The majority of foreign citizens are required to obtain a visa for Russia in order to visit the country, although the type of visa required will depend on the nationality of the applicant, as well as the duration and purpose of the stay.
The Government-implemented Russian eVisa allows international tourists to visit specific Russian regions for a short stay. There are more than 50 eligible countries and the eVisa application process can be completed entirely online in minutes. This eliminates the need to visit a Russian embassy or consulate to submit the paperwork in person.
A Russia tourist visa is available for eligible passport holders wishing to enjoy a stay of up to 30 days for a holiday (or 90 days for US citizens only). The process currently involves completing an online form before submitting supporting documentation at a Russian Embassy or Consulate.
In order to visit the country, although the type of visa required will depend on the nationality of the applicant
However, the tourist visa is expected to be implemented as an Electronic Travel Authorization by 2021, which will only require travelers to complete a simple online application and eliminate the need to apply at a Russian Embassy.
For purposes other than tourism, there are a range of Russia visa types available. Eligible citizens passing through the country to an onward destination can apply for a Russia transit visa, those seeking employment can get a Russia work visa, while a Russia business visa is available for professionals traveling for commercial purposes. However, it is important to check the exemptions for each visa in the case that a different travel document is required.
Russia E-visa: the Online Visa for Russia
A Russia eVisa is an electronic travel authorization intended to simplify and streamline the visa application process and encourage international tourism. Eligible travelers can apply for a Russia eVisa from the comfort of their home, entirely online. The application form can be completed in minutes and the support documentation required to obtain a eVisa for Russia is reduced to a minimum.
All applicants will need in order to complete the online eVisa application for Russia is their passport, a recent photo, and relevant supporting documents such as proof of health insurance. Documents can be submitted at a later stage of the application.
Eligible foreigners can apply for a eVisa for the following purposes:
- Humanitarian reasons
- Sport relations
- Cultural relations
- Scientific-technical relations
The Russia eVisa is available to travelers wishing to visit 3 Russian regions. eVisa holders can enter these regions via air, water, and land entry points and can enjoy freedom of movement within the region they applied for for up to 8 days.
How to Apply for Different E-visa Types for Russia:
Transit Visa for Russia: Who Needs It and How to Obtain It
A Russia transit visa is a travel document that allows foreign citizens to enter the country on the way to an onward destination. It can be issued for up to 10 days, although the period of validity granted will be determined by Russian authorities, taking into account the date of departure to the onward destination.
To meet the Russia visa requirements for transit, it is necessary to present the following documentation at a Russian Embassy or Consulate:
- A valid passport from an eligible country
- A ticket for the onward travel
- A valid visa for the country of final destination, if applicable
- A completed Russia transit visa application form
- Three passport-style photographs
- Proof of medical insurance
The visa Russia transit is not required for citizens of Russian visa-exempt countries, while travelers who have citizenship in the onward destination are not required to supply visa evidence.
Passengers with a confirmed ticket for a flight to an onward destination within 24 hours of arrival in Russia are also exempt from a transit visa providing the traveler stays within the international transit area of the airport and has documents for their next destination.
What Is a Private Visa for Russia?
The private visa to Russia is available for eligible foreign citizens wishing to visit friends or relatives in the country, and may only be issued if the travelers receive an invitation from a permanent resident of Russia over the age of 18.
To apply for a Russian private visa, the inviting party must first supply the following documentation to the Main Investigative Department of the Ministry of the Interior of the Russian Federation:
- The Russian passport of the inviting party
- A copy of the passport of the foreign invitee
- Proof of income of the inviting party
- A receipt of payment of state duty
- A letter of guarantee in which the inviting party agrees to provide housing and medical assistance to the invitee if required, as well as to pay any deportation costs in the event that the foreign guest violates Russian law
If the initial application by the Russian citizen is successful, an official invitation is issued and sent to the foreign citizen via international express mail. The Russian private visa can be issued for periods of 30 up to 90 days and is available as either a single or double-entry visa.
Working in Russia with a Work Visa
The Russia work visa is available to eligible foreign citizens who have already secured a job with an employer in the Russian Federation. Most Russian work visas are issued for a period of 1 year, although qualified specialists may receive an initial work visa with a 3-year validity.
This type of Russia travel document allows the holder to enter and exit the country an unlimited number of times during the period of validity. it is also possible for the applicant to renew the work visa before the expiry date without leaving Russia.
To obtain a Russian visa for work purposes, the employer of the foreign citizen must first apply for a work invitation on their behalf from the Russian State Employment service.The applicant must then present the following documents at a Russian Embassy or Consulate:
- The applicant’s passport
- A copy of the work invitation
- A completed visa Russia work application form
- A passport-style photograph
- Proof of a valid medical Insurance policy
It should be noted that foreign citizens only have the right to be employed by the same company who applied for the Russia work visa on their behalf. If the visa holder wishes to work in another company in Russia, it is necessary to leave the country and complete another visa Russia work application.
Studying in Russia with a Student Visa
The Russia student visa allows a foreign citizen to live in the country and study at a Russian university, providing they have first received an invitation from an educational institution in Russia.
The Russia study visa has a total validity of 90 days, although a longer period of stay can be later be granted if the applicant obtains an invitation from the Federal Migration Service of the Russian Federation. To obtain the Russian student visa, it is necessary to present the following documentation at a Russian Embassy or Consulate:
- An eligible passport with at least 2 blank pages, valid for at least 6 months after leaving Russia
- A pre-filled Russia study visa application form
- A passport-sized (3.5 x 4.5 cm) photograph
- An HIV-negative status certificate
- The invitation from the educational institution. In the case of a short-term student visa, a temporary student card is sufficient evidence
it is important to note that before a Russia student visa invitation can be issued by an educational institution, the applicant must first sit entrance exams or have an interview with the university where they will potentially enroll, or be the winner of a Russian Academic Competition for International Applicants.
The Russia business visa allows professionals to travel to Russia for commercial purposes and conduct business for the purpose of receiving profit and paying taxes. It differs from the work visa in that it does not allow holders to work in Russia under a permanent contract, but rather is ideal for those who need to finalize a contract, attend a seminar or conference or make new business relationships in the country.
The validity of a Russian business visa can vary from 1 month up to a year
In general, the validity of a Russian business visa can vary from 1 month up to a year. EU citizens (except for Denmark and the UK) are able to obtain a visa Russia business with a validity of up to 5 years. However, the maximum stay in the country is up to 90 days within a 6-month period, for all citizens.
Russian business visas valid for between 1-3 months only allow a single or double entry to Russia, while those valid for more than six months allow unlimited entries to the country.
It is first necessary to obtain an invitation to be able to apply for the Russian business visa. This can be requested from the organization with which the applicant intends to do business, or from the Russian Federal Migration Service.
To obtain the business visa for Russia, the applicant must present the invitation alongside the same supporting documentation as the other visa Russia types, at a Russian Embassy or Consulate in their country of residence.
Professionals wishing to do business in Russia should know that the Russia eVisa also allows visitors to enter Russia for business purposes. It is quicker and easier to apply for and there’s no need to obtain an invitation or visit a Russian consulate or embassy. The Russian eVisa allows business people to travel to St Petersburg, Kaliningrad, and the Far East.