Do U.S. citizens need a visa for Russia?
Yes, a U.S. citizen must possess a valid visa to enter Russia for any purpose.
How do I get a Russian visa for U.S. citizens?
To request a visa U.S. citizens need to obtain an invitation provided by a Russian-based sponsor (a tour company, relative, legal entity such as business partner or prospective employer, etc). The visa sponsorship is determined by visa category and purpose of visit declared by the U.S. citizen as the main one.
Where can I get my Russian visa in the USA?
U.S. citizens must obtain visas in advance at a Russian Embassy or Consulate or official visa center in the US. It is not possible to obtain a Russian entry visa upon arrival. See the list of Russian Consular sections and Russia Visa application Centers in the USA, along with their phone numbers and locations on this page below.
Basic types of Russian visas:
- Tourist visa is intended for those who travel for tourism and sightseeing;
- Private visa is for visitors who would like to meet relatives, friends or other individuals in Russia (however, it is recommended to apply for a tourist visa instead as it is easy and quick to obtain);
- Electronic visa is for short-term trips of any purpose;
- Business visa suits applicants willing to explore business opportunities in Russia;
- Work visa is required for applicants who seek out career development opportunities in Russian enterprises.
|Type of Visa||Duration||Purpose|
|Tourist visa||1 day - 3 years||General tourism, visiting friends in Russia|
|Electronic visa||1-16 days||Short period trips|
|Business visa||30 days - 3 years||Conducting business meetings and negotiations, concluding and renewing contracts, consulting and providing commercial services, participating in events on trade and economic issues or of a commercial nature|
|Private visa||30 days - 3 years||Visiting family, friends or other individuals in Russia (Not recommended! See why)|
|Work visa||90 days with or w/o possibility of extension||Installation works or official employment in Russia|
All 3-year multiple visas allow a 6-month uninterrupted stay in Russia, a minimum interval between the stays can be just one calendar day. For visas with shorter validity period a U.S. citizen may stay in Russia only 90 days in any 180-day period.
US citizens planning to visit Russia for sightseeing, cultural exchange and general tourism should apply for a tourist visa.
Tourist visas are sponsored by tour companies or hotels. A sponsor can be verified by its unique reference number in the Unified Federal Register of the Tour Operators of the Federal Tourism Agency governed by the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation. It is required to annually renew the financial securities contract to be on the register in order to legally conduct tour operator activity.
Read more: Russian Tourist Visa
To request a tourist visa a US citizen needs to receive a tourist visa invitation from a licensed sponsor, i.e. a travel agency or hotel. Tourist visa invitation consists of two parts: confirmation of reception of the tourist and tourist voucher, and must contain the following information:
- applicant's passport details,
- type of visa and purpose of visit "Common tourism",
- requested visa period and number of entries,
- visa sponsor information (name and address of tour company with its reference number and confirmation number of invitation)
- destination and intended place of stay.
Tourist visa period of validity for US citizens
A break between the stays may be as short as one calendar day.
When applying for a 3-year multiple entry visa, indicate a period of stay starting from the date of entry in your visa invitation exit date to three years later minus one day (e.g. 06/25/2022 - 06/24/2025) in the visa application form.
Obtain a tourist invitation to Russia for US citizens online in 5 minutes
Order Tourist visa invitation here Price $15
If the purpose of a citizen of the USA is to visit his/her friends or relatives, who live in the Russian Federation, he/she should apply for a Private Visa. In order to receive a Private Visa it is necessary to have a Private Invitation for citizens of the USA. Such Invitation is issued when an individual or a juridical person applies to a governmental body of the Federal Migration Service (FMS).
Find out why: Why not apply for a private visa?
Read more: Russian Private Visa
If a citizen of the USA is invited to the RF by an individual, this person should apply to a branch of the FMS at a place of his/her registration. If a foreign citizen is invited by a company, the application should be given in to the FMS, located in the district where such company was accredited.
An Invitation for a Private Visa will be issued only on a special form from the FMS with an individual number. It should have all passport details of an American applicant. Information on the inviting party, terms of visa and number of entries. The issuing of this Invitation takes a certain amount of time during which all necessary investigations take place as to whether there are any previous convictions, expulsions or administrative violations of the applicant. If any such violations are found the applicant will be denied in an Invitation.
A Private Visa can be obtained even by a minor citizen of the USA. Whereas minors will be refused any other type of a visa, unless they are accompanied by their parents.
Private visa can be single or double-entry. It is issued for a maximum period of 3 months (90 days).
Get of a Private (Visitor) Invitation to Russia for Americans (US citizens)
Those citizens of the USA who are coming to the RF in order to expand their business, sign agreements, participate in auctions, etc. have to apply for a Business Visa. For this purpose they have firstly to be issued a Business Invitation for citizens of the USA.
Read more: Russian Business Visa
The business visa invitation letter can be obtained by either of these ways:
- Russian Business Invitation Letter from organization (possible to get Online);
- Russian Invitation Letter from FMS;
- Telex Russian Invitation;
Our company recommends the citizens of the EU, the United States, Japan and China to choose the invitation letter issued by an organization, because:
- Issuing an invitation letter is cheaper than arranging an invitation by Telex or at the FMS.
