Types of Russia visa
Depending on the purpose of your visit to Russia, you can apply for different types of Russia visa. Generally, there are 6 types of Russian visa. These are:
Russia tourist visa is issued for a period for up to 30 days and allows either a single or double entry and exit. To obtain this type of visa, a tourist invitation and confirmed accommodation are needed. A tourist invitation is given by a tourist agency registered with the Department of Consular Service at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs according to the Russian law.
This type of visa is the most popular type, as it's the easiest to get and the cheapest one. Tourist visas to Russia can not be extended.
Officially business visas are intended for foreign citizens who travel to Russia on business: to take part in negotiations, to meet business partners, to sign a contract, etc. These visas do not imply an official employment in Russia.
Business visa can be single-entry, double-entry and multiple-entry. Single-entry and double-entry visas are valid for 1 or 3 months. Multiple-entry visas can be valid for 3, 6 or 12 months.
All the invitations for business visas are processed through the Ministry of Internal Affairs or authorized representatives. Business visas can be also used for non-business purposes. This kind of visa is recommended in case you are going to visit Russia more than once within a certain period of time.
Visitor's Visa (Private Visa)
This type of visa is intended for those who are going to visit their friends or relatives in Russia. The period of validity is from one to three months, and this type of visa can be used only for one entry. To apply for a private visa, you need a personal invitation certificate issued by the local department of Passport and Visa Service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs from a person living in Russia. It takes from 45 to 90 days to get a private visa. The invitation should be mailed to you in original.
This type of visa is given to students who are going to study in Russia. The visa is given for the whole duration of the study program, and is single-entry. To obtain student visa, one needs an official invitation from an authorized organization in Russia (school, college, university, etc.)
This type visa is for those foreigners who travel to a third country via Russia. Transit visas are valid for not more than 72 hours and can be single-entry or double-entry.
Prices for transit visas are usually low, and it is not very difficult to obtain it. To apply for transit visa, you don't need any invitations or visa support papers. The Consulate will issue a transit visa if you present a copy of your travel documents, including a copy of your visa to the country of destination.
Transit visas are not required for lay-overs of less than 24 hours without leaving the international area at the airport.
Cruise ship passengers can currently visit Russia on visa-waiver scheme provided the stop in the port of call doesn't exceed 72 hours and tourists stay overnight on board the cruise ship.
Cruise passengers may disembark from the ship without a tourist visa if they participate on tours organized by travel companies. Passengers not participating on tours and wishing to disembark will need to obtain a Russia tourist visa.
Cruise passengers cannot obtain a visa in Russia. Visas are issued in the country of residence before departure.
See more information on visa-fee entry for cruise passengers