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Attention!

In some places this text has flaws. We are still working on the article.

It is not at all difficult to issue a Tourist or Business (Commercial) visa for a trip to Russia! In this article we will tell you how to get a cheap visa to Russia with the least effort, how to collect all required documents within just one hour!


Our company has been successfully assisting in obtaining visas to Russia since 1999, so we know all or almost all answers to the questions that our clients and business partners might have when applying for a visa to Russia. So we decided to write a detailed article which explains circumstantially and step by step how to avoid all bureaucratic delays and get a visa to Russia as soon as possible at the lowest price.

Note!

If you already know what is a visa to Russia and how to get it go straight to Receiving an Invitation and Health Insurance to Russia. We have created a web service that can issue tourist and business invitations online within 5 minutes. We wish you a pleasant trip!

So, let’s start our story about how to get a Russian visa on your own with no middlemen. The process itself is not so complicated, and we will try to tell you about everything related to obtaining a visa to Russia in the simplest terms and plain language.

Before we start, please, note that:

  • If you are planning to travel to Russia with a trip voucher from a tourist company, then, most likely, the company would be dealing with your visa processing. You will only need to fill in a visa application form, provide your passport and photos. Even if you travel independently (without the help of a travel agency), you can also find a tourist company that deals with visas to Russia, and they will do everything for you. However, in both cases you will spend significantly more money than if you applied for it by yourself.

  • To enter Russia without a visa (for a stay of 30 to 90 days) can passport holders of the following countries: Argentina, Brazil, Israel, Montenegro and many others. Also, citizens of some nations can make short visits with a tourist purpose without visas. For a complete list of countries with a visa-free or light visa regime with Russia, see this article). 


Part 1: Choosing the type of visa to Russia

Before choosing the type of visa that you need, let's clarify a few points:

  1. What is a visa to Russia?
  2. What types of visas to Russia are there?
  3. Where to apply for a visa to Russia?
  4. How much does a visa to Russia cost?
  5. How long does it take to issue a visa to Russia?

1. What is a visa to Russia?

Visa – is a permit for entry, stay or transit in the Russian Federation issued for citizens of foreign countries. It is a document that is placed in the passport.

Who needs a visa to Russia?

If you are a foreigner, for example, a citizen of the USA, Germany or Turkey, then for a trip to Russia you must have a visa. Citizens of some countries with which Russia has concluded bilateral agreements are exempt from the need to obtain a visa.

How looks a visa to Russia

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Please, see the list of countries which citizens need a visa to enter Russia.

2. What types of visas to Russia are there?

There are six main types of visas issued depending on the purpose of entry into Russia: Tourist, Business (Commercial), Student, Work, Private, Transit.

  • Tourist visa. This is the most common type of visa. It is issued to enter the country with tourist purposes for a stay of up to 30 days. Applying for such a visa is the cheapest, easiest and fastest way. Tourist visa can be single or double.

  • Business visa (the other name – Commercial visa). This visa is issued for foreigners to enter Russia with commercial purposes of the visit or on business. For example: to sign a contract, to hold a presentation or an exhibition, to participate in business negotiations, seminars, exhibitions, to search for new partners or to exchange experience (do not confuse Business visa with Work visa!). With this visa you cannot be employed for work in Russia, but you can conduct business activities that will bring you profit. For example: you cannot be hired as an assessor, but you can come and give a lecture on evaluation and get paid for it under the contract. Business visa can be single or double with a valid term of 1 month and 3 months and multiple (that is without limiting the number of visits) with a valid term of 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, 3 years, 5 years. Business visa allows you to stay in Russia for up to 90 days out of every 180. That is, for example, if you received a visa for a year from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018, then this visa is conditionally divided into two periods: from January 1 to June 30 and from July 1 to December 31, and in each of these periods a foreign citizen can stay in Russia for no more than 90 days in total. Business visas to Russia are issued for a period of 1 month to 5 years.

