What you need for Russian tourist and business visas






While it might seem confusing and just a little bit scary, getting a visa to Russia is a piece of cake. I'm going to the basic steps for getting the most common Russian visas: the Russian tourist and  business visas.

The basics 
Whatever the case, you'll need to submit some documents. You'll need:

  • A passport valid for at least 6 months
  • A couple of passport-size pics 
  • A rape alarm (just kidding)
  • A completed visa application (see below for the links)
  • An invitation
The invitation is the part that usually scares people, but don't worry! If you don't have one, the visa agent you use can get one for you. The cost depends on how quickly you need processing and what visa category you are applying for.


Keep in mind!

Russian visas can be multi entry, duel entry or single entry exit – if it’s a multi entry-exit, it costs more and allows to you travel in and out of Russia an unlimited amount of times. Duel entry lets you leave and some back once and, unsurprisingly, single entry allows you one entry and one exit.

Which visa do you need?

If you want to visit Russia for any time under a month or are looking at a holiday, you’ll want a tourist visa.

If you want to visit for any time for up to three months (and you're not American), for more extensive travel or just more time to see the sights and a few cities – you’ll be wanting a 3 month business visa.

As a reminder, Americans can get tourist visas that last up to an obscene 3 years! 
For for info on this, give this post a read.

What documents you need
Tourist visa:

A valid invitation (sometimes called visa support). You can get your invitation from a travel agent you book your trip through or from one of the many companies that offer Russian visa services (I've listed some of the best below)

A passport valid for 6 months after your Russian visa expires and at least two free pages

Two passport-size photos

Completed relevant Russian visa form (you can get the from your travel agency (if you want full processing, but it costs extra) or from your nearest Russian consulate, see THIS list to find out where yours is.

For UK citizens, here’s a link to the application form : Russian visa form for UK citizens

For those in the US, here's a link to the form you need

Form for US citizens


Business visa:

A valid invitation (sometimes called visa support). You can get your invitation from your company or from one of the many companies that offer Russian visa services (I've listed some of the best below)

A passport valid for 6 months after your Russian visa expires and at least two free pages

Two passport-size photos

Completed relevant Russian visa form (you can get the from your travel agency (if you want full processing, but it costs extra) or your nearest Russian consulate, see this list to find out where yours is

A headed letter from your employer stating your purpose of visit to Russia (although maybe not applicable to all consulates) 
  

How to apply for the visa

If you apply via a travel agent and opted to pay for the visa processing -  you won’t have to do anything.

If not, mail or call your local consulate and check you have all the documents you need.
If outside the UK, post or visit your nearest Russian consulate and hand over your documents and various processing fees and consular fee (they vary depending on the consulate and the time you want the visa processed in)

If you’re in the UK  you can take the documents down to the nearest Russian visa processing centre yourself and save the cash of using a middlemen. that being said, if you don't have much experience with Russian visas and applications  the middlemen can help you fill in the forms and whatnot.


Recommended sites 


For Americans, this is supposed to be one of best visa sites:

Visa HQ

The official visa processing site is the US Invisa logistic services


If you're in the UK, the biggest visa middleman site is Real Russia


If you're in the UK and you want to subit direct to the excellent visa centre



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2 comments:

maxreview on July 16, 2012 at 7:57 AM said...

FYI - the American visa application process has also been outsourced. The form is completed here http://evisa.kdmid.ru/ and here is the site of the visa processing company http://ils-usa.com/

This is basically 100% different than it was a year ago, when a .pdf was used, and you could bring the application directly to the consulate.

Вообще, кошмар.

Also, the comment preview box isn't big enough to enter the Captcha info - I had to use IE and drag down to scroll down in the box, and it was impossible in Chrome. Keep writing though, good work!

Lt. Columbo on July 21, 2012 at 12:42 PM said...

thanks for pointing that out maxreview.
also, i know, my comment section is messed up, it's been annoying me for a long time lol

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