Let us explore the possible options for visas to Russia.
In Russia, applying for a visa is an essential requirement for any foreigner wishing to enter the country. Regardless of whether foreign national wishes to enter Russia for a holiday or short-term visitor they intend to live and work in Russia for an extended period, all visitors wishing to visit or immigrate to Russia for any length of time must apply for a visa to do so.
In Russia, visa applications must undergo a two-step process; firstly, visa support documentation must be obtained, after which the Russian visas themselves may be applied for.
Russian visa support is essentially an invitation to visit the country. Depending on the type of visa for Russia being pursued, this invitation will come from different sources.
For holiday makers a 'Tourist Voucher' must be obtained. For a private visit the documentation will need to be obtained from the relevant Russian family or friends, whilst for a business visitor, the invitation must come from the Russian company in question.
Visa Support is an essential component of the application process in Russia; it is not possible to successfully apply for a Russian visa without the appropriate visa support documentation.
On behalf of our clients, Global Visas can obtain a tourist voucher in one day and can also arrange invitations for business visas. Our team of specialist immigration lawyers and migration consultants can manage and monitor your visa application at every stage of the process and can help to ensure that you embark upon the most appropriate immigration service for you.
Whether you require a short-term travel visa or a longer-term work permit, we can guide you through the process from beginning to end.
Types of Visa for Russia
Russian Tourist Visa
Russian Tourist visas may be issued for single or double entry and are designed for people who wish to visit the country for a short period of time for the purposes of tourism.
As discussed, applications for Russian tourist visas require tourist vouchers to be obtained first. In addition, it will also be necessary to obtain 'tourist confirmation' from an authorised Russian travel agency.
In Russia, visas of this kind are valid for no more than 30 days, they do not permit their holder to engage in any employment in the country, and successful applicants must return to their country of residence on or before the expiry of the document.
Russian Private Visa
Russian private visas are intended for those who wish to temporarily relocate to Russia in order to visit family and friends.
In these circumstances, an official invitation must be obtained by the friends or relatives who the candidate will be staying with. They will need to apply to the Ministry of the Interior (MI) of the Russian Federation in order to obtain an official invitation.
Russian Business Visa
Russian business visas can be granted as a single or double-entry permit valid for up to 30 or 90 days. Multiple entry variants with a maximum duration of one year are also available.
Once more, when applying for this immigration route to Russia, visa support documentation is required before an application can be made. In this case, an invitation must be obtained from a Russian company. This must be provided as a hard copy or sent via telex to the nominated Russian consulate as part of the application.
Global Visas can attend to this. In Russia, business visas are valid for a range of business-based activities including attending meetings, negotiations, or conferences.
However, holders of this type of permit are not allowed to engage in any kind of employment whilst in the country.
In cases where applicants wish to apply for a one-year multiple entry business permits, it may be necessary to provide an HIV certificate.
Processing Times and Fees
Although Russian immigration visa services are subject to change, at present applications for short stay visas can normally be completed in seven working days.
In addition, the same day service is also available. However, it should be noted that immigration law is frequently subject to change and the time taken to process an application may also be affected by the nationality of the applicant. Similarly, fees may also change at short notice.
The following documents should be submitted in order to obtain a visa according to its category:
1. Completed visa application signed by the Applicant only. Incomplete visa application forms shall not be processed.
All questions in the application form should be answered. If a question is not applicable to the applicant, he should put “N/A”.
Each application form must be signed by the visa applicant personally.
2. Valid national passport (original only and it should have at least two clear visa pages). It must be valid no less than six months after the visa expiration date. Holders of travel documents such as Permit to Re-Enter the United States of America, Travel Document, etc. must submit valid Permanent Resident Card (an original and a copy).
3. One picture of an applicant. Russian visa photo specifications.
4. Money Order or Certified Bank Check made out to the Russian Consulate for visa processing. Please note that they do not accept cash, credit or debit cards, personal or company checks.
5. Invitation to Russia from a host person or organisation.
When applying for a Russian visa
• In order to expedite and improve visa obtaining process as well as for security concerns the Consular Division is no more processing visa applications by mail, starting from June 1, 2010.
• Applicants who used to be citizens of the USSR or the Russian Federation and emigrated from the USSR or from Russia must submit one of the documents which confirms that they are no longer citizens of the Russian Federation (so called "Visa to Israel" or stamp in their passport saying that they left for "permanent residence abroad" before February 06 1992 or official document certifying that their Russian citizenship was renounced), otherwise the applications will not be accepted.
• In accordance with Russian laws citizens of the Russian Federation regardless of any other citizenship they may have, must travel to Russia on valid Russian documents only.
• Visa processing starts only after the Consular Division has collected all necessary documents.
• Visa processing fee is not refundable.
• Type of visa or dates of entry/departure can not be changed or extended. If your travel plans have changed after the visa issuance you have to reapply for a new visa.
• After you received your visa, please check all the data indicated in it.
• Any visa applicant may be interviewed by the consular officer, if necessary.
• Processing time, requirements and fees are subject to change without notice.
• In certain cases, the Consular Division is entitled to consider visa applications as long as it necessary. Visa can be denied if the Consular Division has serious reasons to believe that an applicant's entry into or stay in the territory of the Russian Federation will not be desirable.
• Please be advised that person can not have two valid visas in one passport. In this case, the first visa is to be cancelled.
INFORMATION FOR EU PASSPORT HOLDERS
On the 1st of June, 2007 the Russia-EU Visa Facilitation Agreement came into force and according to its provisions visa processing fees are changed for the citizens of the following countries:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Hungary, Greece, Spain, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Germany, Finland, France, Czech Republic, Sweden, Switzerland, Estonia.
Citizens of these countries should submit national medical insurance certificate valid for Russia or guarantee of medical coverage from a Russian hosting organisation for all period of stay. Medical insurance certificate should contain Russian contact phone number for emergency or assistance.
However, these provisions are not valid for the countries which did not sign the Agreement: the United Kingdom, Ireland, Denmark, Iceland and Norway.
Holders of diplomatic passports of the countries mentioned above do not need a visa to enter Russia for 90 days.