  • Work. Visa, with which you can officially find a job and work in Russia. It is issued for a period of 1 to 3 years. In order to get this visa your employer must officially invite you to Russia. To search for an employer, we recommend a business visa with a duration of 3 months or a tourist visa with a duration of up to 1 month.

  • Student (Academic) visa. It is issued for studying and receiving higher education in the Russian Federation. It is issued at the invitation of a higher educational institution. In order to get acquainted with the institution, we recommend a business visa with a duration of 3 months or a tourist visa with a duration of up to 1 month.

  • Private. Issued for foreign citizens who are invited by a Russian citizen. The invitation is issued under the responsibility of the inviting citizen of the Russian Federation and the address of residence is indicated in the visa - the apartment is owned by the inviting person. A lot of Russian citizens want to issue a private invitation, but it takes much longer than the issue of the tourist invitation, is not cost effective. Further, we will tell you why it is easier to make a tourist invitation to Russia.
    Read also: Why is it not recommended to use a private visa to visit Russia?

  • Transit. Visa for a transit to the country of destination through the territory of the Russian Federation (Attention! This type of visa is not required for foreigners who make a stop at the airport and are not going to leave the transit zone, as well as for those who make a non-stop flight over the territory of Russia).

On the whole, the process of issuing different types of visas is approximately the same. Main differences are the terms of issuing and the visa application forms. A significant difference is the obtaining of a so-called Invitation for a visa to Russia which depends on the type of visa. Let's compare visually all types of visas

Types of visas to Russia for foreigners

Visa Validity Purpose of entry
Tourist 1-30 days Tourism, visiting friends or relatives in Russia
Business (Commercial) 30-90 days (up to 5 years) Holding business meetings and negotiations, search for business partners, attending conferences, long-term tourism, long-term visits to relatives in Russia
Private 30-90 days Officially registered visits to friends who live in Russia
(Not recommended! Find out why)
Work 1-3 years Employment in Russia or a permanent residence

3. Where to apply for a visa to Russia?

If you are a foreign citizen, you can contact a Consular Department of the Russian Embassy in your country. Also in many countries (mainly in the EU, the US and China), visas are issued in the Visa Centres of the Russian Federation: independent organizations that cooperate with Consular Departments of the Russian Embassy.

Let's compare the advantages and disadvantages of visa processing by each of the following ways:


Option 1: Issuing a visa to Russia in a Consulate of the Russian Federation


Option 2: Issuing a visa to Russia in a Visa Centre of the Russian Federation


Option 3: Issuing of a visa to Russia in a travel agency


4. How much does a visa to Russia cost?

The cost of issuing a visa is divided into two parts:

  1. 1. The issuing of a visa itself in a Visa Centre of the Russian Federation will cost approximately 3700 rub (64 $ / 60 € / 51 £). You will get your visa 10 days after giving in the documents.
    2. In many consulates and visa centres there is a possibility of an express service! You will have to pay for the urgency though. Prices for this service are different in various countries. For example, the visa centre in Spain will charge: 7100 rub (123 $ / 115 € / 98 £). The visa will be issued within 24 hours not counting the day when the documents were submitted.
    3. Consular departments in European countries ask 2200 rub (38 $ / 35 € / 30 £) (10 days) or 4300 rub  (75 $ / 70 € / 60 £) for urgency (less than 3 working days after the date of application).

  2. 4. It is necessary to add the cost of issuing of the following documents to the cost of a visa:

    • Letter of invitation ((also called a Visa support) is also required. If you are planning to stay in Russia in a large hotel, then it is likely that the hotel will make you an invitation free of charge. But most often a hotel will either offer you to buy an invitation or would not be able to provide you with it. In this case (or if you are staying in an apartment or renting a flat), you will have to buy an invitation to Russia. We will tell you further how to get the invitation cheaper, faster and online.

    • Mandatory health insurance. The purchase of a medical travel insurance will cost about 1 euro for each day of the trip (but not less than 3 euros), we will explain further how to easily go through this procedure online.

