Since foreign citizens are required to obtain a Russian visa in order to enter the Russian Federation, visa invitation is required to apply for a Russian visa. Exceptions exist for citizens from countries with which the Russian Federation has established a visa-free entry agreement.
Russian visa is a document in your passport, permitting stay in Russia for a certain period of time. A visa shows entry & exit dates, your travel information, passport details and sometimes has a photo stapled to it. It is issued by Russian Embassies or/and Russian Consulates.
The required document for obtaining Russian visa is a Russian Visa Invitation Letter (or simply Invitation for Russian Visa). The invitation might be issued by a Russian organization which has a special reference-number and accreditation in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs .
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Types of Russian Visa Invitations
The type of Russian Visa Invitation that you require depends on the length of your planned stay in Russia and the purpose of your visit. Whether you plan to leave the country and return during the period that your visa is valid is also a factor in choosing the type of visa to apply for. Below you will find explanations of the conditions and requirements of the main types of Invitations for Russian visa, and how to apply for them.
- Tourist Visa Invitation
A tourist invitation for Russian Tourist Visa is the easiest and cheapest type of Russian visa to get. It is a single entry visa invitation valid for the specified duration of your stay in Russia, up to 30 days. Visa support documents for Tourist Visas (Tourist Confirmation and Tourist Voucher) are accepted by most Russian Consular Departments as faxed or scanned copies. However, for some nationalities and some departments the original invitation is required. You should specify the info in the nearest Russian Consulate or Embassy.If tourist visa invitation is what you need, start by choosing your citizenship in our Get Russian Visa support online form
- Private Visa Invitation
A Private Visa Invitation for private visa valid for up to 90 days. It is for those who wish to visit family or friends in Russia. Private Visa Invitation can be obtained in Russia by private individuals, and are not normally available through agencies.The official invitation for a Private Visa is issued through the Russian Foreign Ministry or its regional representatives. Migration Service. The original invitation is required to apply for a Private Visa.
- Business Visa Invitation
Business Visa Invitation for Business or commercial visa valid for 90 days, six months, or one year and give you the right to do business in Russia, but not to take up full-time employment. Business visas can be single, double or multi-entry. However, travelers on a Russian Business It is possible to stay in Russia for no more than 90 days out of each six month period. This means that those wishing to work full-time in Russia will have to ensure that their employers are licensed to provide them with a work visa.In most cases, you will need to present the original invitation to apply for a Russian Business Visa. Sometimes, the invitation must be telexed to the consular department where you are applying. You should specify the info in the nearest Russian Consulate or Embassy.
- Transit Visa
Transit Visa is issued to those who travel through the Russian Federation to a farther destination. If you are on a transit flight, will be spending less than 24 hours in Russia, and do not intend to leave the airport transit area, then you will not need a Russian Visa for your trip. In all other circumstances, you will need to apply for a Russian Transit Visa, normally valid for up to three days if you are travelling by air or ten days if you are travelling by train.
Visa-free travel to Russia
The countries the citizens of which can travel to Russia without visas are divided into four groups with different requirements and different limitations on length of stay. Even if you do not need a visa to enter Russia, you will certainly need a passport valid for at least six months after the date of your proposed exit from Russia, and you may require other official documents. Also bear in mind that, even if you don’t require a visa to enter Russia, you will still need to register with the Federal Migration Service upon arrival.
- Group 1
Citizens of the countries of the CIS (the Commonwealth of Independent States) are permitted to stay in the Russian Federation for up to 90 days without a visa.Countries: Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine.
- Group 2
Citizens of these countries are allowed to stay in the Russian Federation without a visa for up to 90 days in each 180-day period, provided they will not be involved in any commercial or work-related activities during their stay.Countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Israel, Nicaragua, Peru, Venezuela.
- Group 3
Citizens of the countries in this group can stay in the Russian Federation for up to 30 days without a visa. They are not entitled to work while in Russia.Countries: Cuba, Montenegro, Serbia (with biometric passport), Thailand, Hong Kong (up to 14 days).
- Group 4
Citizens of these Balkan countries can also stay in Russia without a visa for up to 30 days, but must also show tourist documents (Tourist Confirnmation & Tourist Voucher) or an Official Inviattion to immigration officials.Countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia.It is already possible to travel to St. Petersburg for up to 72 hours without a visa on cruise ships (on the condition that you are sleeping on the ship and are accompanied by an authorized tour guide) and on ferries from Stockholm, Helsinki and Tallinn.
Upon entering the Russian Federation, you must complete a migration card. If applicable, visitors will be required to indicate their visa information on the migration card. Upon arriving at your destination in the Russian Federation, the migration card should be presented to the host party (hotel, private accommodation owner, etc.) who is responsible for registering the spectator in the migration record.
Notice of the foreign citizen’s arrival in the Russian Federation must be submitted to the local agency of the Federal Migration Service within seven working days after arrival. This procedure should be carried out by the Host Party (hotel, private accommodation owner etc.).
All foreign travelers staying in the Russian Federation must be registered with the Federal Migration Service in the city or region where they are staying within seven days of their arrival.
If you are travelling on a tourist visa and staying in a hotel, the registration process is normally completed by reception staff on the first day of your stay, and all that you will need to do is provide them with your passport and migration card The same should be true if you are renting an apartment through an agency. If you are traveling on a business visa, the company inviting you is responsible for registering you, while if you have a private visa, then the Russian citizen who invited you will need to register you. Registration can be completed by them at local branches of the Federal Migration Service or any post office, and again they will need your passport and migration card to complete the process.
If, for whatever reason, your accommodation provider is unwilling to register you (despite their legal obligation) there are always agencies in large cities that will register you for a fee.