “Moscow Sabre” among man and woman (Grand Prix), Moscow.
  • 27 May – 6 June 2016 Football Music Festival “Art-Football”, Moscow.
  • 3 – 6 June 2016 European Men’s rugby series, Sevens Grand Prix Championship, Moscow.
  • 10-12 June 2016 World Touring Car Championship WTCC, Bolokalomsk, Moscow.
  • 10 –13 June 2016 European Women’s rugby series, Sevens Grand Prix Championship, Kazan.
  • 16 – 18 June 2016 International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Saint Petersburg
  • 20 – 27 June 2016 European Canoe Sprint and Paracanoe Championships, Moscow.
  • 23-26 June 2016- World Dog Show, Moscow.
  • 28 June – 1 July – Seminar for the national coordinators of the OSCE countries on the UN Security Council resolution 1540.
  • 6 – 13 July 2016 World Championship in synchronized swimming, held in Kazan.
  • 14 – 18 July 2016 – International Judo tournament among men and women “Grand Slam” in Tymen.
  • 06 – 16 July 2016 World CHOIR Games, Russian music festival, Sochi.
  • 18 – 20 July 2016 – International Judo among men and women training events, Tymen.
  • 20 – 25 July 2016- Artistic Fencing World Championship, Kolomna.
  • 23 – 26 July – European Para- Taekwondo WTF among juniors, Grozny.
  • 10 – 15 August – Motocross World Championship.  Novomikhailovsky, Krasnodar.
  • 10 – 31 August – International Sambo tournament (M&W) “M.Burdikov memorial”, as part of events, also a training camp., will be organized, Kstovo.
  • 16 – 25 August 2016 – World racing series DTM at Moscow raceway, Moscow.
  • 27 August – 04 September 2016 – International Military music festival Red Square, Moscow.
  • 2 – 3 September 2016 – Eastern Economic Forum taking place in Vladivostok.
  • 3 – 4 September 2016- Step FINA World Cup Swimming, Moscow.
  • 19 – 22 September 2016 World Conference of International Association of Science parks and innovation Growth (IASP 2016), Moscow.
  • 22 – 25 September 2016 The XI international Gidroaviasalon 2016 exhibition in Gelendzhik.
  • 22 – 25 September – 6th International open tournament Taekwondo WTF G2, Moscow.
  • 28 – 30 September 2016 – 6th International congress “Road Safety and Public Health” Saint Petersburg.

*Note: The Visa Application will be processed and decided by the Embassy of the Russian Federation. The decision is made solely by the Embassy, without any outside influences over the process. All applicants are considered depending on their own merits and the requirements set out by the Russian Federation Embassy.

Russian Visa Free Regime

Citizens of the following countries enjoy visa free regime, therefore do not require a visa to enter the Russian Federation:

  • Abkhazia
  • Argentina (for 90 days within a 180-day period, starting from the day of first entry). If you wish to stay more than 90 days within a 180-day period, a visa is required.
    Applicants going for commercial or work related activities, a visa is required for the whole period of stay. The same applies for Diplomat or Official passport holders.
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belarus
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina – for tourists up to 30 days, whereas other types of visitors up to 90 days. Although, tourist documents or the original invitation must be presented to the Russian Immigration authorities.
  • Brazil – for tourists, transit purposes, or private visits up to 90 days within the 180-day period. All other cases require a visa.
  • Brunei – up to 14 days for Diplomatic and Service passport holders only.
  • Chile – up to 90 days within the 180-day period. Visa Free Regime is not applicable for work and business related visits, or Diplomatic and Service passport holders.
  • Columbia – up to 90 days within the 180-day period.
  • Croatia – up to 90 days within the 180-day period for Diplomatic and Service passport holders only.
  • Cuba
  • Dominican Republic – up to 90 days for Diplomatic and Service passport holders only.
  • Ecuador – up to 90 days within the 180-day period
  • El Salvador – up to 90 days
  • Guatemala – up to 90 days within the 180-day period
  • Honduras – up to 90 days within the 180-day period
  • Hong Kong – up to 14 days
  • Iceland – up to 90 days for Diplomatic and Service passport holders only
  • Israel – up to 90 days, although, tourist documents or the original invitation are to be presented to the Russian Immigration authorities.
    Visa Free Regime does not apply to Diplomatic and Service passport holders.
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kirghiz Republic
  • Republic of Korea – up to 60 days for tourists
  • Macedonia – up to 30 days for tourists, while 90 days maximum for other visitors. Tourist documents or the original invitation must be presented to the Russian Immigration authorities.
  • Mauritius – up to 60 days for tourism or business purposes
  • Moldova
  • Mongolia – up to 30 days for diplomatic, official, and foreign passports. For consequent trips, the maximum days spent in Russia should not exceed 90 within the 180-day period, starting from the date of the first entry.
  • Montenegro – up to 30 days. Visa Free Regime does not apply for Diplomatic and Service passport holders.
  • Mozambique – up to 30 days for Diplomatic and Service passport holders only
  • Nicaragua – up to 90 days
  • Panama – up to 90 days within the 180-day period
  • Paraguay – up to 90 days within the 180-day period
  • Peru – up to 90 days within the 180-day period. Visa Free Regime does not apply for work and other business related visits as well as Diplomatic and Service passport holders.
  • Serbia – citizens of Serbia that have obtained biometric passports after April 9th 2008, can stay in Russia for up to 30 days. Diplomatic or Official passport holders without accreditation in Russia can stay up to 90 days in total. Serbian nationalities with temporary or permanent resident permits can stay without time limits. Yugoslavian passport holders do not lie within the scope of the Visa Free Regime. In all other cases, Russian Visa is a requirement!
  • The Republic of South Africa – up to 90 days for Diplomatic, Official, and Service passport holders only.
  • Thailand – up to 90 days for Diplomatic and Service passport holders only. Whereas, holders of ordinary passports are allowed to stay up to 30 days.
  • Tajikistan
  • Ukraine
  • Uruguay – up to 90 days within the 180-day period
  • Uzbekistan
  • Venezuela – up to 90 days. Visa Free Regime does not apply for Diplomatic and Service passport holders.

 

*  This is a non-government site and whilst every endeavor is made to ensure the information is correct and up to date, there may be changes which we are not aware of. You should confirm details or any queries with a Russian Consular Office.