The nationals of the states not having the visa waiver program with Russia must present an letter of invitation to Russia when applying for their visa. If a foreigner wants to visit his/her Russian relatives or friends, he/she should apply for a private visa. For that, the host must arrange an invitation in support of a private visa and send it to him/her by mail. 

However, applying for a private (visitor) visa is not the best way to gain entry to Russia. Foreign citizens can apply for other types of visa, for example, business visa or tourist visa. These alternatives are more prompt, convenient and affordable.

A large number of foreign visitors choose tourist visas in this case. Applying for a tourist visa minimizes difficulties related to bureaucratic procedures the Russian relatives or friends of the foreigners will have to follow. 

This article discusses the following topics:

Visitor visa or tourist visa: which one is better?

Should you decide to invite a friend or relative who is a citizen of a foreign country to visit Russia, it is necessary that he/she obtains a tourist or visitor visa at the Russian consulate, located in his/her country of residence. 

Before applying for a visa at the Consulate, a foreign citizen must:

  1. decide on the length of his/her stay in Russia by scheduling the dates of entry and exit
  2. get an invitation to Russia

Visa Validity Periods and the Cost of Invitations


Visitor Visa

Tourist Visa

* Business Visa

Validity Periods

up to 90 days

up to 30 days

up to 5 years (taking into account the fact that the period of stay on the territory of the Russian Federation may not exceed 90 days for every 180 days)

Cost of the Invitations

700 rubles (not including the cost of international delivery service [from 2,000 rubles])

1,000 rubles (delivery of the original invitation is not required)

depends on the validity of the visa and the number of entries granted by the visa

* Business visa (commercial visa) is added for completeness, since the most common types of visas to enter Russia are tourist, business and visitor visas. 

The Process of Obtaining Invitations to Russia for Foreigners

Invitation for Visitor Visa

Invitation for Tourist Visa

In order to arrange a private (visitor) visa invitation, the host, who is a resident of the Russian Federation, should:

  1. Collect the following documents:
  • copy of the foreigner's passport
  • copy of his/her passport
  • proof of his/her income
  • Letter of guarantee (in which he/she undertakes to provide residence, as well as medical and financial support to the invited person)
  • visitor visa invitation application
  1. Pay a state fee at the bank and attach the proof of payment to the package of collected documents.
  2. Visit the office of the Federal Migration Service at the place of his/her residence, wait in line and submit the prepared package of documents.
  3. Allow the waiting time, specified during the process of submitting documents (the processing time frame for visitor visa invitations cannot exceed 30 days). If the invited foreigner is a citizen of a country included in the list of high migration risk countries, the person who invites him/her to visit Russia shall be interviewed by an FMS employee.
  4. Visit the office of the FMS on a named day, wait in line and obtain the invitation addressed to the foreign citizen (or a reasoned refusal to issue the invitation in written form).
  5. Send the invitation to the foreigner by international delivery service.

In order to obtain an invitation for tourist visa, 3 simple steps must be taken. The whole process will take less than 1 day:

  1. fill out the Application Form online on our website
  2. pay 1,000 rubles service fee for arranging the tourist visa invitation
  3. Instantly receive the invitation letter by e-mail or fax.

The inviting party, as well as the foreign citizen himself/herself, can complete these steps.



Visa Application Process for Foreigners Who Submit Their Documents at the Russian Consulate

The process of applying for visa at the Consulate does not depend on the type of visa and is described in the Section.

In brief, the foreign national is required to collect all documents required for the visa. The list of documents can be requested from the Russian Consulate.

After all the necessary documents are prepared (such as invitation letter, tickets, medical insurance, etc.), the visa application must be filled out at the Consulate, the application fee paid and the package of documents submitted. After a short wait, the applicant must visit the Consulate to pick up his/her visa. In some cases, seekers may be denied their Russian visa

In the case of obtaining a visa, the foreigner must register with the migration authorities within 7 working days after crossing the border of the Russian Federation. Foreigners are required to register if they intend to stay in Russia longer than 7 working days. 

The process of preparing invitations for the visitor, tourist, and business visas and registering with the Migration Service may be different in terms of time and expense. Let's compare the visitor and the tourist visas.

Read more: The process of Obtaining a Visa at the Consulate.

Migration Registration for Foreign Citizens

Visitor Visa

Tourist Visa

The owner of the place, where the foreigner will temporarily stay, has to register him/her with the Migration Service. This can be done by visiting a local office of the FMS during the hours of service and waiting in line.

The following documents are required to register a foreign citizen:

  • copy of the foreign citizen's passport
  • copy of the host's passport
  • migration card, completed by the foreigner
  • written consent for the registration of the foreign citizen obtained from each co-owner of the residential property
  • copy of the residential property ownership certificate
  • certificate of payment of the state duty for registration
  • filled out registration application form

Citizens of the Russian Federation who host foreigners without proper registration are subject to a fine of 2,500 to 5,000 rubles.

Customers, who apply for a tourist visa invitation on out website, get a free migration registration service. You will need to:

  1. notify us about your arrival within 7 working days after crossing the Russian border and provide your  migration card and a copy of your passport with the visa stamp
  2. visit our office to pick up the notification of the migration registration (courier delivery is available).



As you can see, preparing invitations for tourist visa is cheaper compared to the visitor visa invitations:

  • in terms of cost: a maximum of 1,000 rubles vs. at least 2,700 rubles
  • in terms of time: a maximum of 1 day vs. a maximum of 30 days.

The only advantage of the visitor visa is a longer maximum period of stay: 90 days compared to 30 days allowed by a tourist visa. However, if you want your friend or loved one to stay in Russia for more than 30 days, consider obtaining a business visa invitation. Business visa allows visiting Russia during an extended period of time (up to 5 years).

Order invitation for tourist visa or business visa right now by filling out the online application form on our website. You can pay for your order using Visa, MasterCard, Paypal, bank transfer or in cash at our office. 

Arrange a tourist visa invitation to Russia

Apply for a Visa Invitation

Arrange a business visa invitation to Russia

Apply for a Business Visa Invitation

Things to do in Russia



# Thanh binh 2016-10-02 20:02
Em muôn xin visa cho bo me em sang Moscow du lịch. Hien tai e đang song o Moscow. Cho e biet phí tong cong cho visa la bao nhiêu a.

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