How to get a Russian visa

The norms to enter Russia vary from country to country. Countries of the former Soviet Union generally have a visa-free agreement with Russia, or easier visa procedures, while on the opposite, citizens of the US will have to submit many documents to get a visa. The EU has a facilitation visa agreement with Russia, but still the visa procedure is long and rather expensive.
We recommend you to check the visa requirements for you country at the following website:
http://www.russianembassy.net/

In general, the requirements to enter Russia are the following:

  • Passport should be valid 6 months beyond intended stay, with at least 2 blank pages
  • You need Tickets and Documents for return or onward travel
  • Russian visa is required
  • You need to keep the Migration that you will receive when entering the country for the whole length of your stay
  • A medical insurance valid for the period of your stay

If you are traveling to Russia as a foreigner, you will need a Russian visa. You can do it either from a consulate or from a travel agency. To get a visa, you will need:

  • Invitation letter
  • 2 copies of the consular application form
  • 2 photos format 3×4 cm
  • Payment of the consular fee

The invitation letter

To get your visa, you will need an invitation letter from a Russian company, that complicates the procedure. But don’t worry, there are various methods to get this letter.

1. From your hotel in Russia: you can ask your hotel if they provide the invitation service. In this case, they will provide you with a telex number that you will show to the Consulate. Usually hotel ask for a sum of money for this service, that can be up to 60-70 euros. So ask your hotel and think if it is convenient before booking!
2. Many travel agencies that provide you with the invitation letter. The agency should be properly registered with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and possessing a valid “tour reference” number. Make sure you are dealing with a reliable travel agency which can provide you with registration and support services when you arrive to Russia. Many agencies provide you directly with the visa, and in most cases, this is the most convenient option in terms of money and time-saving.

The registration in Russia

Once you are in Russia you have to be registered with the Federal Authorities within 7 days, otherwise you will have troubles when leaving the country – you may be fined as well as deported and denied from entering Russia again for 5 years. Officially, the registration should be done by the accommodating party, so make sure your hotel does it for you. Hotels generally ask for a small sum of money to register you, and they give you a confirmation of the registration request.

IMPORTANT: during your travel in Russia, always keep with you:

  • Passport with valid visa
  • Migration card
  • Registration confirmation
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