Russian visa - Frequently Asked Questions - Get detailed information on Russia Visa
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Russia Visa FAQs

General information The purpose of your trip and types of Russian visa How to obtain Russian visa Formalities While in Russia

General information

What is a Russian visa?

A visa to the Russian Federation is a document permitting to stay in Russia for a specific period of time. A visa lists entry/exit dates, your vital information, passport details, and short information about inviting party. Visas are issued with specific limitations regarding purpose of visit, length of stay, validity of visa, etc. Please note that your Russian visa is an exit permit just like it is an entry permit. If you lose it or stay over your designated departure date, leaving the country could cause you some troubles.

Who needs a Russian visa?

Most non-Russian citizens (including U.S. citizens) require a visa to enter Russia. Citizens of former CIS Republics, except Georgia and Turkmenistan, may enter Russia with their national passports.

Do I need a visa for my child?

If your child has a separate passport, you will need to get a separate visa for him/her.

Where can I apply for Russian visa

To apply for your visa, you need to contact the Russian consulate in your country. You may also contact an authorized Russian travel agent for help with paperwork.

I want to apply for Russian visa. What should I start with?

First of all, you need to choose the type of a Russian visa you would like to obtain. Then you should submit a Russia visa application form (along with other necessary documents) to the Russian Consulate. Applications may be submitted in person, by an agent or by mail. In case you want to ease the application process, we recommend you to use Full Services for US tourists that our company offers.

What should I do if I want to travel to Russia with my pet?

If you want to take your pet to Russia, you have to obtain an international health certificate from a local certified veterinary doctor.

The purpose of your trip and types of Russian visa

I am planning only one short visit. The purpose of my traveling is sightseeing. What kind of visa do I need?

You need a tourist visa. Please note that a tourist visa is most often issued for a period for up to 30 days. This allows either one entry or double entry to Russia.

I am planning to visit my friends/relatives. What kind of visa do I need?

If you are going to visit your friends or relatives, stay and get registered with them, you need to apply for a private visa. Please note that the process of getting visa may take up to 1,5-3 months. To apply for this kind of visa, you need a personal invitation certificate from a person living in Russia.

What is the difference between a tourist visa and a business visa?

Tourist visa is issued for travelers visiting Russia on tourism purposes. Business visas can be used both in business and tourism purposes. A tourist visa is valid for no longer than 4 weeks. A business visa can be valid for up to 12 months. Another difference between these types of visa is a visa processing time. It takes more time to process a business visa than a tourist one.

I would like to apply for a tourist or a business visa. Do I still need an invitation?

Yes, invitation letters are required for both types of visa.

How to obtain Russian visa

What documents should I bring to the Russian Consulate to apply for my Russian visa?

In order to obtain your Russian visa, you should bring your invitation letter, your passport, passport-sized photos, consular fee and a proof of medical insurance to the Russian Consulate. For multiple entry visas, you also require an AIDS Test certificate (test results issued within the previous 3 months). Call the Russian consulate in advance to receive the latest update on the required documents.

Can I process an invitation for a private visa through a travel agency?

No. Travel agencies can provide you only with tourist or business invitations.

I don't have time/opportunity to go to the Russian consulate myself. Is it possible to send the necessary documents by regular mail?

Yes. If you have no opportunity to go to the Russian consulate yourself, you can send documents by mail. You will get your visa by mail from the consulate when it is ready.

Can it happen so that my visa application is rejected?

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 consular fees are not refundable.

What if the information that appears on my visa is wrong?

Once you receive the passport with your Russian visa, please check all the information which appears on your visa very carefully. The consulate will correct any of its own mistakes free of charge. If there was an error in the application through your own fault, however, the consulate charges a fee of $40.00 to have the mistake corrected.

Formalities While in Russia

Do I need to register my visa when arriving to Russia?

Yes. You have to register your visa with the Russian Department of Visas and Registrations (UVIR) within 72 hours of arrival. Failure to register a visa may lead to detention by the Russian police, fines and other inconveniences.

Where can I register my visa?

If you are staying at a hotel, the hotel will register your visa. If you are staying at a private place, your visa sponsor should register your visa. Please note that if you are going to stay in Russia less than 3 days there is no need to register your visa.

I want to stay in Russia longer, so I would like to extend my tourist visa. Can I do it?

Unfortunately, generally the Russian visas cannot be extended. It can be prolonged only in case of missing your flight, accident, serious illness, and seat unavailability in case of an open-date ticket. In all the cases your visa can be extended only for up to 2 weeks.