Statistics on issued visas to Russia in the 2006 according to the MFA

Statistics on issued visas to Russia in the 2006 according to the MFA

Вue to the situation with COVID-19, you must make an appointment at the following phone number before going to the State Traffic Safety Inspectorate: +7 (495) 485-13-98

Entering the territory of the Russian Federation by own car

1) When entering Russia by own car, it is necessary to present the following documents at the border control:

a) passport with visa (if visa is necessary);

b) medical insurance;

c) international driving licence;

d) vehicle registration certificate;

e) Green Card insurance;

f) authorization letter to drive a car with mandatory permit to travel abroad / vehicle registration certificate (if you are not the car owner);

2) The following documents are issued in the diplomatic customs office:

a) temporary import of a car for the period of the visa validity,

b) filling in the migration card.

3) The entire specified procedure should be repeated at each exit-entry.

4) A foreign JINR employee registered in the State Protocol Department (SPD) of the MFA cannot change national car licence plates to Russian ones.

Import of a Customs Union car

1) If a car is imported for less than a year (until 31 December of the current year), then according to the Customs Code of the Eurasian Economic Union and the Decision of the Council of the Eurasian Economic Commission “About particular issues related to the goods for personal use”, transport means from Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan can be imported without paying customs duties and recycling charges. They do not need to be registered in the STSI (State Traffic Safety Inspectorate). If a car is imported for a longer period, you should issue a temporary registration.

The purchase and sale of a foreign vehicle are illegal, and a guilty foreign citizen will be liable under part II of article 16.24 of the Administrative Violations Code of Russia (illegal operations with temporarily imported vehicles). As penalties, there are administrative fines as well as confiscation of the object of the violation as an additional measure. The buyer will not be able to use the purchased car, will have the right neither to prolong the period of temporary import of the car nor to register it in the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority.

2) Vehicles (except for those temporarily imported into the customs territory of the Eurasian Economic Union for more than a year) are subject to state registration in registration divisions.

3) The recycling charge

This charge should be paid only if the car is imported in Russia for more than a year. If there is not a mark of payment of the recycling charge in the vehicle title, then it will be impossible to register a car in the STSI. When importing a car by a private person for personal use, the charge is 3,400 rubles (as of June 2020).

Registration/prolongation of temporary import

Information for the JINR staff:

After entering the Russian territory by own car and issuing a necessary declaration at the border, a staff member* fills in an application form in Dubna to the diplomatic custom office for a temporary import of a vehicle (link to the document) and sends the filled document in the electronic format to the JINR International Cooperation Department (currently the contact person is an ICD leading specialist Anatoly E. Vasiliev, The ICD prepares two applications on a blue blank form signed and sealed by the JINR Director (or a Vice-Director). After receiving the prepared application in the ICD from A. E. Vasiliev (6, Joliot-Curie str., room 12, telephone: +7 (496) 216-51-59), an employee should visit the diplomatic customs office by own car located in Moscow at the address: 16, General Belov, str., bld.4. It is necessary to have all the documents listed in the application as attached to it.

Working hours of the customs office “Diplomatic”:

Monday – Thursday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM; Friday: 9:00 AM – 4:45 PM. Saturday, Sunday – days off.

Vehicle use

1) Temporarily imported transport means for personal use should only be located in the territory of the Customs Union in the actual possession and use of the declarant. Moreover, it is possible to delegate control to another foreign citizen indicated in the insurance certificate.

2) Without the permission of the customs office and the customs declaration, it is possible to pass a vehicle to another person for maintenance, repairs (except for major repairs, modernization) and/or storage.

3) Technical inspection of a car is carried out in an ordinary mode.

Purchase of a car by a foreign citizen

The process of buying a car by a foreign citizen does not differ in any way from that by a Russian citizen. The buyer and the seller sign a standard car sale and purchase agreement.

The only important difference is when filling in the buyer field. As far as the buyer has not got a passport of a Russian citizen, it is necessary to specify in the agreement the data of the existing identity document (a foreign travel passport or a foreign civil passport). Moreover, you should specify in the agreement information about the buyer’s place of registration in the territory of the Russian Federation (in the JINR case: Moscow region, Dubna, 6, Joliot-Curie str.).

A JINR employee can get Russian car licence plates, red diplomatic plates for the purchased car (those registered in the SPD MFA) or national plates. In the latter case, it is necessary to get temporary licence plates and enter the native country to register the car there.

If the car is then registered in the RF territory, the agreement should be issued in Russian. The data about a foreign citizen should be specified according to the identity document (not necessarily in Russian letters).

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About registration of the car in Russia

Documents necessary for a foreign citizen to register his car:

  • Application.
  • Passport of a foreign citizen. You can provide another document instead of the passport which can be considered as an identity one. We should note that there are various agreements with various countries. So, the lists of identity documents differ.
  • Document confirming registration at the residence place or the place of stay. Employees of the diplomatic missions, consular bodies, international (interstate) organizations, honorary consuls accredited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation who are not citizens of Russia should also provide diplomatic or consular cards issued by the MFA of Russia (MFA card for JINR employees).
  • Authorization letter in case the owner’s representative applies to the STSI.
  • Vehicle title.
  • Vehicle registration certificate.
  • Car purchase and sale agreement.
  • OSAGO (compulsory third party car insurance) insurance certificate (the original certificate is provided by the driver at will but the insurance should be issued anyway).
  • Car licence plates (state registration plates) if issued.
  • Receipt of state duty payment for registration (terminal or bank one. Theoretically, you can pay via e-wallets and e-banks as well, but an inspector will have to check your payment through the MIA Financial Department, and if the payment has not been received yet, he can refuse to register a car).

After all the necessary documents are collected, a foreign citizen should apply to the STSI to register his car. It is possible to apply to any registration division in the territory of Russia.

