Tuesday November 20, 2018. 16:48

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Guide to Russia


Yes, every visitor to Russia needs one. Find out how you can become the happy owner of a Russian visa (pictured, right)

Russian Visa Support

Click here to Order Russian Visa Invitation

Itís not hard to get a Russian visa, though you have to be organized about it. We recommend you follow these steps:

1. Decide what sort of visa you need
2. Get an invitation
3. Get your documents together
4. Lodge your application
5. Register your visa (in Russia)

First, you need to decide what sort of visa you need. Visitors generally choose one of two types: one month, single entry tourist visas, and six-month or one-year business visas, with options of single, double, or multiple entries.

RUSSIAN VISA The number of Ďentriesí simply indicates how many times you can enter the Russian Federation with that particular visa.

How to choose?

If you are planning an extended stay in Russia, whether itís for tourism or business, the six-month or one-year business visa is your best bet. If you do get a business visa, always take the multiple entry option. A good principle is: if youíre not sure, overshoot rather than guess.

To help you decide, look at our detailed articles about tourist visas, business visas, and other different types of visas. You can find these by following the links in our RUSSIAN VISA FILE. You can also click on the highlighted words in this guide to take you straight to more detailed information.

Second, regardless of the kind of visa you need, you will need to get an invitation. This is a document that says an organization or individual in Russia wants you to come to Russia. Heart-warming, isnít it?

How to get an invitation?

You can use the visa invitation of our partner, Express to Russia, a travel company specializing in incoming travel to Russia. Their specialties are Russian visa support as well as accommodation, tickets and more. Click here to order your Russian visa invitation.

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A one-month tourist invitation can be processed in as little as one day and faxed or emailed directly to you. The six-month and one-year business invitations can take as long as one month to prepare. But there is no need to twiddle your thumbs while you are waiting. No, you can move onto the third step, which is to get your documents together, ready to apply for your Russian visa!

This is when you will need to get to know the lovely people at your local Russian embassy or consulate Ė or at least their website. See here for a comprehensive list of Russian embassies and consulates worldwide.

What sort of documents will I need?

You should obtain a visa application form from the embassy, as well as a list of the documents they require to process your application. In addition to the completed visa application form, and invitation, they will need your passport, a passport-sized photograph, plus a range of other documents demanded only by that embassy/consulate. And, of course, they will need your invitation and, unforunately, some money. The amount will vary according to the type of visa you are applying for and the processing time (anything from same-day processing to fifteen working days). They will list how much on their site, but also check our RUSSIAN VISA FILE for example consulate fees.

Note: Not all Russian Embassies and Consulates were created equal. If you have a range of embassy options, our list of Russian Consulates worldwide also contains some special notes that will help you make your decision Ė which embassies are particularly helpful, which ones make special demands, which ones should only be approached with extreme caution, and so on.

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Once you receive your invitation you can move onto the fourth step: either go personally to the Russian embassy to lodge your application, or post your application form, documents, passport and money order/cheque (which you already have beautifully prepared and sitting in a special folder) to them.

If you are posting your application it is a good idea to use some form of registered post, and provide the embassy with a self-addressed registered post envelope so that they can get your passport and sparkling new Russian visa back to you safe and sound. Back to top

RUSSIAN VISA The fifth step comes when you arrive in Russia. If you are staying in the country for more than 3 days, you must register your visa. You can find out more about visa registration here. Please note that visa support agencies, including City Realty and Express to Russia can help you with your visa registration.

And thatís it. Simple, no?

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►There are some other documenti you will have to deal with in Russia, namely the immigration card (obligatory) and customs declaration (only if you are bringing in, or taking valuables out of Russia). Follow the highlighted links for more information on these.

►In Russia it pays to know where your nearest embassy or consulate is located. See our extensive listing of Embassies in Moscow and Consulates in St Petersburg.

►Donít forget to consult our RUSSIAN VISA FILE for details about everything you have read here.

We also work with reliable suppliers that can help you
find accommodation and book train tickets and plane tickets in Russia.

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The vital information all in one place

Types of Visas:


Example Visa

Example Invitation

Russian Consulates Worldwide

Example Consulate Fees



Other documents:

Immigration Card
Customs Declaration

Foreign Embassies and Consulates in Russia

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accommodation in Russia ► Book accommodation in Russia
Russian train tickets ► Buy train tickets
flights to Russia ► Find cheap flights to Russia

Coming up on

► St Petersburg Destination Guide
► St Petersburg Whatís On