5 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 5.00 (2 Votes)

What is the procedure for processing and issuing of visas to Russia?

In order to enter Russia, foreign citizens and stateless persons must preliminarily apply for a visa. Some nationalities can enter without a visa, if their country of origin has a relevant agreement with Russia.

To apply for a visa, you must contact the Russian Consulate, located in the country of your residence. There is a list of countries whose citizens are subject to exceptions: they are allowed to apply for a Russian visa while they are not staying in those countries of which they are nationals, but in those where they are currently staying.


All information in one article in all languages!

Full step-by-step guide to obtain Russian visa


Russian consular offices issue different types of visas. They vary depending on the purpose of the visit and the planned terms you intend to stay on the territory of Russia. Depending on the type of visa, a list of documents may vary:


Step-by-step guide to obtain Russian visa

Issuance procedures of different types of visas are very similar but there are some nuances in the issuance of every single visa type.


General set of documents

Regardless of the type of visa, a foreign citizen must provide the Russian consular office with the following documents:

  1. valid passport (ordinary, official, or diplomatic) or another identity document recognized by the Russian Federation.

    The document's authenticity should not invite doubt, no corrections and erasures, notes or marks, as well as embroidered or torn pages are allowed in it. The passport should be valid for at least 6 months after the expiry of the visa. In addition, at least two blank pages must be reserved for visas in it. When applying for a student or work visa, the foreign citizen's passport must not expire earlier than in 1.5 years after the start of his/her visa validity period.

    However, there are exceptions. For example, a foreign citizen, who applies for a Russian visa to undergo emergency treatment or in the event of the death of his/her close relative, may be granted an ordinary private visa. In this case, his/her passport must be valid for at least the period of his/her visa validity (the 6 months period is not a requirement in this case). 

  1. visa application form, containing truthful information.
    (Read more: See application form sample).

  2. one photo (3,5х4,5 cm in size) in color or black and white with a clear image of the foreign citizen's face taken in full-face view. Foreign citizens must not be wearing tinted eye-glasses or headgear (unless the wearing of headgear is necessary due to nationality or religion and he/she is depicted in the same headgear in his/her national passport).

  3. documents confirming payment of the consular fee, (see the rates on the website of the Russian consular office in the country where the visa will be requested).

  4. other documents depending on the type of visa, required for the foreign citizen (tickets, hotel reservation confirmation, medical certificates, financial documents, letters, etc.).

Read more: How to get Russian visa invitation letter

In order to get a Russian visa, a foreign citizen must apply to the Russian consular office with a complete set of documents. He/she must apply in person or through his/her legal representative.

After the consular fee is paid and the package of documents submitted, a receipt will be issued indicating the date when the visa will be ready. This receipt must be provided when obtaining the visa.

After obtaining the visa, immediately verify all data is correct: name, passport number, date of birth and dates of the trip. If these data contain any errors, the visa must be taken back to be edited properly.

No matter what number of entries the visa allows, the foreign citizen is allowed to stay no more than 90 days for each period of 180 days on the territory of the Russian Federation. Among the exceptions are those foreign citizens who enter with student or work visas: they can stay in Russia for the entire duration of their visa validity period.

Russian Consulate reserves the right to refuse a visa to a foreign national (usually, some serious reasons are involved in that case). In case of refusal to issue a visa, the consular fee paid by an applicant when filing documents will not be returned.


Set of documents according to visa type

Let's have a look which documents are required to obtain a certain type of visa.

Tourist visa

To obtain a tourist visa, the applicant must provide the following documents at the Russian Consulate:

  • copy of his/her passport
  • completed visa application form
  • 2 photos sized 3,5х4,5 cm
  • documents confirming payment of the consular fee
  • Russian tourist invitation letter, which consists of 2 documents:
    • contract for the provision of tourism services, concluded with a travel company (tourist voucher)
    • confirmation of the reception of foreign tourists (also issued by that travel company).

Read more: Russian tourist visa

Maximum validity period for Russian tourist visa is 30 days. These visas can allow a single or double entry.

When applying for a tourist visa, a tourist invitation is necessary. Tourist visa cannot be issued based on a hotel booking confirmation.


Order Russian tourist invitation letter

Issue an invitation

Business visa

To apply for a business visa, the applicant must submit the following documents at the Russian Consulate:

  • copy of his/her passport
  • completed visa application form
  • 2 photos sized 3,5х4,5 cm
  • documents confirming payment of the consular fee
  • original invitation to Russia, which can be obtained at the Office of the Federal Migration Service or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.

Read more: Russian business visa

Single- or double-entry business visas are valid for up to 3 months, while the multiple-entry ones allow to stay in Russia for up to 1 year and even up to 5 years.


Order Russian business visa invitation

Apply for a business visa invitation letter from an organization

Apply for a business visa invitation letter on the Federal migration service's letterhead

Apply for a business visa invitation letter by Telex

Private visa

To arrange a private visa, a foreign citizen must apply to the Russian consulate with the following documents:

  • copy of his/her passport
  • completed visa application form
  • 2 photos sized 3,5х4,5 cm
  • document confirming payment of the consular fee
  • original invitation, issued by the Office of the Federal Migration Service of Russia.

Read more: Russian private visa

Private visas can be valid for a maximum of 3 months. They can allow a single or double entry.

Attention! We do not recommend the use of a private visa!
Why? Read more: Why shouldn't you use a private visa?

Student visa

In order to obtain a student visa, the applicant is expected to submit the following documents to the Russian Consulate:

  • copy of his/her passport
  • completed visa application form
  • 2 photos sized 3,5х4,5 cm
  • document confirming payment of the consular fee
  • original invitation, issued for the foreign citizen in the FMS of Russia
  • Medical certificate confirming the absence of HIV/AIDS (must be issued not earlier than 3 months ago).

Read more: Russian student visa

When submitting a set of documents for your student visa, be aware that your passport must be valid for at least 1.5 years. 


Need a help in obtaining a student visa invitation?

See the Help section

Work visa

In order to obtain a work visa, a foreign citizen must submit the following documents at the consular office:

  • copy of his/her passport
  • completed visa application form
  • 2 photos sized 3,5х4,5 cm
  • document confirming payment of the consular fee
  • original invitation, issued by the employer at the FMS
  • Certification of HIV-infection test negative results (valid for 3 months from the date of issue).

Read more: Russian work visa

The foreign citizen's passport must be valid for at least 1.5 years at the moment when he/she prepares the documents for his/her work visa.


Procedure of issuing Russian work visa

Russian work visa issuance is a difficult process, in which you need to find an employer at first. Perhaps you should apply for a tourist visa to pass an interview with an employer and then the employer will make a request to FMS of Russia if he hires you. Keep it in mind! It is impossible to buy such invitations!

Transit visa

To apply for a transit visa, a foreign citizen must provide the Russian consular office with these documents:

  • copy of his/her passport
  • completed visa application form
  • 2 photos sized 3,5х4,5 cm
  • travel tickets for the route through the Russian Federation
  • copy of the entry visa to the country neighboring with Russia, visa of the country of destination or national passport of that country.

Read more: Russian transit visa

A transit visa valid for 3 days is issued to foreign citizens who travel through Russia by air to the country of destination. However, for the foreigners who fly through Russia on a non-stop air transport flight a transit visa is not necessary.

We recommend you to contact Russian Consulate to let yourself know if it is necessary to obtain a visa for your route.

Consulates and embassies of the Russian Federation listed by country

Add comment


Security code
Refresh