Limitation of the registration period of a car

Please note that cars owned by foreign citizens are registered in the STSI for a limited period (paragraph 35 of registration rules):

  • For the period of stay in Russia: only if there is a notification of the arrival of a foreign citizen in the place of stay.
  • For the period of registration: only if the car owner is recognized refugee or has received temporary asylum.
  • For the period of registration of the car owner: in case of temporary asylum (temporary residence permit or an MFA card for the JINR staff) or permanent residence (residence permit) in the Russian Federation.

If the period indicated above is expiring, then a foreign citizen should first prolong his own registration in Russia. After that, he should once again apply to the STSI to register his car for a new period. In this case, it is necessary to pass the registration procedure once again. However, the second inspection of a car is not required (paragraph 88 of the registration regulations). So if the period of stay/residence is expiring, it is better to prolong it first and then buy and register a car.

The procedure of getting red (diplomatic) car license plates for imported vehicles

A JINR employee registered in the State Protocol Department (SPD) of the MFA who has agreed the import of his car in the Diplomatic customs office can get diplomatic (red) licence plates for it.

1) To do it, an employee should go to the Department of Services for Foreign Citizens of DIA STSI (State Traffic Safety Inspectorate) in the Moscow Northern Administrative Okrug (20, Lobnenskaya str., 3rd floor) by own car. Please, bring the following with you:

a) document issued by the diplomatic customs office about opening the import of the personal vehicle;

b) OSAGO insurance certificate valid for at least a year (can be issued in Ingosstrakh);

c) a JINR employee card issued in the SPD; d) 2,500 rubles (500 rubles for service charges; 2,000 rubles for the car license plate)*;

e) Before the visit, it is necessary to call the Department and inform about the visit as far as there may be no red license plates available at the time of the visit. Ph.: 8 (495) 218-41-06.

2) The service charges in the Department (500 rubles) may be paid on the 1st floor after all necessary document processing on the 3rd floor is done.

3) Then, it is necessary to go to Vagonoremontnaya str. First, visit 27, Vagonoremontnaya str. and return the possessed licence plate (clean). Do not forget necessary equipment to remove it. You will be given there a certificate of registration of the vehicle (CRV). Bring it to 26, Vagonoremontnaya str. (entrance on the left side of the building) to get the red plate. The charge is 2,000 rubles* as mentioned above.

* – As of June 2020.

Tuesday-Friday from 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM (break from 2:00 to 3:00 PM); Saturday from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM without breaks.

Please, pay attention that the procedure takes about 1 hour.

Advantages of diplomatic car plates:

  • you can cross the RF border out of turn,
  • it is simpler to pass the customs inspection at the border,
  • there are no limits for luggage transported across the border up to 20 kg per person.

A car with red license plates can only be driven by its owner or a family member who has an MFA card.

The tax on cars:

In case a foreign citizen has not got INN (usually it is actually the case), the transport tax should not be paid. If a foreign citizen has a residence permit and, subsequently, INN, then the tax should be paid according to the established rule, as for all citizens of the Russian Federation.


When buying a car from official dealers, you should specify that you are an employee of an international organization. And if you are going to get diplomatic car plates, you can get a discount and a VAT-free purchase which is 13 % (BMW and Volkswagen dealer have practised it previously). To do this, you should make a written commitment to register a car with diplomatic plates.

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Information for staff members from Poland

(possibly for other EU countries as well)

It is advantageous for Polish employees to suspend Polish registration of a car and replace Polish insurance with red plates.

In case a car is registered in Poland, you should change red plates to Polish ones when leaving Russia after the end of the contract.

It is possible to cancel the registration of a car in Poland and pay only for OSAGO in Russia but you will need the Green Card bought in Russia to go to Europe, and this is quite expensive. In this case, when leaving Russia after the completion of the contract, it is possible to leave with red car plates and return them to Russia after registration of a vehicle in Poland and getting there new car plates. You can either change them to temporary ones before leaving Russia and enter Poland. However, you will have to buy the Green Card insurance in Russia in this case.

It is possible that the same may apply to the staff from other EU countries.

Russian visa for American citizens

Do Americans need a visa to visit Russia? The answer is yes, due to the existence of a visa regime between the USA and the Russian Federation.

A requirement for any type of a Russian visa (tourist, business, working and others) for a citizen of the USA is an invitation. Our company provides official issuing of invitations and assistance in visa support for citizens of the USA. Below we describe in detail how to get a Russian visa if you are a citizen of the USA.

How to get a Russian visa if you are a citizen of the USA

Step 1. Determine what type of visa you will need for your trip.

1.1. Tourist visa to Russia for Americans:

  • the purpose of your trip is to visit the Russian Federation as a tourist;
  • the actual stay on the territory of the Russian Federation will not exceed 30 days.

1.2. Business visa to Russia for Americans:

  • the purpose of your trip is business or commercial;
  • you need a visa for a long stay from 1 month to 1 year;
  • you need a multiple entry visa.

1.3. Work visa to Russia for Americans:

  • if you plan to officially work in the territory of the Russian Federation.

1.4. Private visa to Russia for Americans:

  • to visit relatives;
  • if you are planning to live in a private apartment or a house;
  • if you are planning to enter the country once and stay for up to 3 months.

Step 2. Get an invitation.

To do this, you must fill out a form and send it along with a copy of the passport of the American citizen.

The cost of tourist invitations for citizens of the USA

Tourist voucher and invitation to Russia Time Cost
For citizens of countries with low immigration risk

Get a tourist invitation

The cost of business invitations for citizens of the USA

Single or Double entry
1 month 17-20 business days 8-9 business days
3 months 17-20 business days 8-9 business days
Multiple entry
6 months 17-20 business days 13-14 business days
1 year 17-20 business days 13-14 business days

Business visa application

Step 3. Prepare the documents.

Standard package includes:

  • passport;
  • invitation;
  • application form;
  • photo;
  • insurance.

