Russian Travel Visas – Paperwork and Process Guides

Russia is a unique and popular tourist destination, full of beautiful architecture and rich history. With a range of destinations and landscapes which cover it’s huge expanse, there is something for everyone; whether you’re looking for a short city break, a longer adventure across Siberia or just stopping off at a few locations on a cruise.

Most citizenships will require a Russian tourist visa to enter the country. If you’re on a cruise, you may require your own visa to disembark the ship, dependant on where you are docking and for how long for. It’s important to have your full itinerary ready, along with the details of where you plan to visit once you’re in the country in order to plan ahead.

There are a range of documents required in order to apply for your tourist visa, which must be done and successfully issued before you travel. These include a tourist invitation and a confirmation of your accommodation booking once you are in Russia.

To find out more about the visa types available and which best suits your needs, check out our range of articles below. If you still need assistance with your documentation, or figuring out what you need, our team of visa specialists can help. Use our live chat function or one of the methods on our Contact Us page.

Russia Visas FAQs

  • You are able to stay with friends or family in Russia, however they must provide a letter inviting you to stay with them, which contains the information about themselves as a host and your reason for the visit. If you place an order with us to check your visa application documentation, we will provide templates to suit your personal requirements along with a guide on how to complete them.
  • You are only generally able to extend a Russian tourist visa in exceptional circumstances, including a medical emergency, missing your flight or other unavoidable travel issues. You will need to provide evidence in order to apply for an extension which is usually only granted for a maximum of 2 weeks, dependant on your situation.
  • Usually, you will have to attend the Russian Visa Centre personally to make the application. This is because Russia is one of the destinations where biometrics are taken as part of your visa processing. This involves a photograph being taken as well as your fingerprints. It is possible for someone to check your documents and complete the application online on your behalf, but you must personally attend in order for the visa to be issued. There are some exceptions to this rule if the individual is a child or over a certain age.
  • The main classes of visa available for Russia are: Tourist Visa Business Visa Visitor’s Visa (Private Visa) Student Visa Transit Visa Cruise Passenger (often arranged as part of your cruise package) There are several visit allowances available for most visa types also, so if you’re planning to visit Russia more than one within a certain timeframe, you can save yourself time and money by applying for a visa which will allow you more than one entry into the country. Be aware than the length of stay allowed per visit is usually still limited and this allowance can depend on your citizenship, so always check the specifics.
  • If you are planning on visiting Russia, you must be invited to do so by someone inside the country. Who is allowed to issue this invitation differs dependant on the type of visa you’re applying for as well as where you are planning on staying when you arrive. If you’re a tourist staying in a hotel, the hotel itself can issue the document you require. If you are a business traveller, the Russian-based company you are visiting can provide the paperwork for you. If the purpose of your trip is visiting family or friends, they can also formally invite you as a visa sponsor. They must obtain the necessary forms at their local UVIR office, but be aware that this option can often involve a lengthy wait.

  • A Russian visa is applied directly to your passport when you present it at the Visa Centre.

  • Not necessarily. Even if you attend your appointment at the Visa Centre and an official checks and accepts your documents, there is still a chance that your application could be rejected. The Visa Centre’s role is to simply collect the paperwork and check that it meets their requirements for the application. The decision on whether or not to issue your visa is made by the Consulate once they have reviewed your information.

  • No, for Russian visas you must provide proof of your accommodation and travel plans when you reach the country. This must be in the form of a confirmed hotel booking, therefore you must have this ready for your application. It’s important to leave yourself enough time in making your plans to apply for your visa and have it issued, especially at peak times when the Visa Centre may be busy.