    • ○ Consulates in Africa, Asia and some other countries of high migration risk may require the original of Invitation to Russia

Comparison of prices for visas to Russia by the example of the EU countries

Type of visa Total cost What does it consist of
Tourist 3900 rub
  • Consulate: 2200 rub
  • Invitation: 900 rub
  • Insurance: 800 rub
Business (Commercial) From 6700 rub
  • Consulate: 2200 rub
  • Invitation: *3100 rub
  • Insurance: *1400 rub

(*when issued for 1 month)

5. How long does it take to issue a visa to Russia?

Issuing of a Tourist visa or a Business visa with Invitation from organization takes very little time - 1 working day to get the invitation and insurance and a maximum of 10 days to receive the visa itself after the submission of all documents to a Consulate. But we recommend you to start the visa obtaining procedure in advance! That is, the entire procedure can be completed in less than two weeks (or even 2-3 days, if you use the express service.

ATTENTION! In the Visa Centre of the Russian Federation, visas are issued no earlier than 6 months before the estimated date of the trip. That is, if you go to Russia in July, you can start to apply for a visa approximately from January.


2. Step-by-step Instruction for Issuing a Visa to Russia

To obtain a visa, you must provide the following documents to the Russian Consulate:

  • A visa application, filled in online, printed, with a signature and a standard size photo (as in the passport)
  • Original passport
  • Invitation to Russia (visa support)
  • Travel insurance for the term of the trip

For your convenience, we have created a step-by-step instruction where we signed the process of preparing documents and sending them to a Russian Consulate:

Please note that the visa application form will be discussed at the end, because to fill it in you will need the data from health insurance policy and invitation to Russia, as well as the exact dates of the trip and the list of cities you plan to visit For the same reason it is better to first collect all the documents and only then proceed to fill in the visa application form.

For your convenience we have provided the data as it is without any blurring over. All passport data is fake, any coincidence with real people is random!

Step 1. To have a valid passport

Tourist invitation for foreigners - Sample

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To obtain a visa, you must have a passport (ID-card is unsuitable), which expires no earlier than 6 months  after the end date of your trip to Russia. If you do not have a passport, you need to get it in the appropriate authority of your country.

IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER: for issuing a visa, you must provide or send by courier ORIGINAL PASSPORT. A copy is not accepted, since the visa is put in the passport itself.

Step 2. To receive an Invitation to Russia (visa support)

Invitation to Russia (visa support) – is the most important document. It should not be confused with the hotel booking confirmation.

The invitation to Russia differs depending on the type of visa you are obtaining. The invitation can be accordingly: a tourist, a business invitation (the same as a commercial invitation), private invitation, etc. for each type of a visa.

ATTENTION! A hotel booking is not required for a visa, but Consulate may demand you to provide a copy of the booking confirmation if you have indicated the hotel as your Russian accommodation in the application form to obtain a visa to Russia.

Let’s consider first the most popular type of invitation:

Tourist invitation for foreigners - Sample

Click to enlarge

Download in PDF

Invitation to Russia for a Tourist visa. This is a document in A4 format, which indicates that you are invited to Russia by a Russian travel company or a hotel that is accredited in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the RF and that is authorized to issue these invitations! This document consists of two parts: A Tourist VOUCHER and Confirmation of the Admission of a foreign tourist. In both parts of the Invitation to Russia the passport data of the tourist, the dates of visiting Russia, cities of visit to Russia, the accommodation in each city (hotel or apartment and their addresses) are indicated. The document is written in Russian and English.

There is always a number of the invitation (of a Tourist VOUCHER) at the top and a reference number of the company, that is, the registration number of the tour operator in RosTourism and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs

You can see a screenshot of an actual letter of invitation from our company. Under the picture you can download an example of real invitation with fake data filled in. A little later, we will step by step analyze all the stages of obtaining this document.


How to get an invitation to Russia?