With these documents, you have to apply to one of the consular offices of the Russian Federation in the USA:

  • Consular department of the Russian Embassy in the USA, Washington DC
    address: 2641 Tunlaw Road, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20007,
    tel.: (202) 939-8907, 939-8913, (working days 9:00 – 12:00; 14:00 – 17:30).
    opening hours: Monday – Friday 09:00 – 13:00; 14:00 – 18:00 (with the exception of the Russian state holidays);
  • Consulate General of the Russian Federation in New-York
    address: 9 East 91 Street, New York, NY 10128,
    tel.: (212) 534-3782, (212) 348-0750.
    opening hours: Monday-Thursday 9:00 – 13:00; 14:00 – 18:00, Friday 9:00 – 13:00; 14:00 – 17:00;
  • Consulate General of the Russian Federation in Houston
    address: 1333 West Loop South, Ste.1300, Houston, TX 77027,
    tel.: +1(713) 213-84-84.
    opening hours: Monday-Friday 9:00 – 12:30; 14:30 – 18:00.

Foreign citizens do not have to apply directly to the consular office, instead they can use the services of one of the visa centres, which are open to improve the quality of service for the citizens of the USA, other states and stateless persons who wish to receive a visa to the Russian Federation. Detailed information on applying for a visa through the Visa Application Centre is available at

In the consulate, you will be offered a choice of several rates for a visa:

  • regular (issuing time 4-20 business days);
  • urgent (1-3 business days).

A visa fee Russia will range from 90 to 540 USD, depending on the selected tariff. More accurate information on tariffs can be found on the official website of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in the USA.

Step 4. Register upon arrival on the territory of the Russian Federation.

Remember, that registration is compulsory if your stay is longer than 7 working days, excluding the day of entry. Registration should be done at the place of the actual residence of the guest. If you or your guests, citizens of the USA, have any difficulties in this matter, Travelmart is ready to assist in solving the issue of migration registration.

Visa to Russia

According to the Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation №635-R of March 16, 2020 for the purpose of ensuring state security, protecting public health and non-proliferation of a new coronavirus infection entry to the territory of the Russian Federation is restricted until further notice.

Tap the link for more information.

A foreign national or stateless person needs a visa to enter the Russian Federation, except for citizens of the states with which the Russian Federation concluded an agreement on visa free travel .

To apply for and obtain a visa to enter the Russian Federation it is necessary to

1) Contact a consular office of the Russian Federation at the location of your habitual residence;

2) Review the list of the documents necessary to apply for a visa and the amount of the consular fee;

3) Submit the documents necessary to apply for a visa:

2. A filled-out visa application form.

3. Two 3.5 x 4.5 cm photographs.

4. Proof of payment of the consular fee.

5. Documents depending on the purpose of the visit and the visa category:

5.1.for business and humanitarian visas (a single or double entry visa for up to 3 months or a multiple entry visa for up to one year):

· an original invitation letter registered with a branch of the Federal Migration Service of the Russian Federation or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation or a decision of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

5.2.for tourist visas (a single or double entry visa for up to 30 days)

· a tourism services agreement

· a confirmation of reception of the foreign tourist by the tour operator company

Note : a hotel booking confirmation cannot serve as the ground for issuing a visa

5.3.for private visas (a single or double entry visa for up to three months):

· an original invitation letter registered with a branch of the Federal Migration Service of the Russian Federation

5.4.for a student visa:

· an original invitation letter registered with a branch of the Federal Migration Service of the Russian Federation

· a negative HIV certificate (valid for 3 months)

Note : when applying for a student visa make sure that your passport is valid for at least one and a half years

5.5.for work visas:

· an original invitation letter registered with a branch of the Federal Migration Service of the Russian Federation

· a negative HIV certificate (valid for 3 months)

Note : when applying for a work visa make sure that your passport is valid for at least one and a half years

5.6.for transit visas (for not more than 3 days for foreign nationals traveling by air through the territory of the Russian Federation to the country of destination):

· a valid transport ticket for departure from the Russian Federation

· a visa to enter the country adjacent to the Russian Federation on the route or a visa of the country of destination or a passport issued by such country

Note : a foreign national travelling by a non-stop air flight over the territory of the Russian Federation does not need a transit visa

More detailed information on the requirements to the documents necessary for issue of a visa can be found on the website of the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.

4) Get a receipt showing the date of the visa readiness after the respective documents have been accepted.

5) Obtain the visa; please provide the receipt to obtain your visa.

6) Upon obtaining the visa, check if the details are filled in correctly, including the name, date, passport number, date of birth, etc. and, if necessary, promptly return the visa to make the respective amendments.

Regardless of the number of entries of the visa, the total period of stay of a foreign national in the Russian Federation may not exceed 90 days per each period of 180 days (except for holders of work and student visas).

The consulate reserves the right to refuse to grant a visa on serious grounds.

If the visa is refused, the fee paid will not be refunded.

What is a Russian visa invitation letter?

Those who have set their mind to make a journey to Russia might encounter certain difficulties while applying for visa. While for most of the countries booking a hotel and a return ticket will do perfectly, processing of Russian visa (unless it’s a transit visa) you should get a Russian visa invitation letter – a special visa support document. Usually such document can be granted through the entity or the person who is dealing with your visa invitation process. It may be a tourist company, an educational establishment, an employing company, your friend or family member who lives there. Then you may proceed with the visa support paperwork in the nearest Embassy/Consulate of Russia. You can easily do it by yourself or pay some extra money to a local travel agent which will do it for you. Be c areful because operators may confine the travelers to a fixed route or fetch the term of their visa based on the duration of stay at the particular hotel/accommodation.

It is mandatory to remember that the terms and Russian visa type you are about to obtain should be followed at all times. Starting from the moment when you enter the territory of the Russian Federation, you will neither be able to amend your visa status (e.g. from personal one to study, from tourist one to work, etc.), nor prolong your visa period (unless you encounter unforeseen circumstances). To transfer or upgrade visa, a visitor shall exit the Russian Federation and proceed with another visa application process.

