Russia Visa Types
Most non-Russian nationals need to submit a visa application when planning to visit Russia. The category of visa is determined by the applicant’s nationality, the duration of stay in Russia, and the purpose of the trip.
Foreigners wishing to visit Russia on short-term trips may apply for a region-specific eVisa, which has been introduced by the Russian Government. Over 50 nations are eligible for the Russia electronic visa, and it can be applied fully online in just a few minutes, without having to make an appointment at a Russian consulate or embassy.
Passport holders from eligible nations applying for a Russian Holiday Visa may travel in Russia for up to 30 days (US nationals are granted 90 days). At present, it is necessary to complete the Holiday Visa application form online and present all relevant documents at a Russian Consulate or Embassy.
Applicants of different nationalities require different visa types when visiting Russia. But it is expected that, as of 2021, traditional Tourist Visas will be applied for electronically by filling out an application form and submitting all documents online instead of via Russian consulates or embassies.
Besides tourism, there are other Russian visa categories for every travel purpose. Travelers stopping over in Russia on their way to a third destination may obtain a Transit Visa, Russian Work Visas are available for foreigners who seek employment, while foreigners visiting Russia for business purposes can apply for an official Business Visa. Visa exemptions are also available for eligible nations.
eVisa Russia: Online Russian Visa
Russian electronic travel authorizations (eVisas) are designed to boost the international tourism industry by facilitating visa application procedures. Travelers from eligible nations may submit an eVisa application fully online and from anywhere in the world. Completing the online form should take only a few minutes and the required documentation for an eVisa Russia is easy to gather.
For the eVisa online application to be submitted successfully, applicants will need to attach a recent photograph, a copy of their passport, as well as valid travel insurance. It is not necessary to submit all the documents at once.
Foreigners from one of the eligible countries may apply for an eVisa if traveling for:
- Humanitarian reasons
- Sport competitions
- Cultural events
- Scientific congresses and research
There are currently 3 regions enrolled in the Russian eVisa scheme. Eligible travelers may travel freely for up to 8 days within the region applied, provided they enter the territory via one of the official Russian sea, land, or air checkpoints.
Applying for different categories of Russian eVisas:
Russian Transit Visa
Transit Visas are authorizations granted to foreign travelers to enter Russia as a stopover for a final destination. Russian transit permits may be valid for up to 10 days, but authorities determine the validity of a transit visa according to the passenger’s programmed departure to the next destination.
Below is a list of the relevant Transit Visa documentation to be presented at a consulate or embassy of Russia:
- A passport from an eVisa eligible nation
- A return ticket to the country of origin or onward ticket to a third destination and its respective visa, if necessary
- A completed application form for a Russian transit visa
- Three passport-size photos
- A valid travel health insurance
Visa-exempt travelers don’t need to apply for a Russian Transit Visa, while those who bear a passport from the country they are traveling to needn’t be in possession of a visa.
Foreign travelers stopping over in Russia for less than 24 hours aren’t required to obtain an official Transit Visa, so long as they remain within the airport’s transit section and are in possession of all required documents to enter the final destination.
Russian Private Visas
Eligible travelers who wish to visit relatives of friends in Russia may apply for a Russian Private Visa. This type of visa is only issued when an invitation letter is issued by a Russian permanent resident above 18 years old.
Before submitting an application for a Private Visas for Russia, the inviting party is required to provide the Russian Federation Main Investigative Department of the Ministry of the Interior with the following documents:
- The Russian inviting party passport details
- A copy of the foreign visitor’s passport
- The inviter’s proof of income
- Proof of tax payments
- An official letter confirming that the inviting party shall provide accommodation to the invitee and, if required, cover the costs of medical assistance and deportation should the foreign traveler infringe the law
Once the Russian national has successfully applied for a travel invitation the document is processed and sent by mail to the foreign invitee. Russian Private Visas are either issued as single or double-entries and are often valid for a period between 30 to 90 days.
Russian Work Visa
Foreign nationals from eligible countries who have an offer of employment from a company in Russia may apply for a Work Visa. The majority of work permits for Russia have a validity of 1 year, with qualified employees often being able to obtain work visas for 3 years.
With a valid work visa, foreign employees may exit and enter the Russian Federation multiple times throughout the duration of their visa. Applicants may also request an extension of their Russian work permit before it expires without having to leave the country.
The Russian organization sponsoring the foreigner applicant should first request an invitation for a work visa from the State Employment Service. Then, the applicant has to gather the following documentation to be presented at a Russian Consulate or Embassy:
- Applicant’s valid passport
- An official invitation to work in the Russian Federation
- A filled-out Russian Work Visa application
- A recent passport-size photo
- A valid health insurance
It’s important to bear in mind that only the company which sponsored the Russian Work Visa application has the right to employ foreign invitee. Should the holder of a valid work permit wish to change employers, a new work visa application needs to be submitted.
Student Visa Russia
The Russian Study Visas grants foreign nationals who have been officially invited by a Russian institution, the opportunity to enroll in a university or short-term course.
Russian visas for study are usually valid for 90 days. However, applicants may request an extension from the Russian Federal Migration Service. Below is a list of the mandatory documentation that should be presented at a Russian Consulate or Embassy when applying for a Study Visa Russia:
- A passport from an eligible nation containing two clean pages and valid for at least 180 days after intended departure
- A filled-out application form for study in Russia
- A 3.5 x 4.5 (passport-style) photo
- An official medical HIV-negative certificate
- An invitation letter from a Russian institution or a student card when applying for a short-term Study Visa
Foreigners who wish to apply for a Russian Study Visa must ensure to take the necessary exams or undertake an interview with the Russian educational institution they wish to apply for prior to requesting a student invitation letter. Alternatively, they should win the Russian Academic Competition for International Applicants.
Russian Business Visa
Foreign professionals who wish to visit Russia to carry out business transactions and/or commercial deals should apply for an official Russian Business Visa. Unlike the Russian Work Permit, which grants its bearer the right to be hired by a company, a Business Visa allows foreign nationals to attend conferences and events, finalize transactions, and/or establish new business partnerships.
Russian Business Visas are valid from 1 month up to 1 year.
Most Russian Visas for business are valid for periods of 1 month to 1 year. Apart from the United Kingdom and Denmark passport-holders, EU nationals may obtain Business Visas for Russia that are valid for up to five years. Nonetheless, they cannot remain in the country for more than 90 days in every 180-day period.
A single and/or double-entry Russian Business Visa is usually valid for 1 to 3 months, whereas multiple-entry Business Visas have a validity of six months or more.
When applying for a Russian Business Visa, applicants should first obtain an official invitation. Invitations are usually provided by the Russian company or the Federal Migration Service of Russia.
Applicants should then make an appointment at an Embassy or Consulate of Russia in their own country, bringing the letter of invitation together with all relevant documentation needed to apply for a business visa category.
Foreign nationals intending to travel to Russia for business may also apply for a Russian eVisa when going on business trips to the country. Russian electronic visas are faster and simpler to obtain and don’t require applicants to request invitations or visit an embassy or consulate. Online visas for Russia are available for business travelers to visit St Petersburg, the Far East, and Kaliningrad.