Applying for a Russian visa can be a daunting process. I’m sure many of you have thought to yourself: What type of visa do I need? How much will it cost? What documents should I use? Along with many more. The truth is that visa application processes are constantly reviewed, changed, edited . . . So, keeping up with the latest information can be tricky. With this, we always recommend keeping up to date with the process for your region if you are planning to travel.
In this post, we aim to dispel some of the pre-visa application angst and will go over what you need to know when applying for a Russian visa in 2019. To do this, we shall explore some of the most common questions concerning the visa application process.
What is a visa?
In simple terms, a visa is a document that allows the holder to enter, leave or stay in a country for a specified time period. There are many types of visa available from standard tourist visas to professional business visas, the visa you need will depend on the purpose of your visit.
Why is it important to have a visa?
Visas are legal documents that permit a user to travel to a specified country. They essentially indicate that permission has been given from the government to legally enter and exit the country. They also act as proof of citizenship. Without a visa (or if you have the wrong type of visa), it is possible for border to control to deny entry into a country.
Is a Russian visa hard to get?
Russian visas are no more difficult to get than any other type of visa, although there are many factors to consider such as the country of origin, whether you have the right documents, whether you have a criminal record, and how long you have allowed yourself to get a visa.
What are the main types of Russian visa?
Tourist visa – A standard tourist visa for Russia. This visa covers the user when traveling to Russia for holiday purposes. There are variations of Russian tourist visas such as, auto-tourist and business tourist which can be used for travelling Russia by vehicle, short business trips, exhibitions and meeting conferences. A business tourist visa is often used when you do not have enough time to acquire a full business visa as getting an official Russian letter of invitation can take time.
Business visa – A Russian business visa is designed for individuals looking to travel to Russia strictly for business purposes such as exhibitions, establishing business connections and negotiations.
There are many other types of visa, such as a visa for those wishing to compete in sporting competitions in Russia, but for most people a tourist or business visa will be the preferred choice.
When should I get my Russian visa?
This will largely depend on the type of visa you are requesting, which part of Russia you are travelling to and your nationality. It usually takes between 4 – 21 working days to get your visa depending upon the type that you need. We of course recommend allowing yourself enough time to not only receive the visa, but also to make any corrections or changes to the visa in case of a change in circumstances.
Can I get a Russian visa at the border?
No, unfortunately it is not possible to obtain a visa at the Russian border, therefore it is important that you apply for your Russian visa ahead of time. There are certain exceptions however, for example, you can visit St. Petersburg visa free if you are on a boat for less than 3 days, therefore you would not need a visa in advance.
Can I get a Russian visa online?
It is possible to purchase an E-Visa for Russia although this is only available for selected regions and nationalities. Unfortunately, it is not currently possible to buy an E-Visa for Russia if you are a UK national.
What documents do I need for a Russian visa?
- Visa application form – The visa application form can be obtained freely from a Russian visa application centre. You can also fill this in online through our website.
- Passport – You must have your original, signed passport which must be valid for at least 6 months after the planned date of departure from Russia. This must also have a blank visa page if applying for a single-entry visa or two blank pages for a double-entry visa. For multiple entries you will also need two blank consecutive pages.
- Photograph – You need one recent (no older than 6 months), passport-sized photograph taken on a plain white background for your Russian visa application.
- Tourist voucher and confirmation of invitation (tourist visas only) – The tourist voucher is a document that confirms your itinerary, hotel you are staying in and travel bookings in Russia. This document includes the tourist reference number in the case of Russian tourist visas. The confirmation of invitation is typically issued by a licensed UK or Russian travel company; the invitation is an official document issued by a company licensed by the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs. Please note: The tourist invitation and travel voucher need to have the same reference number.
- Business invitation (business visas only) – An official document issued by a company that has been licensed by the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs.
- Additional documents – These may include any additional documents such as those for nationals or people applying outside their home country, kids travelling alone, auto-tourist visas and documents that are required for self or unemployed travellers. When you enter your nationality into our website, we will list the additional documents you will require as part of your application. For more information, we always recommend checking the requirements for your region on the appropriate Russian Consulate / visa application centre website.
How much does a Russian visa cost?
The price of a Russian visa will depend on several factors such as the type of visa you are looking to apply for, the duration of the visa (including whether you want a visa with single, double or multiple entry), consular processing time (standard or express), and the country you apply for your visa in. There may be other special conditions that impact the price you pay, including your chosen delivery service, whether you applied directly to the consulate, or whether the consulate outsourced services to a visa application centre (resulting in an additional service charge).
Simplify your Russian visa application - apply with us today!
As one of the first companies to adopt online Russian visa applications, we are confident that we can help deliver a simple, straightforward and stress-free application process for visitors in the UK. We can obtain a tourist and business invitations almost for any nationality, yet some restrictions apply such as for those nationalities that are considered by Russian authorities to be of a high migration risk.
Why travellers choose us for Russian visa applications
For more information on how to apply for a Russian visa and a breakdown of the types of visa available, please visit our dedicated Russian visas page.
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