United States citizens are among the top twenty most frequent visitors to Russia. In 2018, 337,395 Americans traveled to Russia marking an increase of 15% from the previous year.
However, traveling to Russia from the US is not an easy thing to do. Due to the political relations between the US and Russia, both countries have introduced many restrictions for travelers from the other country.
Following in this article, you can learn anything you need to know about the procedures of traveling from the United States to Russia.
Do US Nationals Need a Visa for Russia?
US passport holders do need a visa to enter Russia. A visa to Russia is required from US citizens for every purpose of entry, including transiting through land or sea.
You will be exempt from the Russia visa requirement only in two cases:
- You are flying with an international airline and changing flights in the Russian Federation. There is one sole condition that this airport has a transit area.
- You hold dual citizenship. US citizenship and the citizenship of a country that is exempt from the Russia visa requirements.
How to Apply for a Russia Visa in the US?
Applying for a Russia visa in the US is not as hard as it may seem. In fact, the process is almost identical to applying from other countries in the world.
If you are an American, or applying for a Russia visa in USA, follow the steps listed below:
- Get the Invitation (Visa Support). The Invitation is the basement of your application. You should get this document in collaboration with your host in Russia. The host may be a friend, a family member, an employer etc. If you are planning to travel to Russia for tourism purposes, you can get your invitation from a travel agency or a hotel.
- Complete the Russian visa online application form. The application form for a Russia visa for US citizens is available at kdmid.ru. This is the official website of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Reply to every question asked in this form.
- Collect the Russia visa required documents for US citizens. Proceed with collecting the required documents for a Russian visa. Note that the required documents differ from one country to the other. The documents also depend on the visa type you are applying for.
- Apply at a Russian Visa Processing Center in the US. You will need to submit all these documents at the Russian visa center in the American state you live. You will also have to pay the fees for a visa application when you submit your documents.
- Wait for the processing of your visa. After that, you will need to wait for the Russian embassy to process your application.
After you arrive in Russia from US
After you get your visa, you can freely travel from the US to Russia. Still, there are tasks you need to complete upon your arrival in Russia.
- The immigration card. When you enter Russia, you will need to fill out the immigration card, during the passport control. The card consists of two identical sides. Complete both of these sides, and keep only one part. The border police will keep the other part of the card. Later, you will need to submit this card back to the border police, when you leave Russia.
- Visa registration. Upon arrival in Russia, you have 7 working days to register your visa. You will need your immigration card and passport to register your visa. There are two ways to register a visa.
- First, at the hotel where you are staying.
- Second, through the property owner of the apartment you have rented for your stay, or where your friends reside (who have invited your over).
Russia Visa Required Documents for US Passport Holders
You will need to submit several documents as a part of your Russia visa application process. These documents prove that you meet the criteria to travel to Russia.
The standard required documents for a visa to Russia are as follows:
- Visa Application Form. Fill in the form electronically on the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MID) website kdmid.ru, giving in all of the required information. Make sure your answers are correct and then print the form.
- Valid Passport. Your passport must have a minimum of six-month validity after the expiration of the visa you are applying for. In addition, it must have at least two blank pages.
- A recent passport size photo. Glue this photo to the indicated space in the printed application form.
- Proof of residence. Submit proof that you reside in the US, if you are not a national of the country, but only a resident.
- Visa support. This is an invitation to travel to Russia. It may be an invitation issued by a hotel, friends, a business etc., depending on the purpose of your trip.
You also need to submit documents to prove your purpose of applying for a Russia visa in US. These documents are:
- The required documents for a Russian Tourist Visa application in the US.
- The required documents for a Russian Business Visa application in the US.
- The required documents for a Russian Student Visa application in the US.
- The required documents for a Russian Private Visa application in the US.
- The required documents for a Russian Transit Visa application in the US.
- The required documents for a Russia Work Visa application in the US.
- The required documents for a Russian Highly Skilled Migrant Visa application in the US.
- The required documents for a Russian Humanitarian Visa application in the US.
Russia Visa Costs for US Citizens
Russia applies different visa fees to applicants according to their nationality. All Russia visa types for US nationals cost 150,4 EUR.
Where to Apply for a Russian Visa from USA?
US citizens need to submit their Russia visa application at the Russian visa service in the American state they live.
Information on the Russian visa service application centers in the US:
Apply for a Russia visa from Washington, D.C.
You can apply for a Russia Visa in Washington at the CIBT Office or Travisa visa application center:
Apply for a Russia visa from San Francisco
You can apply for a Russia Visa in San Francisco at the CIBT Office or Travisa visa application center:
Apply for a Russia visa from Puerto Rico
You can apply for a Russia Visa in Puerto Rico at the Travisa visa application center:
Address: San Patricio Plaza, Guaynabo, PR 00968
Telephone: +1 (787) 273-6022
Fax: +1 (809) 273-6070
Apply for a Russia visa from New York
You can apply for a Russia Visa in New York at the CIBT Office or Travisa visa application center:
Apply for a Russia visa from Los Angeles
You can apply for a Russia Visa in Los Angeles at the CIBT Office or Travisa visa application center:
Apply for a Russia visa from Houston
You can apply for a Russia Visa in Houston at the CIBT Office or Travisa visa application center
Apply for a Russia visa from Chicago
You can apply for a Russia Visa in Chicago at the CIBT Office or Travisa visa application center:
Apply for a Russia visa from Atlanta
You can apply for a Russia Visa in Atlanta at the CIBT Office or Travisa visa application center:
Russia Visa Application Processing in the US
The average processing time for a Russia Visa is 10 days. Yet, the processing can take from seven to 20 working days. Those in a hurry can apply for expedited processing, which takes three working days. A higher fee will be charged to those that want to benefit from the expedited visa application processing.