Requirements For Russian Tourist Visa – I had to apply for a Russian tourist visa for my family and friends several times and in different countries. In this article, based on my experience, I want to explain step by step how you can get a visa for traveling to Russia on your own. I’ll guide you on how to gather all the documents you need to apply for a visa from your computer quickly (under an hour) and cost-effectively.
Before going into the details of the Russian visa application process, it is important to answer a few questions to better understand the procedure.
Requirements For Russian Tourist Visa
A visa is an authorization granted to foreign nationals to enter, stay or cross the territory of the Russian Federation. This is a document attached to one of the pages of your passport. Here’s a real example:
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If you are from the United States, Canada, Australia, Europe, United Kingdom, Japan, China or India, you will need to obtain a visa to travel to Russia.
However, people from around 40 countries with which Russia has bilateral agreements are exempt from visa requirements (see map). For example:
Source: Russian visa policy – Wikipedia. Up-to-date information on visa exemptions on the official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia via this link (Russia).
Also note that tourists from all over the world on large cruise ships have the right to stay in the Russian Federation without a visa for up to 72 hours provided that they stay on the ferry or in the territory defined by the group travel program. They have the right to leave the ship and re-enter only within the framework of an organized tour group and within the framework of the specified program. All information about Russian visa exemptions is in this article: Is it possible to travel to Russia without a visa?
How To Get A Russian Tourist Visa
Russia started implementing the electronic visa system in August 2017, via a pilot project, in the Far Eastern Federal District. In July 2019, the pilot project was expanded to the Kaliningrad region, and in October 2019 to the Leningrad region whose administrative center is Saint Petersburg.
Currently, an e-visa can only be used to visit certain regions of Russia, in particular the regions of the Far Eastern Federal District, Kaliningrad region and Leningrad region. In addition, only citizens of 53 countries can apply for an e-visa.
At the moment, e-visa cannot be requested to visit main cities such as Moscow, Kazan or Sochi, although it is planned to be implemented in these cities from 2021. It remains to be seen which countries will be able to opt for this e-visa, from 2021 , and if it actually will be implemented on this date.
More information in this article: How to get a Russian e-visa (e-visa): Saint-Petersburg, Kaliningrad and regions of the Far East
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In general, all types of visas are treated the same. The only difference worth mentioning is getting the so-called letter of invitation which, in the case of a tourist visa, is issued by the Russian tour operator or, in the case of business, must be issued by the Russian company that has invited you. to visit and, in the case of a student visa, must be issued by the Russian educational institution where the person will attend school.
Consulates are representatives of the public administration of a country in other countries, while embassies are diplomatic representatives of the government of a country in other countries. The embassy also has its own consular section. The Russian consulate usually deals with questions about passports for its own citizens and visas for foreigners wishing to visit Russia. There are Russian consulates all over the world.
There is an official list of all Russian embassies and consulates in the world on the official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia (only in Russian): http://www.kdmid.ru/docs.aspx. The problem is that the list is not updated. Therefore, below is an updated list of Russian embassies and consulates worldwide with official links.
In recent years, the number of visas to Russia from all over the world has increased significantly. For this reason, in 33 countries, Russian consulates, due to the high volume of visa applications, have transferred the visa procedure to private companies. These companies offer services in their own offices and are often referred to as “Russia Visa Centers”. These visa centers offer better services than consulates (extended hours, processing of visa applications by mail, photo services, etc.) but charge a handling fee which is usually around $30 per visa (although this fee may vary from country to country). Russian visa centers are often available in the same city as the Russian consulate.
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The Russian Visa Center acts as an intermediary between the applicant and the consular department by receiving the documents, checking them for correctness and completeness, and sending them to the consular department for processing. However, the final decision to approve or reject a visa application always rests with the consulate.
Since December 10, 2014, the diplomatic missions and consular offices of the Russian Federation in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Kingdom of Denmark, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, the Republic of Namibia and the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs representative office at the border crossing point of Vnukovo International Airport, began collecting biometric data (fingerprints) fingers) of all foreign nationals and stateless persons for each of their applications for a Russian visa.
For this reason, in these countries it is mandatory to apply for a Russian visa directly through a consulate or through a Russian visa center, such as in Denmark or in the UK with VFS Global’s Russian visa center.
I always apply for a visa through the Russian visa center. It’s a bit more expensive, but it’s worth it as they offer a much better service than at the consulate and you’ll probably save some time.
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The final option is to use the services of a private agent, who will handle the entire visa processing process. Its main advantage is convenience (you give them your data and they take care of everything). The main disadvantage is that the price will be higher. They usually charge at least $50 per visa for handling fees. There are many private agents that offer this service.
Some visa centers offer postal services to process visas by mail, but some don’t. If you cannot make it to the visa center in person because it is far from where you live, you can apply for your visa through one of these private agents, who will take care of receiving your documentation and bringing it to the visa centre.
If you are doing the procedure through a private agency, you will need to add at least $50 (also note that if you apply for an invitation letter through a private agency, the fee will be higher.
You are free to register up to 90 days before their travel date. The Embassy recommends that you submit your application at least 3 weeks before your travel date to account for unforeseen processing delays.
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To apply for a visa, you must have a passport that is valid for at least six months after your visa expires. You must also have at least two blank pages. In some countries, you must provide a copy of the first page of your passport.
To apply for a visa, you must present your original passport, which will remain in the hands of the Russian consulate or visa center for several days. Indeed, the visa will be attached to one of the pages of your passport.
Your passport must not show any damage such as tears in the cover, stains or damaged pages. In this case, it is better to renew the passport before applying for the visa, because the consulates are usually very strict and they will not approve the visa if the passport is damaged.
Your visa must state your entry and exit dates, i.e. the first and last dates you will be in the country. This means you need to know your travel dates before applying for a visa.
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In most countries, it is not necessary to buy a plane or train ticket to Russia to apply for a visa. On the other hand, in some countries, such as China, it is necessary to provide transportation tickets. In Australia, when applying for a multiple entry tourist visa, it is also necessary to provide a copy of an air or ground transport ticket showing the complete itinerary from the Russian Federation to a neighboring country and from back to the Russian Federation.
After knowing your entry and exit dates, you need to determine your itinerary and plan the cities you want to visit and the hotels or apartments where you will stay.
On the visa application form, you must indicate the city you are going to
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