Who Needs a Russian Visa?

///Who Needs a Russian Visa?
Who Needs a Russian Visa? 2019-03-01T12:28:12+00:00

To many, Russia may seem an unreachable and isolated country due to its politics. Despite the strict and complicated visa policies, many people can actually travel to Russia without a visa.

If you are wondering, “Do I need a visa for Russia?” following in this article you will find the answer to your question.

Following, find a list of the nationals that do not need to apply for any type of Russian visa, and the situations in which nationals of the rest of the world countries can be exempt from this requirement.

Do I Need a visa for Russia?

When it comes to the nationals of world countries that can enter Russia visa-free, the rules are not the same for all of them. These rules determine the period of stay and the scope of activities that can be performed during the visa-free stay, which differ. Russian authorities have categorized countries based on these rules, in several groups.

Group I: Unlimited Visa-Free Stay in Russia

Nationals of Belarus and South Ossetia can enter Russia and remain there for an unlimited time.

Group II: Up to 90-Days Visa-Free Stay

Nationals of the following countries can enter Russia and remain for up to 90 days, without the need of obtaining a visa prior to their trip:

  • Abkhazia
  • Argentina*
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bolivia*
  • Brazil*
  • Chile*
  • Colombia*
  • Cuba*
  • Dominica*
  • Ecuador*
  • El Salvador*
  • Estonia (holders of an alien passport)
  • Fiji*
  • Grenada*
  • Guatemala*
  • Guyana*
  • Honduras*
  • Israel*
  • Jamaica*
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Latvia (holders of a non-citizen passport)
  • Moldova
  • Nicaragua*
  • Panama*
  • Paraguay*
  • Peru*
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis*
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines*
  • South Africa*
  • Tajikistan
  • Ukraine
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Uruguay*
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vanuatu*
  • Venezuela*

*Nationals of these countries can enter Russia without a visa only for non-commercial purposes.

Group III: Up to 60-Days Visa-Free Stay for Non-Commercial Purposes

Nationals of the following countries can enter Russia for non-commercial purposes without a visa, and remain here for up to 60 days:

  • Mauritius
  • Samoa
  • South Korea

Group IV: Up to 30-Days Visa-Free Stay for Non-Commercial Purposes

Nationals of the following countries can enter Russia for non-commercial purposes without a visa, and remain here for up to 30 days:

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Laos
  • Macao (Persons holding a Macau Special Administrative Region passport)
  • Mongolia
  • Montenegro
  • North Macedonia*
  • Palau
  • Serbia
  • Seychelles
  • Thailand

*A letter of guarantee/invitation and a tourist voucher are compulsory for citizens of North Macedonia in order to be permitted to enter Russia.

Group V: Up to 14-Days Visa-Free Stay for Non-Commercial Purposes

Nationals of the following countries can enter Russia for non-commercial purposes without a visa, and remain here for up to 14 days:

  • Brunei
  • Hong Kong (Persons holding a Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passport)
  • Nauru

Group VI: Travelers in Possession of a Belarus Visa

Due to the Belarus-Russia visa recognition agreement, which is expected to come into force after May 2019, travelers in possession of a Belarus visa will be able to enter Russia without another visa.

Group VII: UP to 15 Days Visa-Free Entry for Chinese Citizens Part of a Tour Group

Chinese nationals can enter Russia without a visa and stay here for up to 15 days. The sole condition is that they must be traveling as part of a tour group (from 5 to 50 persons) that is accompanied by a representative of a tour operator registered in both countries.

72h Visa-Free Entry for Cruise Ship and Ferry Passengers

Russia has made possible visa-free visits for up to 72 hours for cruise ship and ferry passengers, via several ports. The travelers must spend the night on-board or in accommodation specifically approved by the travel agency, in order to be eligible for this type of visa-free entry.

