Obtaining a Visa

Do you want to come to Russia one day? If you have US, EU, Australian, Chinese or any other citizenship (except some CIS and Latin American states), you will need to get a Russian visa.

Though the procedure is not that hard, it is useful to have some basic knowledge about it to save your time and money.

To begin with decide on the purpose of your visit.

  • A tourist visa is necessary if you come to Russia as a tourist, no matter whether you have bought a tour or organized your trip yourself. A tourist visa is usually issued for up to 30 days.
  • A business visa is appropriate in case you have scheduled some business meetings.
  • A private visa suits best if you are invited by your Russian friends.

Here we will have a look at how to get a tourist visa which is the most popular among travelers.

Firstly one needs to get a letter of invitation. It should be issued by an authorized Russian travel agent or by a hotel. As not all hotels can provide you with such an invitation, you may well order it from a travel agent in the Internet. An invitation is usually ready within 1 – 2 days, and its scanned copy is sent to you. Hotels usually issue invitations for their clients for free. Travel agents’ services cost $30 – 60.

Once you received a scanned copy of the invitation, you can initiate the process of obtaining an actual visa. Just print the invitation, fill in the application form at the official website of your local Russian consulate or embassy and prepare one or two photos and your passport. You may submit the documents to the consulate (or embassy) yourself or contact a local visa agent to have them take care of the visa application process.
At the consulate you will also need to pay the consular fee. Should you use a visa agent, the consular fee will be included in its price list. For US citizens it amounts to $140, EU citizens are to pay 35 EUR. Moreover, sometimes the service fee is applicable (up to $20 – 40).

5 – 10 days more – and the visa will be stamped into your passport. Now you can entry Russia with no complications!


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