The categories of those who can invite visitors to Russia are as follows:

nationals above the age of 18 residing in Russia

citizens above the age 18 who hold other countries’ nationality but are permanent residents in Russia.

entities which are officially authorized and registered by the Federal Migration Services on the territory of Russia;

travel bureaus which have their special reference number and are registered in the Unified Register of Tour Operators of the Russian Federation.

The listed documents can alter depending on why you want to visit the state. Usually, invitations are divided into such types, as personal, tourist, business, work or study invitations.

How to get a tourist visa invitation letter to Russia

Getting a tourist visa invitation letter is the most widespread and the simplest mode of acquiring an invitation, which leads to receiving a tourist visa to Russia. The tourist visa invitation letter may also be called a tourist voucher. As a rule, the tourist visa invitation consists of two papers. Those papers are: the approval for admitting an overseas visitor and the actual voucher. All the paperwork is to be filed with regards to what the legislation of Russian Federation and the Consulate requires.

A tourist visa invitation, which includes two papers mentioned above, should be presented on the letterhead of a travel agent. It is the mandatory condition for the document to be considered as valid. Here is an examplet:

title, reference number and official info of a tourist agent

foreign citizen’s passport details, date of birth, citizenship, and gender

aim of journey (tourism)

number of entries and validity term specified in the invitational documents

information regarding the travel route of the tourist

accommodation location in Russia (name and address of residence)

the signature of the travel agent’s chief or manager and its corporate seal

Tourist visa invitation letter to a foreign visitor implies tourist purposes and is valid at most for 30 days of staying in the territory of Russian Federation. Except the actual tourism, you may visit the country for matters of healthcare or attending entertainment and sports activities. A tourist invitation letter is presented in the form of single- and double-entry versions. Single-entry invitation allows you to visit this country once and then leave its territory when the validity term of invitation is over. Double-entry option of invitation gives you an opportunity of arriving and leaving Russia twice during the term of the invitation validity.

Business visa invitation letter to Russia

You can get business visa in the Consulate of Russia in the specific country. As mentioned in the official rules, a foreign visitor willing to travel to Russia is supposed to apply for the business visa in his/her country of residence. In any event, business visa invitation letter is certainly required to apply and get business visa. The whole process has to be performed in conformance with the Russian legislation standards and procedures. Also, you must be prepared to pay all necessary extra fees in the Russian Consulate upon the process of submitting the papers needed for a business visa. After the accepting party in Russia provides you with the business visa invitation letter, Consulate’s officials stamps Business Visa to Russia on the pages of travel document.

Below are 3 ways in which you can get a business visa invitation:

  1. By Telex channel;
  2. through the letter from an organization;
  3. on the FMS (Federal Migration Service) form;

Speaking of the business visa invitation letter, let us move to the FMS form as it is the most important way of obtaining a visa. The whole procedure of applying for the business visa invitation letter for a certain overseas visitor starts with filling up the application form. Having the business invitation on the FMS form, an applicant can check the legitimacy of the invitation, using automatized database of FMS of Russia. Normally you can issue a business visa invitation to Russia on the FMS form for 30/90 days. One can choose between single, double or multiple entries for a period of 180/365 days. Today, foreigners can easily obtain a multiple visa to Russian Federation even if they had never had any visas before.

Electronic business invitation letter with FMS barcode. With the advent of new technologies, the electronic mail services became one of the most popular ways of processing business invitation letters. With a simplicity and reliability of electronic letter containing FMS barcode, the whole process of visa support is much easier for foreign nationals visiting Russia for purposes of business. The application process for receiving the business invitation letter with FMS barcode has no difference from the one for a paper invitation letter. Nonetheless, obtaining a final electronic letter gives an opportunity to file an electronic version of invitation to the Consulate. In this way, it helps not to waste your time and money you spend sending paper version of the invitation letter to a foreigner. Electronic FMS looks much more attractive with its cost and convenience of issuing, in comparison with Telex.

Telex is visa support letter forwarded through the Telex channel by the MFA (Ministry of For eign Affairs) of Russia to a specific Russian Consulate based on the petition sent to the MFA of Russia by the authorized territorial or federal body.

Russian Business Visa – Brief information:

30 – 90 days (up to 5 years)

Getting a private visa invitation letter to Russia

A private invitation letter for visa can be filed only by residents who have reached the age of 18 and are permanently registered on the territory of Russia. Such citizen also has to confirm his or her material basis in order, to be able to provide the invited foreign person with placement in event of unexpected circumstances. They will be in charge of the deportation of the invited person in case when a foreigner breaks the migration laws of Russia.

In case of a private visa invitation letter, the required support paper can also be provided by the company which invites a foreigner to Russian Federation on its behalf, by means of a private visa. It’s a common practice, all the purposes of visits are listed in the legislative documents of the Russian Federation. For such matters, legal entities must be registered with the FMS of Russian Federation.

The private visa invitation letter can also be issued, when a foreigner desires to come to Russia on a personal visit and doesn’t have an opportunity to be invited by the Russian resident. Therefore, tourist agencies offer certain services – obtaining a private visa on their behalf or through another company.

Russian private (homestay) visa – Brief information:

Number of entries:

Single- or double-entry

Work visa invitation letter to Russia

Companies which hire overseas specialists in Russia, according to the jurisdiction of the Russian Federation, are obliged to issue all necessary documents to make the employee’s stay on its territory legal (working visa). They have to obtain the company’s permit – ‘Permission for employment of overseas workers’, as well as ‘employment permit’ issued to such employee.

A work visa invitation letter shall be obtained by the employing company through the FMS office. Work visa invitation serves as grounds for issuing a work visa. This type of visa is valid for 3 months. On arrival to Russia it is essential for the overseas worker to show up at the immigration office and register there within the term of 7 (seven) working days. The employer is supposed to deal with the process of visa prolongation. The contract of employment regulates the duration of stay of the overseas worker (cannot be more than 365 days).

