Guide To Russia Visa Applications
Being the biggest country in the world sure has its advantages; a vast space to accommodate people. However, this doesn’t mean Russia opens its doors to just anyone who knocks. If you meet her requirements, then you will be let a pass. Russia is an excellent place for tourists to explore, with many historical sites and other attractions to make their visit worthwhile. Students, business people, and those seeking employment all have a place in Russia. So, join the moving train as we explore the processes and requirements of obtaining a Russia visa.
Do you need one?
Knowing if you need a visa to visit a country is necessary. Some nations allow other countries to see them visa-free. The Russian Federation allows some countries visa-free access with varying validity periods. Check the list of visa-exempt countries to know if your country is part of them.
Also, some countries are allowed to have electronic visas. This will make the application process easier for applicants. The eVisa, which is accessible by 52 countries, will start to be in use by January 2021. Here is a list of countries whose citizens can apply for an eVisa.If your country doesn’t make both lists, do not worry. We are here to guide you through the whole process of applying for a Russia visa, leaving no stone unturned.
What types of visas are available?
Russia offers several visas to suit different needs depending on your purpose of visit. Passes offer includes:
- Tourist Visa
You wish to travel, and you don’t know how long you might be staying or the places you’d visit when you get to your destination. This visa isn’t for you. The other set of people know how long they’ll spend at their travel destination and places they are set to visit without deviating. With this visa, you are permitted to be in Russia for up to 30 days with the condition that provides proof you have somewhere to sleep every night during your entire stay in the country. An extension of validity for this visa is not allowed.
It is right to say that the exact opposite of the tourist visa is the business visa. This travel document gives certain flexibility to its holders. If you don’t have an idea of how long you’ll be spending in the Russian territory or the places you’d be visiting while you’re there, then this visa is just perfect for you. An added option allows you to extend your stay in the country for up to 90days or even 12 months if you are granted a multiple-entry business visa. To qualify for this visa, you need to have a business to do in Russia, be it official or private. When you meet the requirements, you will receive an invitation from the Russian Ministry of Interior, permitting you to carry on with your activities in the country.
This visa is issued for individuals intending to visit Russia for more personal reasons such as visiting a friend or family reunion. It is usually valid for 90days. The Russian government usually requests a letter of invitation written by your host. It’ll give them information on where you’d be throughout your stay.
Individuals visiting Russia for social, cultural, or sporting events are usually issued this visa. If you’re coming to the country to carry out humanitarian activities, you will be given this visa. It has a validity period of 90 days and allows for single or double entry into the Russian Federation within 180 days.
With a student visa in hand, you can visit Russia for at least three months or whenever you finish your studies in the institution you are enrolled at. You need to provide a letter of invitation from the institute, and other supporting documents such as proof of your enrolment and acceptance by the educational institute are necessary.
With a validity of 3-10 days depending on circumstances, a transit visa allows individuals to make a brief stop on Russian soil before moving on to a third country. It also applies to those traveling by sea.
The table below gives a general overview of the visas issued types and the validity period allocated to them.
|Single Entry||Double Entry||Multiple Entry|
|Tourist||30 days||30 days|
|Business||3 months||3 months||1 year|
|Humanitarian||3 months||3 months||1 year|
6 Steps Involved in the Russia Visa Application
Discussed briefly are steps common steps involved when applying for a Russia visa:
1. Letter of Invitation
It is pertinent to provide a letter of invitation irrespective of your purpose of visit (except transit visa). The issuer of an invitation letter is usually dependent on your definition of a visit. Students get invitation letters from their institutions of study; tourists can obtain an invitation letter from a hotel or travel agency; family or friends can issue an invitation letter (must be approved by Passport and Visa Service) for those intending to visit them.
2. Online Application Form
This form can be gotten from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs webpage. It must be filled appropriately, printed, and signed.
3.Prepare Relevant Documents
Papers requested by the Russian consulate depends on the type of visa you are applying for and your country of origin. For a comprehensive list of documents applicable to you, please contact the Russian Embassy or Russian visa center in the country where you reside.
4. Visit the Consulate
Armed with the necessary papers from step 3 above, apply at a Russian consulate or any authorized agency representing the Russian Federation in your home country. You are expected to pay specific fees for your application when you are there. You don’t need to book an appointment before you visit.
Post-visa collection processes
5. Obtain an Immigration Card
If your application is successful, you will receive your visa, granting you access to the Russian territory. Even so, there are still some things to do. You need to fill a form to get an immigration card at the passport control. Two copies of this card are made; the entry-port police keep one while you hold the other. It would be best if you kept it safe, and it will be returned to the police at the border when you depart the country.
This is the final step, you need to register your visa using your immigration card within seven working days of your arrival or risk deportation/detention. You can do this registration at the hotel where you stay, or if you stay with family/friends, your host can help with the registration. For individuals visiting for business purposes, the organization responsible for you is expected to handle your registration.
Papers Requested for Official Use
For the application process, the paperwork outlined below is the standard documents requested.
- Online Application Form: As stated earlier, the applicant must file a form with all the necessary information leaving no mandatory field empty.
- National Passport: Upon successful application, the visa presented will be affixed to the passport. Hence, your passport should have two clear pages and must be valid for 6 months.
- Photographs: You are required to provide a recent passport-sized photo(s) for identification. These photos should be colored, and the setting of the image should be straight (preferably light grey or light blue). The size of the image should be 35mm × 45mm. Note: the photos should not be stapled. They can be glued or taped.
- Letter of Invitation
- Booking Form: Includes travel itineraries, details about accommodations, places you’d be visiting, etc. When you contact a Russian consulate, the facts applicable to you and your purpose for a visit will be mentioned.
Complete the request process, and the applicant pays specific fees. The amount payable is dependent on several factors, such as:
- Your country of origin
- Purpose of visit
- Processing time
- The number of entries.
Covid-19 Travel Guidelines for Russia
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, travel to Russia is restricted. Only Citizens from certain regions are allowed to visit Russia. For detailed information on countries permitted to visit Russia and specific guidelines to follow, click here.
The use of face masks in public spaces and social distancing is still in practice.
Questions often Asked by Intending Travellers.
What can I do to extend my visit?
You can extend your stay if you hold a business, study visa, or any other visa that permits an extended stay in Russia if you apply for a Visa Extension at the appropriate office.
No Russian embassy in my country; what can I do?
In a situation there is no diplomatic representation in your country of residence, you should find out if the Russian government has channeled all its visa applications through another embassy in your country or a company that handles visa applications.
However, if this isn’t also available in your country, then you can send your application directly to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Can I apply when I arrive?
Russia does not offer this option.
How long is the visa valid?
A maximum validity period of three months (90 days) is offered. However, if you hold a long-stay visa, you can request a residence permit to extend your stay in Russia.