There are two options. We do not recommend the first one, since it takes much longer and does not guarantee the positive result:

Option 1. A large hotel accredited by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the RF can send you free invitations to Russia. Then after a full payment of accommodation you can request the hotel, and they will send you an invitation. However, in practice even those hotels that are accredited in the Russian Foreign Ministry often want to earn money and ask for a separate fee to issue an invitation. And the prices for this service can be from 900 to 3000 rub  (53 $ / 50 € / 43 £)!  Wherein, you risk by having to pay for the hotel at a non-refundable rate even before you get a visa to Russia! In addition, it is simply inconvenient, as it is required to be engaged in long conversations with a hotel manager. It's easier to use special online services to issue an invitation.

  • ATTENTION! If during your trip you will stay in several hotels and cities, try to ask the hotel to send you an invitation for the entire stay in Russia - then there will be no need to request an invitation from each booked hotel and pay for several invitations. It is sufficient to receive invitation from the first hotel. You have to specify there the cities and hotels in which you plan to stay in the future. However, it is also possible that in the first hotel you will be given an invitation only for the period of residence in it. In this case, you will have to request an invitation letter from each hotel separately.

Option 2. To issue invitation for a visa to Russia yourself. If the hotel asks you to pay for the invitation or cannot make it, or if you live in the apartment, it's easier, faster and cheaper to issue an invitation yourself. In this case, you also do not have to pay the hotel even before receiving an invitation and a visa to Russia.

There you can get an invitation within 5 minutes for about 850 rub (15 $ / 12 € / 11 £)  - пthe invitation will be emailed to you automatically immediately after payment or otherwise you can download it from the site after payment.

  • To receive such an invitation, you need to fill in a simple application form. You do not even need to specify the place where you will stay, you can choose it later. You must indicate the cities that you are going to visit (if you specified only Moscow, you will not be able to visit St. Petersburg).

  • It's okay if you decide after obtaining your visa to stay in another hotel or apartment in the same city. After you get a visa, you can find a more convenient or cheap option. You do not have to live in the hotel, which is indicated in the invitation for a visa to Russia.

In order to get a complete package of documents for issuing a visa you can use our web service

To receive an Invitation to Russia

Let’s see how to do this


2.2.1. We start with choosing citizenship and type of visa. After that you will immediately see the price of the invitation.

Form visa support. Fill in: nationality

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2.2.2. In the next step you will proceed to completing the application form. You should choose the multiplicity of visa, enter name and passport data, as well as the dates of the trip and the cities to visit.

Also tick the box next to "I need Medical insurance policy for visa to Russia" only if you need it - this item is optional. You can read about health insurance further, fill in the contact information form and click "Go to Payment".

Form visa support. Filling: personal data and insurance

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2.2.3.You will be taken to the payment page. You can pay the invitation using the Bank card, with the PayPal or contact us to make a payment in offline. Decide on the method and click "Choose".

Form visa support. Filling: payment

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2.2.4. Enter the card information into a secure form and with one click "Pay" pay both the invitation and travel insurance for the trip.

Form visa support. Filling: payment

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2.2.5. After this simple procedure, you can immediately download the invitation from the appeared window. Also, a copy of the invitation will be sent to your e-mail that you entered when placing the order.


If you also ordered a health insurance, then the file with a health insurance will come to your email during business hours from Monday to Friday within an hour after payment.

Step 3. To buy a health insurance policy for a stay in Russia

(IMPORTANT! If you have already ticked  "I need Medical insurance policy for visa to Russia", in the form of an invitation letter, then you do not need to register it again.) This item is intended for those readers who purchase insurance separately from the invitation.)

ATTENTION! If you travel a lot, you may already have medical insurance to travel abroad and you do not need to get a new one. However, you should make sure that it is valid for Russia and that the insurance company issued you a certificate stating that the insurance covers the entire territory of the Russian Federation.

To obtain a visa to Russia, it is necessary to give in to a Consulate of the Russian Federation (or a Visa Centre) a travel insurance policy that includes repatriation expenses for medical reasons, emergency medical care and / or emergency hospitalization for the entire period of stay in Russia.

You can purchase such insurance in the insurance companies authorized and registered with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.

