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Detailed information about the Russia Private visa for family visits.

What is Russia Private Visa?

A Russian private visa permits travelers to enter Russia for personal reasons, as for visiting family members or friends.

It is granted to the applicant based on an invitation completed under the Russian legislation. The host is responsible to apply for the invitation. He/she should be either a Russian citizen or a foreign national who has obtained residency in Russia.

A Russian private visa can be either single entry or double entry.

Who Needs a Russia Private Visa?

The Russian visa system is a very strict one. Most of the non-Russian world citizens will need to get a Russian private visa to visit their family members or friends in Russia. Only Belarus and South Ossetia nationals can remain in Russia for an unlimited time, without a visa.

Still, there are several countries, the nationals of which can enter Russia visa-free. If you are a national of any of those countries, you can enter Russia under private purposes and remain here for up to 14, 30, 60 or 90 days.

How to Apply for a Russia Private Visa?

The process of applying for a Russia Private Visa consists of a few procedures. If you wish to travel to Russia for private reasons, you should complete these procedures.

Find the process of applying for a Russia Private Visa listed below in some simple and quick steps:

  1. Find out if you need a visa to enter Russia. Check if you need a visa according to your nationality. If you do, continue your application process.
  2. Get the Invitation for a Russian private visa application (Visa Support). If you need a visa, start your application by getting the invitation to visit Russia. Your host should get the invitation to the relevant Russian authorities.
  3. Complete the Russia Private visa application form. You can find the form online at This is the official website of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MID).
  4. Collect the required documents for a Russian Private visa. Gather the rest of the required documents for a Russia private visa. Find a list of these documents below in this article.
  5. Apply in Person at a Russian Consulate / Russian Visa Processing Center. Depending on how the Russian authorities have regulated visa submission in your home country, you will need to apply at either the Russian consulate or a visa-processing center.

After you arrive in Russia

After you collect your passport with the visa in it, you can travel to Russia. Upon arrival here, you should complete two more steps.

  1. Get the immigration card. The immigration card is a document with two identical parts. You will get it from the border police at the Russian port of entry. Complete both parts of the immigration card with the required information. The border police will keep part of the card, and the other one you have to take with you.
  2. Register your Russian Private visa. You should register your visa only if you will be staying seven or more days in Russia. You need a copy of your passport, visa and immigration card to register your visa. The registration process depends on where you will be staying in Russia:
    1. At a hotel: the hotel is responsible to register it for you.
    2. At a private home: the host is responsible to register it for you. You may have to pay a small fee in this case.

Required Documents for Russia Private Visa

The documents for a Russia private visa are required to confirm your identity and purpose of the trip to Russia. You should pay special attention to these documents and obtain each of them as required. Following find the list of the required documents for a Russia private visa.

  • Visa Support for a private visit. If you want to enter Russia for private purposes, you should base your application on an invitation completed in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation. Your host is responsible to apply for an invitation. The application can be filed at one of the following:
    • The Ministry of Interior of the Russian Federation (MVD of Russia). You should ask your Russian host for this kind of invitation. It must be submitted in either electronic or paper.
    • The Ambassador of Russia in your country of residence. If you are traveling to Russia with a family member or friend who is a Russian citizen, they should direct the letter to the Russian Ambassador in your country of residence.
    • Letter of invitation legalized at a notary office in Russia. For cases when a citizen of the EU legally residing in Russia invites a family member. Copy of Russian residence permit and proof of relationship with the visa applicant will be required.
  • Health insurance policy document. This requirement is only for citizens of EU countries, Iran, Iceland, Israel, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway and Switzerland. The document must be issued by a foreign insurance company or a Russian insurance company and contain:
    • Your full name.
    • The date when the agreement was signed.
    • The policy number and full details of the insurer.
    • The dates of validity. Note that for single entry and double entry visas the policy must cover the entire period of stay in Russia. On the other hand, for multiple-entry visas it must cover the duration of the first trip.
    • The list of medical services that the insurance covers, including repatriation in case of death.
    • The geographical area coverage the insurance covers. It must include Russia.

If you are applying to travel to Russia for urgent medical reasons, i.e. urgent treatment, to visit a very ill or deceased relative, you should submit:

  • A certificate issued by a medical institution or a death certificate.
  • A document proving the kindred between you and the ill or deceased relative.
  • Documents proving the family relations issued by registrar offices.

Russia Private Visa Fee

The costs for a Russian Private Visa depend on a few factors. Aside from the visa type, the costs also depend on the following:

  • Your nationality. Your nationality is a very important factor in the costs of your visa. You will pay cheaper fees if you are from i.e. Japan or China, and ones that are more expensive if you are from i.e. Mali or Nigeria.
  • The number of intended entries. If you are applying for a single entry visa, the fees will be a bit cheaper than when applying for a double entry visa.
  • The processing time. You have the option to apply for an expedited Russia visa processing. This type of application increases the costs of your visa.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Russia Private Visa?

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 one to three working days. However, not everyone can get expedited processing, since it is granted only for some nations, and not all of them.

Processing times for a Russia private visa are as follows:

  • Citizens of Angola, Cambodia, China, India, and Vietnam
    • 7 calendar days
    • 3 working days
    • 1 working day
  • Citizens of Japan
    • 7 calendar days
    • 1-3 working days
  • Citizens of Japan
    • 7 calendar days
    • 3 working days
  • Citizens of all other countries:
    • 7-20 working days
    • 3 working days

Note that applicants that want to enjoy the expedited visa application processing will need to pay a higher fee.

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