Types of Visa to Russia

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Outline

Most foreign tourists need to obtain a Russian travel visa before visiting Russia. Depending on the purpose and length of visit one can apply for different types of visa.

Electronic Visa

Citizens of 52 countries are able to enter Russia on an electronic visa and move around all over the country. The new rules came into force on January 1, 2021. A complete list of countries for which electronic visas to Russia are available is published on the website of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

An electronic visa can be issued for tourist, business, humanitarian and guest trips. Unlike a regular visa, an electronic one does not require a personal presence and is issued via the Internet. To obtain it, a foreigner needs to fill in a special form on the Foreign Ministry website and attach passport details and a photo. The application must be sent at least four calendar days before the expected date of travel to Russia. No need for an invitation, vouchers, or any other documents confirming the purpose of the trip.

The unified e-visa is a single entry visa. Its validity period is usually 60 days from the date of registration. At the same time, the permitted period of stay of a foreign citizen in the Russian Federation is no more than 16 days from the date of entry.

Tourist Visa

A Russian tourist visa is issued for those travelers who visit Russia for tourism purposes. This type of visa is the most popular one, as it's the least expensive and the easiest to get. Tourist visas are valid for up to 1 month and allow either a single or double entry and exit. A tourist visa cannot be extended.

To obtain a Russian tourist visa visitors should confirm accommodation and invitation from a travel agency or another organization authorized by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. If you book accommodation or a package tour with us, we will provide you visa support letter together with your confirmation voucher. If you book accommodation on your own, you can obtain a visa support letter from your hotel or a travel agency where you book accommodation. This letter must include a voucher with the certain dates of your stay in Russia and the address of your stay.

Business Visa

Business people can apply for a Russian business visa that can be valid for a period of up to 1 year. A 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 are valid for 3, 6, or 12 months.

To obtain a Russian business visa a business invitation issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry, by its regional representatives or special local offices of the Ministry of Internal Affairs is required.

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.

Please note that the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs will not process applications for business visas earlier than 45 days before the first stated date of entry.

Visitor's Visa

Russia visitor's visa (it is also called a homestay or a private visa) is issued for visitors who have relatives or friends in Russia. This type of visa can be valid for a period from one day to three months. A visitor's visa can be only used for one entry.

To obtain a visitor's visa to Russia it's necessary to receive a private visa invitation from your Russian friends or relatives, issued by the local department of Passport and Visa Service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The invitation should be mailed to you in original.

Please note that an invitation letter from your friends or relatives cannot be considered an official invitation valid for obtaining a visa to Russia.

Student Visa

A Student visa is required to study in the Russian Federation. Student visas are valid for the whole period of your study program. This type of visa is single-entry.

To obtain a Russian student visa, a letter of invitation from a university or school in Russia is required.

Transit Visa

Transit Visa is required for travelers who visit other countries via Russia. Transit visas are valid for not more than 72 hours and can be single-entry or double-entry.

To obtain this type of visa, visitors don't need any invitations or visa support. The Consulate will issue a transit visa provided that 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, which last less than 24 hours without leaving the international area at the airport.

Cruise Passengers

Cruise ship passengers traveling by ship from any other countriy can currently visit Russia on a visa-waiver scheme provided the stop in the port of call doesn't exceed 72 hours and tourists stay overnight onboard the cruise ship.

Cruise passengers may disembark from the ship without a tourist visa if they participate in tours organized by travel companies. Passengers not participating in 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.

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