Russian Work Visa – Brief information:

Study visa invitation letter to Russia

A study visa invitation letter can be obtained in case if a foreign national student has entered the Higher Educational institution in the Russian Federation through submitting a valid proof, such as the outcome of exams or an interview. The establishment shall assign a representative to submit a necessary set of paperwork at the Federal Migration Services. From the beginning a foreign student is supposed to come to Russia on any other visa (tourist or personal one) in order to pass all exams or interviews which are necessary to enroll to the educational establishment and only then shall they acquire a study visa.

The validity of the study visa invitation letter is 90 (ninety) days. Within these 90 days a foreign national student must visit Russia for the relevant accepting establishment to extend the visa duration for the first full year of studies.

• Not all institutions accept the copies of invitation letters. Kindly double-check with the entity or the individual handling your visa invitation process about the same, so that you could avoid any unexpected issues or delays. Such updates can be obtained from the nearest Consulate / Embassy of the Russian Federation in the country where you are residing.

• Take into consideration that an invitation letter provided by a private party (such as your colleagues or acquaintances) does not compulsory serve as a sufficiently valid supporting paper. You can’t always use it for the Russian visa application. An authorised travel bureau or other company empowered by the MFA of Russia can solely provide such invitation.

Countries, which have visa-free relationship with
the Russian Federation

Countries, which have not visa-free relationship

1. Страны НЕ ВХОДЯЩИЕ в список стран миграционного риска: (стандартный тариф)


Countries, which have not visa-free relationship


An invitation letter is a base of getting a visa to the Russian Federation

  • An invitation letter is a base of getting a visa to the Russian Federation, or to arrive without a visa (in legal cases).

A visa is an obligatory document, which must be registered by each foreign citizen who arrives to the Russian Federation territory.

A process of getting a visa to Russia. Invitation letters for foreign citizens.

Types of visa to Russia.

There are several types of visa to Russia, depending on the quantity of arrivals and the aims of foreign citizen’s arrival.According to the quantity of arrivals a visa can be: 1. Single 2. Double 3. Multiple (it means unlimited arrivals during one year) According to the aims of arrival a visa can be of: 1. A business type 2. A touristic type 3. A studying type 4. A private type 5. A work type

How to choose the right type of visa?

A person who is interested in getting a Russian visa should give an invitation letter, which includes detailed or even full information about him. One can receive a full consultation on necessary information for an invitation letter in Russian consulates or in the special agencies and also with the help of the special web-resources.The most suitable option for those, who want to stay in Russia for no longer than 30 days, is to register touristic visa. To get such kind of visa it’s necessary to register an invitation letter of a touristic voucher from Russian side. Then a person can get visa in the Russian consulate without any problem.One should register a visa during 3 working days after arrival to the Russian Federation. A registration is an obligatory procedure for everyone who arrives to Russia. It’s necessary to have an identification document(ID) and a migration card stamped by the Border Control Agency.

Visa registration (Arrival recognition)

The Russian visa has to be registered during 7 work days after arrival. The registration of Russian visa is an obligation of foreign citizen arrived to Russia. To register the International passport and the migration card with all the stamps of customs controlling the incoming process is required.

A process of a registration touristic voucher and touristic visa to Russia.

As it was already mentioned, the basis of getting tour visa is the tour voucher, what is actually the invitation. A touristic visa is required in case of tourism, visiting culture or health institutions, enjoying entertaining and sport events. Usually it gives no special case for formalizing touristic visa to Russia, so visa supporting centers can formalize that identification document very fast. It is much easier to get the invitation or tour voucher and takes several hours. That visa allows to cross Russian border one or two times, so it could be formalized as double. Some cases show that it is really necessary to visit the Russian Federation twice, for example special treatment at Russian Health Institutions, so double-entry visa to Russia is very convenient, as it helps to avoid the double formalization process including the same documents and the same invitation. If the double-entry visa is required, it has to be mentioned in the invitation. The necessity of double-entry is better to be mentioned in the invitation to ease the further operations for consulate workers. It is possible to formalize the invitation or visa to Russia even via tour agency’s website. To do so it’s necessary to fill in the worksheet and to cooperate with the visa center on the documents transfer. The touristic visa is made based on the copy of touristic invitation by almost all Russian consulates. So if your purposes match the tour visa, this is the best solution. The tour visa’s registration process is much easier than of business visa and also even less expensive. The easiest way to get the permission to visit Russia on the short-term and urgent basis is to get the tour invitation and then tour visa to Russia.

Business visa to Russia. Formalization of business invitation.

If you are planning to do business including your participation within Russian territory you will have another requirement comparing to the tour visa. The business invitation is the first obligatory document to get business visa to Russia. A business visa to Russia is of a limited period, which is required for business purposes. That period and other relevant details of business trip has to be mentioned in the invitation. There are 3 types of business visa: Single is the best solution for the short-term single visit with business purpose. Double visa is applicable for double visit including 90-days residence. Multiple visa is the most comfortable for frequent trips. The limit of residence is 3 month of the each half of the year. To apply it is necessary to address Russian consulate having the formalized business invitation. Special visa support centers can offer help in getting business invitation, most of them operate online. To get the invitation and then visa to Russia it is necessary to fill-in the special worksheet and to attach the colored passport copy. The formalization of visa online is possible for all types mentioned: single, double or multiple. The period depends on the aim of visit, type of visa and the information relevancy.

Formalization periods for invitations

Usually it takes from 2 to 22 working days for visa support center to proceed the invitation and then issue visa. As it was mentioned, it is necessary to get the basic document to issue visa. That basis is the invitation –a visa designation sent by telex or by post in the original form. The invitation is issued in FMS or MIA. The invitation sent by telex saves much more time during the visa registration process in comparison to the invitation sent in the original form. Due to this the costs of that invitation are higher. It takes from 5 to 7 days using speed-up and 12 days with standard procedure to get single or double-entry visa. It takes at least two weeks from the application to receive an invitation for multiple visa, although some cases allow to formalize business visa much faster. Mostly it depends on the operations of the applied agency. The invitation can be formalized on the special official paper, that has several protection levels. This type you can receive in FMS. Today the electronic version is also applicable. Having the official invitation paper or its electronic version you may easily apply to the nearest consulate of Russia.