Visa-free visits for up to 72 hours for cruise ship and ferry passengers is possible only for those entering Russia through the ports of:

  • Anadyr
  • Kaliningrad
  • Korsakov
  • Novorossiysk
  • Murmansk
  • Sevastopol
  • Sochi
  • Saint Petersburg (Big port Saint Petersburg and Passenger Port of St. Petersburg)
  • Vladivostok
  • Vyborg
  • Zarubino

Russia Visa-Free Transit

Although there is a Russia Transit Visa, several categories of travelers are exempt from the obligation to obtain one. Passengers that need to stop at one of the Russian airports in order to get a plane to their destination country are permitted to remain in the international transit area for 24h without a visa.

However, you will need a visa when transiting through Russian airports that do not have an international transit area. These airports are as follows:

  • Irkutsk Airport (IKT)
  • Kaliningad Airport (KGD)
  • Khabarovsk Airport (KHV)
  • Krasnodar Airport (KRR)
  • Mineralnye Vody Airport (MRV)
  • Rostov Airport (ROV)
  • Sochi Airport (AER)
  • Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk Airport (UUS)
  • Zhukovsky Airport (ZIA)

A Transit Visa is not required for those passing through the Russian part of the Saimaa canal without leaving the vessel. The traveler will still go through passport controls at the border of the canal.

Visa-Free Entry to Russia with APEC Business Travel Card

Nationals of some countries that hold an APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) containing the “RUS” code on the reverse, valid for travel to Russia, can enter the country visa-free.  They are permitted to enter only for business trips for up to 90 days within any 180-day period.

These countries are:

  • Australia
  • Brunei
  • Chile
  • China
  • Hong Kong
  • Indonesia
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Malaysia
  • Mexico
  • New Zealand
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Singapore
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

Visa-Free Entry for Holders of Diplomatic and Service Passports

Russia has reached reciprocal agreements with a number of countries, for exemption from the visa requirement for holders of diplomatic passports. Various categories of service passports have also been exempt from the requirement.

Holders of diplomatic passports from the following countries:

  • European Union
  • Armenia
  • Iceland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Mauritius
  • Monaco
  • Norway
  • Qatar
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vatican

*Diplomatic and service passports for Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia.

Holders of diplomatic and service passports from the following countries

  • Abkhazia
  • Albania
  • Algeria (from 6 Feb 2019)
  • Angola
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belarus
  • Benin
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Botswana
  • Brazil
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burundi
  • Cape Verde
  • Cambodia
  • Chile
  • Costa Rica
  • Cuba
  • Dominica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ethiopia
  • Gabon
  • Gambia
  • Guinea
  • Guyana
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Jamaica
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Laos
  • North Macedonia
  • Mali
  • Moldova
  • Mongolia
  • Montenegro
  • Morocco
  • Mozambique
  • Nepal
  • North Korea
  • Pakistan
  • Palau
  • Senegal
  • Serbia
  • South Ossetia
  • Tajikistan
  • Thailand
  • Turkmenistan
  • Ukraine
  • Vanuatu
  • Venezuela
  • Vietnam
  • Zimbabwe

Holders of diplomatic and official passports from the following countries:

  • Bangladesh
  • Brunei
  • Colombia
  • El Salvador
  • Grenada
  • Honduras
  • Nauru
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Samoa
  • Seychelles
  • Uruguay

Holders of diplomatic, service and official passports from the following countries:

  • Argentina 2 D S O
  • Bolivia
  • Congo
  • Ecuador
  • India
  • Mexico
  • Myanmar
  • Nicaragua
  • Philippines
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • Sri Lanka

Holders of diplomatic, service and special passports from the following countries:

  • Bahrain
  • China
  • Egypt
  • Jordan
  • Oman
  • Peru
  • Syria
  • Tunisia

Holders of diplomatic and special passports from the following countries:

  • Fiji
  • Kuwait
  • United Arab Emirates

Holders of diplomatic, official and consular passports from Guatemala.

Holders of diplomatic, service, official, special passports from Paraguay.

Holders of diplomatic, service, official, special and consular passports from Panama.

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