- It can be issued online in 5 minutes and will be sent to you by email immediately after payment.
- Also, it is not required to submit the original invitation to the Consulate, which saves you the money you will otherwise have to spend on postal services for sending the original invitation.
- A 3-year visa invitation and visa can be obtained with this type of invitation if the applicant has previously held two or more Russian business visas.
Consider taking these three simple steps:
- Step 1: Fill out the form
- Step 2: Pay $55 USD by credit card or via PayPal
- Step 3: Receive your invitation on your email instantly after payment
Get your invitation letter online! Price from: $55.00
A Letter of Invitation is a letter of a written petition to the embassy of the RF in the USA from a company accredited in the FMS. The issuing of such an invitation takes only one day.
An Invitation on the FMS Form is issued by the FMS of the RF – an authorized governmental body. For this purpose an inviting organization has to apply for invitation and give in all necessary information about the foreign citizen it invites. Such Invitation will contain all passport information of the foreign citizen, information about the company which invites him/her, the purpose of the visit, the validity of the visa and the number of entries.
Telex – is a directive to a consulate of the RF from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the RF. With this type of invitation the inviting party gives a foreign citizen a certain number which the latter should quote when applying to a consulate or an embassy of the RF.
The issuing of an Invitation on the FMS Form or by Telex takes some time as the FMS has to check if there were any legal violations by this foreign citizen during his/her previous visits. If there were any violations the invitation will not be given.
Business Visa for citizens of the USA can be issued for a period from 1 month (30 days) to 3 years. It can be single, double-entry or multi-entry.
Please, note that according to Russian visa policy maximum stay in Russia without leave is 90 days in 180-period days.
Get a Russian Business Invitation from USA on the letterhead of an accredited company
Issuing of a Business Invitation to Russia for Americans (US citizens) on the FMS form
Get a Business Invitation to Russia for Americans (US citizens) by a Telex
If a citizen of the USA plans to enter Russia in order to work he/she has to apply for a Work Visa. The Invitation for such a visa should be executed by his/her company-employer. This company should also register a work-permit for this foreign citizen before issuing such invitation.
Read more: Russian Work Visa
An Invitation for a Work Visa is issued on a special form of the FMS for a period of 90 days. Within this period an American citizen should enter Russia and fulfill the migration registration. After this his/her Work Visa may be extended for a period of the contract but no longer than a year.
Get Work Visa to Russia for Americans (US citizens)
An electronic visa (hereinafter referred to as "e-visa") is a new type of a visa document. A visa invitation to Russia is not required for obtaining an e-visa. To obtain an e-visa to Russia use our “E-visa to Russia” service.
An e-visa can be only single-entry. The permitted stay in Russia on an e-visa is up to 8 days from the date of entry within its validity period.
The validity period and/ or permitted stay on an e-visa cannot be extended. To obtain an e-visa a foreign citizen needs a digital passport photo and a completed application form containing full and valid data at the official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.
Read more: Electronic visa to Russia for foreigners
At present citizens of USA are not eligible for obtaining an e-visa to Russia. According to the Government of the Russian Federation, e-visa processing for the citizens of USA shall become available starting January 1st, 2021.
We recommend citizens of USA obtaining a common tourist visa for a stay up to 30 days.
Visa to Russia (the RF) for citizens of the USA can be issued by a Russian consulate institution in the USA or any country where the citizen of the USA has a residence permit. Americans may obtain Russian visa in these Consular centers of the Russian Federation:
- Embassy of the Russian Federation in the United States of America, Consular Section of the Embassy
Consulate General of the Russian Federation in San Francisco
- Address: The Consulate General of the Russian Federation in San Francisco 2790 Green Street, San Francisco, CA, 94123, USA
- Phone: (8-10-1-415) 928-68-78, 202-98-02
- Fax: (8-10-1-415) 929-03-06
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Web: www.consulrussia.org
- From Monday to Friday - on visa issues from 09.00 to 12.00.
- Monday through Friday - at the Passport and Legal Affairs, from 14.00 to 17.00.
Consulate General of the Russian Federation in Seattle
- Address: Consulate General of Russia in Seattle 600 University Street #2510 One Union Square Building Seattle, WA 98101
- Phone: (8-10-1-206) 728-02-32, 728-19-10
- Fax: (8-10-1-206) 728-18-71
- E-mail: email@example.com
- Web: www.netconsul.org
- Business hours: From Monday to Friday - from 08.30 to 17.30, a break from 12.30 to 13.30. Office hours for visitors from 09.00 to 12.00 - for passport and notarial matters; from 14.00 to 17.00 - on visa issues.
Consulate-General of Russia in Houston
- Address: Consulate General of the Russian Federation in Houston, 1333 West Loop South, Ste.1300, Houston, TX 77027
- Phone: (8-10-1-713) 337-33-00 ext. 309
- Fax: (8-10-1-713) 337-33-05
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Web: www.rusconhouston.mid.ru
- Business hours: From Monday to Friday - from 09.00 to 12.00
- Consulate General of the Russian Federation in New York
- Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations in New York
Frequently Asked Questions
To obtain a Russian visa you need:
- Fill in our online order form and get a Visa invitation to Russia
- Refer to our Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Russian Visa Application, use your personal data and information from the Invitation to Russia