Obtaining a Russian visa is an elaborate process. In order to acquire a visa, a foreign national must apply at a Russian Embassy or Consulate. Below are the detailed steps of obtaining a visa.

Read more: Obtaining a Russian visa

Having an invitation is an essential requirement for acquiring a visa to Russia. An invitation and a visa are two different things. Besides, an invitation is the first step for a foreign national to apply to the Russian Consulate for a visa. Invitations differ depending on the purpose of visit. Every visa type requires its own type of invitation.

Read more: Types of invitations to Russia

An entry visa to Russia can be of one of these types: tourist, business, private/homestay, work or student. Visas also differ by the number of entries they allow to their holder – single entry, double entry or multiple entry visas are available.

Read more: Types of Russian visas

For instance, your foreign friend decided to spend their vacation in Russia and the main purpose of their visit would be sightseeing; it is your best bet to acquire a tourist invitation for them, which will serve as a basis for applying for a tourist visa to Russia at the local Russian Consulate. A foreign national may apply for a single or double entry visa, valid up to 30 days, upon receiving this invitation. 


Acquiring a tourist invitation is simple at one of the travel agencies, as long as they are officially registered international tour operators.

Acquire a tourist invitation to Russia online

Acquire an invitation

In order to a business entry visa to Russia, it is required to get a business invitation first.  Business invitations are issued and delivered to those foreign nationals, who intend to travel to the Russian Federation for any business-related purposes, such as commercial negotiations or consultations. Based on a business invitation, one can apply for multiple entry visa to Russia.

Acquire a business invitation to Russia online

Acquire a business invitation

Thus, the first step is to determine which type of visa is needed (depending on the purpose of visit) and then obtaining an appropriate type of invitation.  The second step is actually applying for a visa at the local Consulate of Russia, based on the invitation received (a foreign national shall only obtain a Russian visa at a Russian Consulate, located in the country of their citizenship). The applicant must also pay the consular fee, the amount of which is to be determined by the visa type, how long it takes to issue and by several other aspects. In either case, the following documents are required for submission:

  • a filled out visa application;
  • travel passport;
  • a picture;
  • an invitation to Russia (issued by an individual, a company or a Russian-based travel agency).

After receiving your visa at the Embassy, it is important to register it. This is to be done within 7 days upon arrival to Russia. This process is usually handled by the hotel or the inviting party (a company or an individual). If the visa is not registered in a timely manner. 

Important information:

  1. multiple entry visas are registered for 3 months, subject to renewal;
  2. travel passport of the foreign national must be valid during the entire validity of the visa and for at least 6 months after the visa expiration date;
  3. application for the invitation must be submitted no later than 45 days prior to the foreign national’s intended entry date to Russia;
  4. a total amount of days (consecutive or not) the foreign national is allowed to spend in Russia on a multiple entry visa shall not exceed 90 days per every 180 day period;
  5. a foreign national, travelling to Russia on a business visa, may only be employed by the company, which issued them their invitation; otherwise, any type of employment on the territory of the Russian Federation is in violation with local government laws.

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