You can also purchase the insurance through the Visa Application Centre of the Russian Federation, but it will be more expensive and cover a smaller number of services (basic insurance including repatriation and medical assistance will cost approximately 1300 rub (22 $ / 20 € / 17 £). You will need to contact the Visa Centre, to ask them to send you a questionnaire which you will have to fill in, scan and send back, wherein you will have to pay for this service through the bank.

How to apply for a health insurance?

The simplest, cheapest and fastest option will be a self-registration for insurance online. It will cost about 1000 rub (17 $ / 16 € / 14 £) (for a 10 days trip) and you will receive your insurance immediately by email. It will need to be printed, signed and submitted along with the rest of the documents.

To receive health insurance you can also use our service

Receive a health insurance

Let’s see how to do this


2.3.1. Select the multiplicity of visa, the period of stay in Russia, enter the name, passport data and contact addresses and phone numbers

Agree to the terms of use and proceed to payment

A sample form of insurance in Russia: personal data

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2.3.2. Choose how you want to pay for the purchase, and then make payment in a secure form.

A sample form of insurance in Russia: payment

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2.3.3. After payment, you will see a message stating that our managers will contact you during the working day.

A sample form of insurance in Russia: introduction

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2.3.4. The insurance file will be emailed to you within an hour during business hours from Monday to Friday.

A sample form of insurance in Russia: download

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Here's how it looks for our example:


NOTE: If you plan to travel a lot during the year (to Russia or other tourist destinations), perhaps you should arrange an annual medical travel insurance. The cost of such insurance is approximately 11000 rub (190 $ / 180 € / 155 £) and it is valid for 1 year. There you can also insure risks of trip cancellations, get insurance for the Schengen visa, student insurance, etc.

Step 4. To fill in an application form to obtain a visa to Russia

Once you have all the information about the dates of arrival and departure, a valid passport, travel insurance and letter of invitation, you can finally fill in the visa application form.

How to apply for a visa to Russia?

You can do this online at

https://visa.kdmid.ru/PetitionChoice.aspx

Let's consider in more detail how to step-by-step fill in a visa application form


2.4.1. When you go to the site, select your country and the language, which will be convenient for you to fill in the fom. Confirm that you have read the preliminary information by ticking it. And, finally, click on "Complete new application form".

The form will be displayed in English, but you can choose any language.

Filling out the visa form at the Consulate - Specimen

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It is not necessary to fill in the form right away. You can finish the process another time, but be sure to write down the code for your application. It is important in order to access the form again. You will also need to provide your last name and the answer to a security question. If you have lost the code, the form will have to be filled in again. Click "Sumbit"

Consular visa application form: password

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If you bought an invitation on our website - GoingRus, you can use the assistant to fill visa application forms. In the interface of downloading invitation on the right side of the button "Download Invitation" you can see a button "Show data for the visa application form". Click it to display the fill assistant.

Consular visa application form: fill assistant

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2.4.2. The most important paragraph. First you need to fill in the information in the section "Information on the required visa":

  • Nationality
  • Have you ever had the citizenship of Russia or a country of the former USSR
  • Purpose of visit and type of visa. It is required to specify TOURISM
  • Number of entries requested is single or double. Specify as many as you had specified when received the invitation
  • Dates of the trip. It is necessary to specify the date of entry (arrival to Russia) and departure. It is necessary to enter and leave Russia during this period. The dates indicated in the form must match the dates in the invitation and insurance (or at least be included into these days). If you specify "from 10 to 20 August" in the "Trip dates" section, and the invitation (or insurance) will be "from 11 to 20 August", you will not receive the documents. However, if the invitation (or insurance) indicates the period from August 12 to August 19, then there will be no problems.

Once you filled in this information, click "Next"

Consular visa application form: information on visa

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2.4.3. On the next screen, you will need to enter your personal data, as it is indicated in your passport:

  • Surname
  • Name
  • Have you been registered under other names, surnames, etc.
  • Sex
  • Date of Birth
  • Place of Birth
  • Whether you were born in Russia

Fill in the form in capital letters, without using diacritical marks, do not use dots, commas and wavy lines - for example, the Spanish letter Ñ will be replaced by the system on N. In the screenshot you can see the filled in data.