A work visa and Russian work permit.

A foreign citizen has to formalize work visa to work in Russia on the legal basis. The inviting company is responsible to formalize the invitation. The company has to prepare the full set of documents to get Russian visa. The first step in formalizing of the invitation is the application that confirms the purpose of working time spending in Russia. Then the next stage – getting working permission to each specialist begins. Formalizing working permission is a basis to apply for an invitation. The validity period for the invitation is no longer than 90 days. The purpose to be mentioned is strictly – “journey-work”. Further is the full list f documents needed to formalize Russian working visa at the Russian consulate: The original invitation paper (the residence period is no longer than 90 days, the purpose – “jurney work”) Working permission with the photo, passport details, the validity period and the inviting company details Visa blank Insurance Set of photos After the arrival to Russia the worker has to prolong the visa. In this case the prolongation period equals to the period mentioned in the working permission. The multiple-entry visa for one year would be stamped in the international passport. Even though the procedure described above looks very simple, practically people get lots of difficulties while proceeding. The change in the documents’ formalization process, correcting the operating procedure and operating queues slow down the process of getting the invitation. The inexperienced person faces lots of problems while proceeding the invitation issuance, so the services of visa centers got more popular. These centers help to formalize the invitation and visa to Russia. They get permission documents for individuals and companies willing to invite foreign specialists very fast. Visa support centers offer their help to formalize invitations and vorking visa to Russia for specialists from any place of origin.

Student Visa

There are other types of visa apart from business, working and tour existing – the student’s visa among them. A student’s visa is issued to the foreign citizen willing to study or for the short-term education program in Russia. The basic document is the invitation, that has to be issued by the inviting institution. The institution has to be registered at the state registry of Russia. Normally the validity period for student’s visa is 90 days. If the education period is longer, then it can be prolonged up to one year with the correspondence to the agreement. The responsible agency to prolong visa is MIA referred to the place of registration.

Transit visa.

The transit visa is required for the foreigners who have to cross Russian border during their trip. It proves the legal border-cross. The other case where the transit visa is necessary is the evacuation of the foreign citizen stayed according to non-visa regulation from Russian territory. The validity period is 10 days. If the foreign citizen uses the aircraft the validity period of the transit visa is no longer than 3 days. If the flight with no stops the visa registration is not required. In case of driving the car the transit visa validity is for the shortest itinerary. The base is the tickets confirming the itinerary crossing the border. Te valid transit visa for other country can also be a documental proof.

Humanitarian visa.

Visa to Russia The purpose to get visa can also be humanitarian. Such visa is called humanitarian visa. The visa is issued while having humanitarian purpose or for charity, religion or creative actions. A person who is maintaining contacts in religion, sports and culture can also get the invitation and humanitarian visa. The visa is based on the invitation in Russian consulate, referred to the place of citizen’s residence. The humanitarian visa can be of 3 types depending on how many times a person would like to enter the country. It could be single, double (up to 90 days) and multiple. The multiple visa is valid till 1 year. The whole period of residence within Russian territory cannot be longer than 180 days. As it was already mentioned, the basic document to issue the visa is the invitation. However, there is the exception supported by the law. A visa can also be issued based on the personal application form, supported by the permission to issue the visa from the head of the diplomatic institution of Russia.

Types of Russian Visa and Invitations

Types of Russian Visas and Invitations

There are 6 main types of Russian visas: a tourist visa, a business visa, a student visa, a personal visa, a work visa, a transit visa – each type corresponds to the purpose of your visit. However, many people come for a short business trip with tourist visas, and many people come to visit their friends with business visas. So, when choosing the type visa, the only consideration should be your convenience in terms of price of the visa, its speed of processing, the period of stay this visa allows and the number of entries the visa allows. Especially, as Russian officials seem not to care about which visa you finally take, what matters is how much you pay. However, when filling in an application form in the field “purpose of your trip” you should specify the purpose corresponding to the type of your visa . If you apply for a tourist visa, specify “tourism”, if you apply for a business visa, specify “business meetings” or “seminars”, if you apply for a private visa, specify “visiting friends”. (according to Fed. Law # 114-FZ , Ch.4, A.26 – see above).

The invitation (also called visa support) is a special document issued by the party that invites you to Russia. The invitation is required by a Russian consulate to be able to process your visa. For every type of visa, there exists a different type of invitation (tourist, business, work, private, student).

Need a Russian Visa? Order online, no reservation ties, ready in 24 hours:

Russian Tourist Visa

This type of visa is issued for the travelers who come to Russia for tourism purposes. This visa is easiest to get and the least expensive of all visas, so it’s ideal for tourists. A tourist Russian visa is single-entry or double-entry only and can be valid for the period up to 30 days. If you are a US citizen, you can get a tourist visa to Russia valid for 3 years, and you can stay every 90 out of every 180 days on that type of visa. It usually takes the Russian consulate from 1 to 10 days to issue this type of visa and will cost from $50 US to $150 US, depending on the time of processing.

The price of a tourist invitation is usually $25 to $40 US, and it takes 1 hour to 1 day to issue it. It is usually sent to the applicant by fax, by e-mail (scanned copy), or by post (if the Russian consulate requires originals).

And your reservation confirmation will look something like this:

Also, be sure to fill in the visa application form after you received your invitation, and specify there the same data as in the invitation: the name of the inviting travel agency, the purpose of the trip – tourism, the visa dates, the cities to visit.

If you got a tourist invitation but write that the purpose of your trip is to visit friends, you will be refused a visa, because you need a different type of visa to visit friends (private).

Where can one get a tourist invitation?

