Russia Visa Information
Most foreign citizens need a Russian visa to enter and to leave Russia. Travelers without a passport or an entry visa may be subject to large fines or immediate deportation by route of entry, at the traveler's expense. The nationals of former CIS Republics, except for Turkmenistan and Georgia, may enter the Russian Federation with their national passports.
A Russian visa is a special document attached to the passport that gives one a permit to stay on the territory of the Russian Federation during a period of time specified in the visa.
There are several types of Russian visas. Choosing the type of a visa to apply for, one needs to take into account the purpose of his or her visit, the length of stay and the number of entries the visa allows.
The most common types of Russian visas are: 1)Tourist Visa; 2)Business Visa; 3)Visitor's Visa; 4) Student Visa; 5)Transit Visa.
To apply for a Russian visa one needs to submit a number of documents to a Russian consulate. Necessary documents are a passport, 1-3 passport-size photos, a visa application form, and the invitation letter from Russia. There might be some additional requirements if one applies for business or student visas. To process a visa, the consulate will charge a certain visa processing fee depending on the type of the visa and the speed of processing.
The type of invitation depends on the visa type one applies for. The invitation letter from Russia is also called a visa support, tourist confirmation, or tourist voucher. It is the document issued by the party that invites a foreign traveler to Russia. The invitation is required by a Russian consulate to be able to process the visa. For every type of visa there is a different type of invitation. The most common types are tourist, business, and private.
To get a Russia tourist visa, one needs a tourist invitation that comprises two papers, which are tourist confirmation and hotel voucher. It usually takes from 1 hour to 1 day to be issued. Usually, a copy of the invitation is acceptable to the consulate, but sometimes the originals might be necessary.
A business invitation is required for business visas. This type of invitation is an official letter issued by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, by its regional representatives or special local offices of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The letter should contain official seal, legal address of the agency, signature and name of official authorized to invite foreigners to Russia.
If one is going to visit his or her friends or relatives in Russia, stay with them, one needs to get a private invitation to apply for a private visa. A private invitation is made by the person in Russia one is going to visit (visa sponsor). The person has to go to a local UVIR office, get an application form, fill it in and submit to immigration officials for consideration. It takes about 45 days to get the invitation. Please note that a private invitation can be sent only by mail, and can not be faxed or e-mailed.
Rights of the Russian consulate and Visa Denial
Please note that the Russian consulate reserves the right to process applications as long as it deems necessary, to invite applicants for a personal interview, and to reject applications if the consulate believes that the applicant's entry into or stay in Russia would not be desirable. Please note that in this case official consular fees are not refundable.