Once you filled in this information, click "Next"

Consular visa application form: personal data

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2.4.4. Enter your passport details on the next screen

  • Passport number - a line written on all pages of your passport
  • Date of issue of the passport
  • Date of expiry of the passport

Once you filled in this information, click "Next"

Consular visa application: passport details

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2.4.5. The most important paragraph.  In the travel details section, you need to specify the following information from your visa support

  • Name of the tourist company. In our case: OSTWEST.COM
  • The address of the company. In our case: 191036, Saint- Petersburg, 10, Ligovsky Prospect (office 2133)
  • Reference number. In our case: 009893
  • Confirmation code. In our case: 63789

Then you must also specify information about the route - the cities you will visit. The route is specified in the invitation. In our case:

  1. Saint-Petersburg
  2. Moscow

Next you must specify the insurance information:

  1. Name of the insurance company. In our case: OJSC AlfaStrakhovanie
  2. Policy number. In our case: SG – SPBPLT000891

Next you must click "Yes" n the paragraph with the question "Do you Plan to stay anywhere during your travel in Russia?" and fill in the data about all the hotels in each city stay:

  1. The name of the hotel (to enter the data you need without the quotation marks, and hyphens);
  2. Its addres;
  3. and phone

Once you filled in this information, click "Next"

Consular visa application form: information about hotels

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The same data you can see in the invitation:

Consular visa application form: how to fill

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2.4.6. Next, indicate the hotel in which you stay, as well as answer questions about your plans in the Russian Federation.

Once you filled in this information, click "Next"

Consular visa application: more data

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2.4.7. On the next page, fill in the form about your previous visas to Russia and other countries of the world.

Once you filled in this information, click "Next"

Consular visa application: previous visa

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2.4.8.Then enter your personal and contact information, as well as information about the company you work in, or the educational institution where you study. Only the fields marked with a red asterisk are required.

Once you filled in this information, click "Next"

Consular visa application: contacts

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2.4.9. Finally, you need to decide where you will apply for a visa. You can choose between Visa Centres of the Russian Federation and Consular Departments of the Russian Embassy..

Once you filled in this information, click "Next"

Consular visa application: place of filing

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2.4.10. At the end you can check the specified data and edit some of it. If all the data is correct, click "Save".

Consular visa application: check the data entered

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2.4.11. On the next screen you can download the filled in form in PDF format. Just click on the "Print A4", and then, once the file will download to your computer, click "Exit".

Consular visa application form: print

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In our example, the form will look like the one on the right screenshot.

On this printout, we see most of the data that was specified during the filling in process.

Step 5. To print out the application form, sign it, stick a photo, pay fees

Print out the application form, put the date of completion, do not forget to sign it and stick the original passport size (3x4 cm) photo (copies are not accepted). It must be recent, colour, in full face and you should not have any sunglasses or headgear on it.

Photo for the visa

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If you are applying for a visa through the Russian Visa Application Centre, you can make a payment by bank transfer (attach payment confirmation to the submitted documents) or in the centre itself by cash or card. You could find the payment details on the site of a specific visa centre.

If you decided to apply for a visa at a Consulate of the RF, you can pay by card or at a branch of a bank on a receipt issued by the Consulate. Cash for payments are not accepted.

Step 6. To give in the documents into a Visa Centre of the RF (or a Consulate of the Russian Federation).

After payment, you will only have to bring all the documents to the place where you are going to apply for a visa. If you want to do this through a courier service, then this service is available only at the Visa Centre of the Russian Federation. At a Consulate, you cannot obtain a visa without your personal attendance. To do this, you need to contact the centre by phone or e-mail, in addition, you can use the services of another courier service, not related to the Visa Centre.