Basically, the tourist visa support issued by travel agencies is the same tourist voucher and reservation confirmation, meaning that technically you have a reservation at a hotel. Practically, you don’t have to stay in that hotel and may stay where you want. Of course you have better chance of getting a visa if you show the consulate that you’re going to stick to your “original plans” and if the information you provide in the visa application form is consistent with the information provided in your visa support (especially, the purpose of your trip – tourism, the place of stay – hotel, etc.).

Most consulates accept copies of the tourist invitation. So you can receive it by fax or e-mail (scanned copy) and bring it to the consulate. There are some consulates that may require originals. For the latest list of those “problematic” consulates, see our Russian Visa Insider’s Page.

After you come to Russia, you need to register your visa in 72 hours (see Registration section). If you stay in a hotel, it must register your tourist visa for the whole period of your stay (according to Decree #212 – 26 Apr ’91), the hotel registration costs about $0.5 (16R). If you stay in an apartment or with your friends, the landlord (the owner of the apartment) should fill out a special landlord letter and submit it to immigration authorities via the post. Read more about it on our Russian visa blog.

You can apply for a tourist invitation online through our website and we’ll refer your request to our partner travel agency. This agency has a reference number in the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and offices in Moscow and St. Petersburg, so you can have your visa registred easily when you arrive. The tourist visa support costs $30 US (taxes included, no additional services required) and is ready in 1 working day. If you’re interested, please just fill out our Russian Visa Support application form.

Need a Russian Visa? Order online, no reservation ties, ready in 24 hours:

Russian Business Visa

This type of visa is supposed to be issued for the people, who come to Russia for business purposes. But because this type of visa allows long stays, multiple entries etc., it is also used by ordinary travelers, who need more flexibility.

A way around the 90 days staying rule is to get 3-month business visas and to do a visa run every 3 months to a country outside of Russia where you can get a new visa. You should be aware that Russian consulates in most countries only give visas to the people who have a permit of residence in the country the consulate is located. So, say, if you are a US citizen and go on a visa run to Estonia, you might not get a visa there unless you have a residence permit in there. However, all EU citizens have the right to live in any EU country, so if you are from UK, then you can go anywhere in Baltics to renew your visa.

Another option is to get an official working visa (you’ll need to find an employer who has a quota for foreign workforce). You may also find a language school or a university and try to get a long visa through them.

MFA Russia

Consular department

Processing of an e-visa

E-visa application

ATTENTION. In accordance with clause 5 of the order of the Government of the Russian Federation dated March 16, 2020 No. 635-r, the processing and issuance of visas of all categories to foreign citizens has been temporarily suspended in order to ensure state security, protect public health and prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Добро пожаловать на специальный веб-сайт Консульского департамента Министерства иностранных дел Российской Федерации

Welcome to the specialized website of the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation for obtaining e-visas.

Please read the following information carefully before completing the unified electronic visa (e-visa) application form.

Characteristics of the unified e-visa and conditions for its issuance
  1. Only citizens of the following foreign countries , the list of which is approved by the Government of the Russian Federation, are eligible for the unified e-visa.
  2. The unified e-visa is valid for the entry into and exit from the Russian Federation only through the following state border crossing points of the Russian Federation, the list of which is approved by the Government of the Russian Federation.
  3. E-visa applicants are not required to submit an invitation letter, hotel booking confirmation or any other document confirming the purpose of their travel to the Russian Federation.
  4. The unified e-visa entitles you to enter the Russian Federation and stay in the Russian Federation for private or business visit, tourism, as well as for participating in scientific, cultural, socio-political, economic, sporting events and carrying out relevant communications and contacts. If the purpose of your trip to the Russian Federation is none of the above, you have to apply to a diplomatic mission or consular post of the Russian Federation for a regular (not electronic) visa.
  5. Foreign citizens arriving in the Russian Federation on the basis of a unified e-visa have the right to freedom of movement within the entire territory of the Russian Federation, except for visits to territories, organizations and facilities to which a special permit is required in accordance with federal laws.

The unified e-visa is a single entry visa. The validity period of a unified electronic visa is 60 days from the date of issue. The permitted period of stay in the Russian Federation on the basis of a unified e-visa within its validity period shall not exceed 16 days from the date of entry.

ATTENTION! The permitted period of stay in the Russian Federation on the basis of a unified e-visa of up to 16 days DOES NOT IMPLY the possibility of staying for 384 hours net time (24 hours x 16). The day of arrival and the day of departure are counted as two days. We recommend using the visa calculator to calculate the permitted period of stay.

