Russian Visa Requirements
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FAQI. General Information
II. While at Consulate
III. Entering Russia
IV. While in Russia
I. General Information
What is a Russian visa?
Do I need a visa?
Most foreign nationals are required to have entry visas to travel to the Russian Federation. Citizens of former CIS Republics, except Georgia and Turkmenistan, may enter Russia with their national passports.
What is the difference between a tourist visa and a business one? Can I travel on a private trip and individually with a tourist visa?
First of all a tourist visa is valid for no longer than two weeks while a business visa can be valid up to 12 months. Another distinction is in the invitation processing. All the invitations for business visas are processed through the Ministry of Internal Affairs. As for the tourist invitations, they are prepared by MFA accredited tour agency same or next business day depending on the urgency and sent you by fax or e-mail.
Can I process an invitation for a private visa through a travel agency?
Unfortunately you can’t. Travel agencies can provide you only with a tourist or business invitation.
If I am flying to another country through Moscow do I need a transit visa?
Should I provide the travel agency with the exact travel dates in my application form for a tourist invitation or can I give you rough dates within the same month?
A tourist visa can be valid for no longer than 1 month. So you can mention rough travel dates within a month. You can then enter and leave Russia within this month.
How long is a tourist visa valid?
A tourist visa is most often valid for up to two weeks.
II. While at Consulate
How do I locate the nearest Russian consulate?
For all data about the Russian Consulates, including location, addresses, telephones and e-mails please visit www.russianembassy.net or www.rusembassy.org
What documents should I bring to the Russian Consulate in order to apply for my visa? Is it possible to send these documents by regular mail as I live far from the Russian Consulate in San Francisco?
In order to obtain your Russian visa, you should bring your invitation letter, your passport, 3 mat finish photos 3x4 cm, consular fee and a proof of medical insurance to the Russian Consulate. For multiple entry visas, you also require an AIDS Test certificate (test results issued within the previous 3 months) It is always a good idea to get in touch with the Russian consulate in order to receive the latest update on the required documents.
If you have no opportunity to go to the Russian Consulate/Embassy yourself, you can generally send there your visa documents by mail. You will get your visa by mail from the consulate when it is ready.
I am a foreign national currently staying in the United States. Can I apply for a visa in the USA or do I have to do it in my home country?
Citizens of Germany, Latin America and Asian countries should get their visas in the Russian Consulates on the territory of their native countries. However, if you reside in the US and a have residence permit, work permit, GreenCard, etc. you may apply at the Russian Consulate there as well.
III. Entering Russia
Will I need an HIV test to enter Russia?
When planning to stay in Russia for over 90 days make sure to obtain an HIV test certificate. You may be asked to display it to medical officer at a Russian border checkpoint. Such certificate is not necessary when traveling for a lesser period of time.
Can I travel with my pet?
When traveling with your pet, you’re required to obtain an international health certificate from a local certified veterinary doctor.
Will I need a medical insurance?
It is advisable to have medical insurance coverage valid in Russia. Check your medical plan and request such coverage if you do not have it. On the basis of reciprocity, citizens of Estonia, Israel, Finland, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain are required to have mandatory medical insurance.
I need to take medical drugs with me…
Medical drugs can be brought to Russia in quantities sufficient for personal consumption during your stay.
I am going on a hunting tour and would like to take my sport-gun with me. Is this possible?
Travelers carrying sport-guns or shotguns in their luggage must receive special permits through their Russian agents to take them in and out of the country.
I am a journalist and will need my video camera in Russia.
Foreign travelers can bring to Russia their photo and video cameras, binoculars, laptop computers, etc. tax free if these are to be taken out of the country upon departure. Just mention them in your customs declaration or ask a customs officer.
How much alcohol can I take to Russia tax free?
Travelers over 16 years of age can take to Russia tobacco products (1000 cigarettes or equivalent), wines & liquors (2 liters) tax free.
How much money can I take with me?
There is no limitation on the amount of foreign currency to be taken to Russia. Just mention in your customs declaration all your currency over $500 and other valuables, including objects of art, which you take into the country. Keep declaration to present it to a customs officer upon departure.
Are traveler cheques accepted in Russia?
We advise to take credit cards and cash instead of traveler’s cheques. The latter are mostly accepted only in the banks of major cities.
I am on a multiple visa and I am leaving Russia for a visit to my country. Should I make any copies of documents, etc?
If you are traveling on a double or multiple entry visas, prepare a copy of your visa before departure from Russia – a copy of your visa will be asked of you by the passport control officer. Please make sure to have enough copies of Arrival/Departure card as well.
IV. While in Russia
Where can I register my visa?
If you are staying at a hotel, the hotel will register your visa. If at a private place your visa sponsor should register your visa.
Is it possible to stay at my friends’ place and not at a hotel? And how will I register my tourist visa in this case?
When traveling on a tourist visa, you can stay at your friends’ place as well as at a hotel. In case of your staying with your friends you should register your visa with your visa sponsor.
Do I need to register my visa if I intend to stay in Russia for no longer than 7 days?
If you are going to stay in Russia less than 7 days there is no need to register your visa.
How long will it take me to register my tourist visa? Is it necessary to leave my documents in your office for some time?
It takes about three working days to get your tourist visa registered. In order to process the registration of your tourist visa you need to submit your passport, your visa and the your exact address in Russia. You will need to leave your documents (originals) at the office of the inviting company for registration.
How long does registration of a multiple entry visa at the UVIR office take? What documents do I need for this registration?
Generally it takes no less than 5 business days to register a multiple entry visa at the UVIR. You should bring your passport, your visa and a notarized letter from the landlord to your visa sponsor. You will need to leave your documents (originals) at the office of the inviting company for registration.
I am in Moscow now and I’d like to stay here for one more week. Can I extend my tourist visa? For how long?
Generally the Russian visas cannot be extended. It can be prolonged in case of:
Missing your flight
What if my visa was lost or stolen in Moscow?
In that unfortunate case, you need a new exit visa. First of all you must contact a local police precinct and make a request for an official document confirming that your visa was stolen. Then you should come to your visa sponsor and bring this document, your passport, 2 matt finished photos and your return ticket or confirmation of booking for your return ticket. Only your visa sponsor can process an exit visa for you.
Can I extend my one-year multiple entry Russian visa without leaving Russia?
Please take a note that multiple-entry visas are not extended. In order to stay in Russia for more you will need a new visa. You may apply for a new invitation for a visa while your visa is still valid. When your invitation letter is ready, you should leave Russia before your old visa expires and get a new one in any Russian Consulate abroad. Only the citizens of the countries listed below should get their visas in their native countries.
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