IMPORTANT: In order to avoid any bureaucratic delays, in case anyone asks you “What is the purpose of your trip to Russia?” you MUST say that is "ТOURISM – a tourist company is dealing with the trip". You should not mention any other purpose , such as visiting relatives, for example, even if it is you real purpose.

The procedure for issuing a standard visa takes about 10 calendar days from the date of sending the documents. You can obtain an urgent visa within 24 hours without taking into account the day when the documents were submitted. If you are applying for a visa through a courier service, it will take a little longer.

The visa centre of the Russian Federation will notify you via e-mail about issuing a visa. We recommend that you check the correctness of all the completed data.

Finally a few words about applying for a visa

If you are planning to obtain a visa to Russia and want to do it carefree and without hassle, use the services of a Visa centre. If you need for example a business visa and you want to save money, contact a Consulate of the Russian Embassy.

If you have a valid passport, the rest of the documents required for the procedure of obtaining a visa can be received through the Internet on your own easily and without overpayments within an hour:

  • Letter of invitation for 850 rub (11 $ / 10 € / 8 £) on our site
  • Travel insurance for 65 rub (1.1 $ / 1 € / 0.8 £) per day – just tick a “I would like to have insurance“ form
  • Fill in the visa application form for free at: https://visa.kdmid.ru/petitionchoice.aspx, and then to print it out, sign it and stick a standard passport size photo.
  • Attach a payment confirmation if you pay by bank transfer.

After all documents are ready, bring them to the place of applying in person or through the delivery service. Within approximately 10 days you will successfully obtain a visa for a trip to Russia.


3. What you need to do immediately after arriving to Russia

The process of registration does not end with obtaining of a visa. Remember that on arrival to Russia you need to perform two additional procedures: fill in the migration card and register for migration. The first document is usually completed by a passport control officer at the border, and the second by a hotel employee, where you decided to stay.

During entire period of the trip, be sure to carry your passport with the migration card and the migration registration notice in case you are stopped on the street by a policeman (this might happen, though very seldom).

3.1. Migration card

When entering the territory of the Russian Federation, it is necessary to fill in the migration card. Usually in major airports this issue is settled by the immigration service (the card is filled in digitally or by hand). This procedure is carried out during the passport control passing.


What is an migration card?

Migration card - a sheet the size of a page in the passport, which consists of two equal parts. Be sure to keep this document, you will be asked to present it when you leave the country. In addition, the migration card will be required for migration registration which will be discussed in the next section.

The left screenshot shows a sample of migration card. Usually it is filled in Russian and English.

Migration card sample

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3.2. Migration Registration

If you applied for a tourist visa, you must obtain a migration registration, by registering with the migration service of the Russian Federation within the first 7 days of arrival (excluding weekends and holidays). Until March 2011 it was necessary to register within 72 hours, but under the new law the term has been changed.

Why is temporary registration in Russia necessary?

The purpose of registration is to notify the immigration authorities of the place where you stayed, about your presence in Russia. You must register in each of the cities you are going to visit.

Registration is not your responsibility, it must be arranged for you by the hotel where you will stay, or the owner of the apartment in which you live.

If you have chosen a hotel accommodation, after your arrival, a hotel manage in charge should take care of your migration registration. You will be asked to give your passport with a visa and a migration card that you will receive at the border when entering the country.

If you do not live at a hotel, but in a private property, its owner has to register his/her guest at the FMS (Federal Migration Service) office or at the post office. It is not necessary to be present at registration, provide the owner of the property with a copy of the first page of your passport, your visa and the migration card.

It should be noted that some companies issue temporary registration for a fee.

Also, please keep in mind that when leaving the country, you do not need to have a migration registration notification with you, unlike the migration card.


You can see the notification on the displayed image. The foreigner will keep the lower part (under the dotted line).

Migration - sample

Click to enlarge


That's all. We remind you that all personal data used in this article including names and passport numbers is made-up. The falsification of documents is a crime!

Any coincidences encountered in the text are accidental and cannot be considered plagiarism. Copying of this article is permitted only with reference to the author and to this site.

We are happy to answer any of your questions in the comments to this article!

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