  • The period of validity of an electronic visa and/or the permitted period of stay may be extended only in cases where it is impossible to leave the territory of the Russian Federation due to the need of emergency treatment or unsurmountable circumstances (force majeure) or natural disasters.
  • Extension of the e-visa and (or) the permitted period of stay is carried out by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation or its territorial bodies at the place of migration registration of a foreign citizen at the place of stay, and if there is no migration registration at the place of stay – at the place of actual stay by way of issuing an ordinary (not electronic) visa.
  • If you have a valid Russian visa in your passport, you do not need to apply for a unified e-visa. You can visit the Russian Federation with a regular visa within its validity period without the restrictions established for the unified e-visa. The validity of a regular visa cannot be extended by obtaining an e-visa.
  • In order to apply for a unified e-visa, it is necessary to submit an application from your personal account on the specialized website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia or through the Russian Foreign Ministry mobile application. The application can be submitted no earlier than 40 days and no later than 4 days before the expected date of entry into the Russian Federation.
  • Before completing the unified e-visa application, you will need to give your consent to the automated processing, transmission and storage of the data in your application for the purposes of issuing a unified e-visa.
  • A fee is charged for processing an application for a unified e-visa. Payment can be made on the specialized website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia or through the Russian Foreign Ministry mobile application using Internet acquiring technology with bank cards of international payment systems (Visa, MasterCard, etc.) over Internet. Children under the age of six are exempt from the processing fee.
  • Applications for a unified e-visa will be processed in no more than 4 calendar days from the date of submission of the application. The date and time of the submission of the application shall be the date and time of sending the completed application for processing. In the case referred to in point 14, the date and time of the submission of the application shall be the date and time of sending the amended application for reprocessing. It takes no longer than 4 calendar days from the date of submission of the application for a unified e-visa for it to be processed. The date and time of sending the completed application for processing is considered the date and time of its submission. In the case referred to in point 14, the date and time of sending the amended application for reprocessing will be considered the date and time of its submission.
  • The processing of applications and the issuance of unified e-visas are carried out by diplomatic missions or consular posts of the Russian Federation as designated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. If the processing of the application reveals that any of the information stated therein is incorrect, it will be no longer processed and be returned to you for editing with the fields to be corrected being indicated and comments. An application shall be returned for editing no later than two calendar days from the date of submission of the application. Use your personal account to correct the application and submit it for reprocessing. Processing of the application shall only be resumed after the amended application has been submitted for reprocessing.
  • Indication of date, month and year of birth is mandatory when filling out the application form. If your full date of birth is not specified in your passport, the unified e-visa application cannot be accepted for processing.
  • Your passport must be machine-readable and issued by your country of nationality. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months from the date of submitting the application for a unified e-visa. If your passport does not meet these requirements, the e-visa application cannot be accepted for processing. There must be sufficient space in your passport for border crossing stamps.
  • If you are travelling with minor children indicated in your passport, a separate application for a unified e-visa must be submitted for each child. All minor children travelling with their parents must have a separate e-visa.
  • The information you provide in your application must be complete and accurate. Any incorrect information may lead to the revocation of the already issued visa at the border crossing point of the Russian Federation or in the territory of the Russian Federation.
  • Foreign citizens staying in the Russian Federation on the basis of unified e-visas are required to have a medical insurance valid in the territory of the Russian Federation for the entire duration of their stay, with the exception of citizens of the following foreign countries who are exempt from this requirement on the basis of reciprocity.
  • A unified e-visa may be refused in cases established by the legislation of the Russian Federation.
  • Applying for a unified e-visa
    • The submission of applications and further actions are only available to the authorized users from their personal account on this website or in the MFA mobile application. Please create your personal account if you have not already done so.
    • Make sure you have the following:
      • Web browser with JavaScript or the Russian Foreign Ministry mobile application installed on your device. Our website currently supports the following browsers: Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge. We cannot guarantee the correct functioning of our site in other browsers.
      • Software for PDF files viewing and printing. Adobe Acrobat Reader is recommended.
      • Your valid national passport that you intend to use when crossing the state border of the Russian Federation.
      • Digital photo of your passport data in JPEG format.
      • Digital photo of your face in JPEG format that meets the requirements .
        • The photo must be no more than six months old as of the date of the application and reflect your current appearance. The photo must show you alone. No foreign objects (chair back, pictures on the walls, etc.) or other people must be visible in the photo.
        • The photo must be taken in full-face view. The head must not be tilted or turned. You must look directly at the camera with a neutral expression, your mouth closed, eyes open and clearly visible. No hair across your eyes.
        • The photo must be taken with uniform lighting and not show shadows, flash reflections on your face and no red eyes.
        • The photo must be taken with a plain light-colored background with no shadows.
        • Applicants whose religious beliefs prohibit them to be seen with their heads uncovered are allowed to wear a head covering that does not conceal facial features in the photo. In this case, please make sure that your face is clearly visible from the bottom of the chin to the top of the forehead.
        • If you wear glasses, your eyes must be clearly visible in the photo. Flash reflection off the lenses, as well as tinted lenses are not allowed (if possible, avoid heavy frames – wear lighter framed glasses, if you have them). Make sure that the frames do not cover your eyes (even partly).
        • The photo must show the top of your head and the top of your shoulders. Your head must be in the center of the photo and be fully shown from the top of the hairline or the crown of the head to the tip of the chin. The nose must be on the symmetry line. The face must take up 70-80 percent of the photo.
        • The photo must have no frames.
        • The photo must be rectangular (with the 35×45 aspect ratio).
        • The color scheme must be neutral. The colors must show the natural skin tone. The image must be clear, well defined and in focus.
      • Bank card for paying the visa fee.
    • You can track the status of your application in your personal account on this website or in the MFA mobile application.

      ATTENTION! The status of your application may be as follows:

      • “Draft” (means that the application has been partially completed or has not yet been sent for processing).
      • “Awaiting payment” (means that the payment of the consular fee has not been made or has not yet gone through).
      • “Accepted for processing” (means that the application is being processed).
      • “Returned for editing” (means that incorrect information was found during the processing of the application. You need to make corrections and then resubmit the application for processing).
      • “Processing completed” (decision on the application has been made).
    • Only applications for which a consular fee has been paid will be accepted for processing. Children under the age of six by the date of the submission of the application are exempt from the consular fee.
    • All applications which have been accepted for processing will undergo a validation process to check if the information in the application is correct. If your application is correct, its status will change to “Accepted for processing”. If incorrect data is found, the status will change to “Returned for editing”. You will need to edit the application in accordance with the comments to the fields with the incorrect information and submit the application for reprocessing. Please note that the date and time of the submission of the application will be the date and time you submitted the application for reprocessing.
    • Once a decision on your application has been made, its status will change to “Processing completed” and you will be able to download a PDF file with the result of its processing. Automatic messages concerning the progress and outcome of the application with detailed instructions on how to proceed will be sent to your personal e-mail address provided when creating your personal account.
    • In case of a positive decision regarding the issuance of a unified e-visa, be sure to print the notification with your e-visa or, if you do not have a printer, save it on your mobile device so that you can present it visually. You will need to show the notification to the representatives of a transport company when boarding the vehicle and to the border officers when passing passport control at the border crossing point of the Russian Federation.
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