Do Americans need Visa to Russia?

Yes. A required document to enter Russia for a citizen of the USA is a visa. A visa to Russia from USA can be received in the consulates and embassies of the Russian Federation. When applying for a visa an American citizen should give in an Invitation, sent by an individual or a juridical person from Russia. The visa applicants should also fill in an application form and pay the consulate fee.

An invitation to Russia for USA citizens can be of different types depending on who issues the visa and what is the purpose of a trip.

How to Get Russian Visa from USA?

The requirements may vary depending on purposes of travel:

  • Tourist visa is intended for those who travel for tourism and wish to see sights.
  • Private visa is good for visitors who would like to meet Russian friends (however, it is recommended to apply for the tourist visa instead as it is a more easy and reliable way to take a trip to Russia).
  • Electronic visa - for example: short-term trips;
  • Business visa suits the foreign applicants who are concerned in exploring business opportunities of Russia.
  • Work visa is necessary for the citizens of foreign countries who seek to endeavour in career and professional development in Russian enterprises.

Where to apply for a Russian visa in USA?

You can obtain a visa to Russia in any of the Consulates of the Russian Federation located in USA. See the list of Russian Consulates in USA, along with their phone numbers and location indicated on this page below.

Russian visas quick comparison

Type of Visa Duration Purpose
Tourist visa 1-30 days Sightseeing, visiting friends in Russia
Electronic visa 8 days Trips for a short period of time
Business visa 30-90 days (up to 5 years) Search of business partners, attending conferences, long trips, long-term visits of friends in Russia
Private visa 30-90 days Official visits to meet with friends in Russia (Not recommended! See why)
Work visa 1-3 years Employment in Russia or permanent residence

Russian Tourist Visa from USA

Tourist Visa – is the visa for those foreign citizens who want to visit Russia to see its cultural and historical landmarks. In order to obtain a tourist visa, the citizens of the USA need a tourist invitation to visit Russia.

Read more: Russian Tourist Visa

A tourist invitation can be issued by a travel company which is registered in the Federal Register of the Tour Operators and has its reference number there. Such an invitation consists of two parts – a tourist voucher and a confirmation of a visit for a foreign tourist. This type of invitation to visit Russia for Americans can be made within 1 working day.

The look of a tourist invitation is not regulated by law but it must contain the name of the travel company and its reference number, passport details of the tourist, cities to be visited, the validity period of the visa, number of entries and some other information.

When issuing a tourist visa at a consulate, a foreigner may be required to demonstrate the purchase of air tickets and to confirm a booking at a hotel for the period specified in the invitation, as well as an insurance policy.

When issuing a tourist invitation a travel company will not check whether an American citizen has any unpaid penalties, expulsions or convictions during his/her previous visits. However such an investigation would be done by the consulate where a USA citizen applies for a visa. If he/she is found to have incurred any penalties during any previous visits, he/she will be refused a visa. Thus an invitation from a travel company does not guarantee you will be granted a visa.

A Tourist Visa (single and double entry) is issued for citizens of the USA for a maximum period of 30 days.
Due to the simplification of the visa regime between Russia and the United States signed on 12.09.2012, it is now also possible to issue a tourist invitation up to 3 years. If you need an invitation for a period from 31 days to 3 years please, contact us by email
Please, note that according to Russian visa policy maximum stay in Russia without leave is 90 days in 180-period days.

Get a Tourist Invitation to Russia from USA

Go to Issuing a Tourist Invitation     Price $15.00

Russian Private Visa for Americans (US citizens)

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).

Please note! We do not recommend using a private visa!
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)

Go to Issuing an Invitation

Russian Business Visa from USA

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:

Our company recommends the citizens of the EU, the United States, Japan and China to choose the invitation letter issued by an organization, because:


  1. Issuing an invitation letter is cheaper than arranging an invitation by Telex or at the FMS.
  2. It can be issued online in 5 minutes and will be sent to you by email immediately after payment.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Read more: What is the difference between a telex and the original invitation

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

Go to Issuing a Business Invitation

Issuing of a Business Invitation to Russia for Americans (US citizens) on the FMS form

Go to Issuing a Business Invitation

Get a Business Invitation to Russia for Americans (US citizens) by a Telex

Go to Issuing a Business Invitation

Work visa for Americans (US citizens)

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)

Go to Issuing an Invitation

Russian Electronic Visa from USA

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.

Get Russian Visa Invitation

Russian consulate in USA:

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:

Current Addresses of Russian Embassies in US​ (translated version)

Things to do in Russia


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