Russian Visa Application – Essential Info
Travellers from most countries are required to obtain a visa when visiting Russia. Please see below, a list of the comprehensive Russian visa application services we provide, as well as helpful instructions.
Know your Russian visa types
Russian visas are classified according to the following:
Number of entries:
A single-entry visa permits ONE entry to Russia within the specified period of time.
A double-entry visa permits ONE or TWO entries to Russia within the specified period of time.
A multiple-entry visa is valid for several visits to Russia over a period of 3, 6, or 12 months.
Purpose of travel:
1. Cheapest and easiest to obtain.
2. Best visa type for short visits.
3. Single or double entry visas available for a maximum stay of 30 days.
4. Issued on the basis of an invitation and voucher provided by an authorized Russian tourist company – 56th parallel.
5. Non-extendable – if you wish to prolong your stay in Russia, you must leave the country and obtain a new visa.
1. Issued for foreigners who enter Russia for business purposes, (e.g. representatives of foreign governments, members of official delegations, cultural or sports exchange visitors, etc.). Tourists who intend to stay in Russia for more than 30 days often use this type of visa.
2. Issued on the basis of a business invitation from a Russian company authorized by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The invitation normally takes 14 -20 working days to issue. The original invitation is required to accompany the visa application – 56th parallel can assist you obtain a business visa invitation.
3. Valid up to 12 months with single, double or multiple entry visas available. However, visitors are restricted to a maximum of 90 days in a 180-day period when using a multiple entry visa.
4. An original HIV Certificate showing a negative result is required for stays of over 3 months.
Documents required to apply for Russian visa
- Official Russian visa invitation document (sometimes also called visa voucher)
- Filled, printed and signed Russian visa application form. The form must be filled out on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: http://visa.kdmid.ru
- Original passport, must be valid at least 6 months from departure date (from Russia). Must have at least 2 consecutive empty pages for visa stamp.
- Passport photo (must be recent and taken against white background)
What is a Russian visa invitation document
The Russian government requires all visitors to Russia to obtain a visa support document (sometimes known as a letter of invitation) from an officially licensed tourism organisation. You will need to provide a copy of your visa support letter to the Russian consulate when you apply for your tourist visa. 56th parallel will provide you such document, free, upon booking a tour. Alternatively, if you are travelling to Russia independently, you can apply for an invitation letter below without booking a tour.
Important notes about Russian visa process
- Ideal time to start your visa application procedure is 2-3 months prior to departure.
- Usually it takes around 10 business days for the Consulate to process your documents and issue your visa. If you need it urgently the procedure can be expedited for extra charges. * Processing time and consular fees may vary from country to country.
- If you plan to enter Russia more than once during your travels, you will require double-entry or multi-entry visa in that case.
- Travelers with dual citizenship, one of which is Russian, have to travel with a valid Russian passport.
FAQ's about Russian visa
CAN I ENTER RUSSIA USING JUST MY VISA SUPPORT LETTER?
No. Obtaining the visa support letter is just the first step towards receiving your Russian tourist visa. Once you have the support letter, you’ll need to provide it, along with a visa application letter (obtainable at your nearest Russian consular office, or their official website) in order to receive the actual Russian visa. If you don’t have the Russian visa in your passport, you either won’t be allowed to board your plane/train to Russia, or you will be deported by Immigration at your own cost!
SHOULD I PROVIDE THE EXACT ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE DATES IN MY APPLICATION, OR CAN I GIVE YOU ROUGH DATES?
A Russian tourist visa is issued for the exact dates you request, up to a maximum of 30 days. This is inclusive of your days of entry and exit. This means you should decide on your arrival and departure dates before you apply for your visa support letter.
Please note you may not enter Russia before the visa starts and you must leave Russia before the visa expires. Just in case, we suggest that you add a few days before and after your expected dates of travel or always apply for the full 30 days from the planned date of arrival, to allow for changes in your plans – you can then enter and leave Russia at any date within the specified period.
