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.
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.
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!
**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.
* 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.