HOW LONG BEFORE MY TRAVEL DATES SHOULD I APPLY?
You can apply for a Russian tourist visa at the Russian consulate no earlier than 90 days before your requested visa start date.
DO I NEED A VISA FOR MY CHILD?
If your child has a separate passport, you will need to get a separate visa for them. The process of applying for a child’s visa is the same as it is for adults.
DO I NEED THE ORIGINAL COPY OF THE VISA INVITATION LETTER?
No, but it is depending on your country of residence. A scanned copy is sufficient, we send our clients a copy of the invitation letter via e-mail. Simply print out your copy of the letter and hand it over to the consulate when you apply for your visa.
Most consulates in Africa as well as those in Turkey, India and a few select others may request an original document, in which case we can send it to you by courier at an additional cost (courier fees). Contact the Russian consulate in the city you intend to apply for a visa if you are unsure what they require.
DO I NEED TO REGISTER MY VISA?
All foreign citizens arriving in the Russian Federation must register their visas within three working days of their arrival (excluding weekends and official public holidays). Usually, tourists register their visa at the first hotel they check into. As a rule, you need to register with each new hotel you stay in. Your 56th Parallel tour leader will ensure this is taken care of.
CAN I EXTEND MY TOURIST VISA?
Generally, a Russian tourist visa cannot be extended. There may be a few exempt cases, such as:
- Your flight being delayed, cancelled or missed due to misadventure
- An accident or serious illness
- Seat unavailability in case of an open-date ticket
In most cases mentioned above you can extend your visa for up to 2 weeks and you will need to provide the appropriate documents to prove your case. The cost of the exit visa varies according to circumstances to between $100 to $500
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF MY PASSPORT IS LOST OR STOLEN WHILE IN RUSSIA?
If you lose your passport and visa while travelling, you’ll need to apply for a new exit visa. Your 56th Parallel tour leader will be able to assist you if this happens while on tour. First, you need to report the matter to a local police precinct to provide you with an official document confirming your visa was lost. You will then need to make arrangements to get a new passport from your national embassy in Moscow.
Once you have obtained the police report, your new passport, a matt finished photo and your return ticket, our customer support team will arrange new exit visa for you. Please note that the processing takes no less than 5 business days.
Russian Visa Services
Below are options for obtaining your required documents for a Russian visa application.
Busy people who prefer a pro take care of the process, have the option to apply for a concierge visa service. A specialist will manage the entire process from start to finish, providing the expertise necessary to ensure your request is approved as quickly as possible.
Instant online tourist Visa Invitation Document Your Invitation document will be ready within less than 24hr, and sent to you via email. We provide single, double or multiple-entry invitations. Note: Some developing countries passport holders will attract a higher fee. Also if needed, an original copy of the invitation can be obtained for extra fees to cover shipment. The prices depends on destination country.
Business Visa Invitation Document Your business visa Invitation document will be ready within 14 working days, and sent directly to the Russian consulate indicated by you, via TELEX. This option saves time and the high courier costs, as a business visa application requires the original invitation document to be presented upon application. We provide single or double entry business visa invitations. Note: developing countries passport holders will attract a higher fee.
Concierge tourist visa servicesWe offer comprehensive visa application services for Australian citizens who prefer to leave the application process to the pro’s. A specialist will manage the entire process from start to finish, providing the expertise necessary to ensure your request is approved as quickly as possible. The service fee includes: Consulate fees, visa invitation document and our concierge service. The standard processing time is 10-16 business days. Note: expedited and double-entry visas are available upon request for an additional fee.
Concierge business visa servicesWe offer comprehensive business visa application services for Australian citizens who require a longer than a 30 day stay in Russia and prefer to leave the application process to the pro’s. A specialist will manage the entire process from start to finish, providing the expertise necessary to ensure your request is approved as quickly as possible. The service fee includes: Consulate fees, business visa invitation document and our concierge service. The standard processing time is 10-16 business days. Note: expedited and double entry visas are available upon request for an additional fee.