Visas in Russia

Types of Visas

For most travellers a tourist visa (single- or double-entry, valid for a maximum of 30 days) will be sufficient. If you plan to stay longer than a month, you can apply for a business visa or – if you are a US citizen – a three-year multi-entry visa.

Tourist Visas

These are the most straightforward Russian visas available, but they are also the most inflexible. They allow a stay of up to 30 days in the country, with one or two entries within that time period. It is not possible to extend a tourist visa.

Russian Tourist Visa

  1. Your original passport with at least 2 blank visa-designated pages (passport must be valid for at least 6 months after intended departure date from Russia).
  2. Two copies of Russian visa application form, completed and signed.
  3. ONE passport-size photo signed on the back.
  4. If Tour Group or Cruise Passenger: Letter from tour company or cruise line confirming itinerary and including a copy of the confirmation from authorized Russian travel company which shows the reference number and confirmation number for the visa.
  5. If Individual Travel: Confirmation of hotel arrangements from authorized Russian travel company, or directly from the Russian hotel, showing reference number and confirmation number for the visa.

Note that Russian consulates also reserve the right to see your return ticket or some other proof of onward travel, but this is rarely requested.

Business Visas

Available for three months, six months or one year (or three years in the US), and as single entry, double entry or multiple entry visas, business visas are valid for up to 90 days of travel within any 180-day period. You don’t actually need to be on business to apply for these visas. In fact, they’re great for independent tourists with longer travel itineraries and flexible schedules. But you must have a letter of invitation from a registered Russian company or organization and a covering letter stating the purpose of your trip. Some applicants are also asked to provide proof of sufficient funds to cover their visit.

Russian Business Single, Double and Multiple-Entry Visa

    Your original passport with at least 2 blank visa-designated pages (passport must be valid for at least 6 months after intended departure date from Russia).
    Two copies of Russian visa application form, completed and signed.
    ONE passport-size photo signed on the back.
    For stay exceeding 3 months, or multi entry visa, a HIV test required.
    Official invitation from an organization authorized to invite business visitors to Russia.

Transit Visas

For transit by air, a transit visa is usually valid for up to three days. For a nonstop Trans- Siberian Railway journey, it’s valid for 10 days, giving westbound passengers a few days in Moscow; those heading east, however, are not allowed to linger in Moscow. Note that transit visas for train journeys are tricky to secure and are usually exactly the same price as a single entry tourist visa.


To obtain a visa, everyone needs an invitation, also known as 'visa support' – this can be done through our travel company. The invitation is given only when booking a tour in Drive To Russia company.


Invitation voucher in hand, you can then apply for a visa. Wherever in the world you are applying you can start by entering details in the online form of the Consular Department of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (

Take care in answering the questions accurately on this form, including listing all the countries you have visited in the last 10 years and the dates of the visits – stamps in your passport will be checked against this information and if there are anomalies you will likely have to restart the process. Keep a note of the unique identity number provided for your submitted form – if you have to make changes later, you will need this to access it without having to fill the form in from scratch again.


Every visitor to Russia is obligated to have their visa registered within seven business days of arrival. If you are in Moscow for less than seven business days, you are exempt. If you leave Moscow, you must register again in any city where you stay seven days or longer. The obligation to register is with the accommodating party – your hotel or hostel, or landlord, friend or family if you’re staying in a private residence.

When you check in at a hotel or hostel, you surrender your passport and visa so the hotel can register you with the local visa office. You’ll get your documents back the next day. It is unlikely but possible that police officers may request to see your proof of registration, so keep all documentation and transportation tickets.

Frequently asked questions about a visa and how to get it

What is tourist invitation letter?

It is a document stating that you are officially invited to Russia by a Russian travel company or a hotel that is accredited by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.

What is the difference between a tourist invitation letter and a Russian visa?

The Tourist Invitation Letter is a document that must be presented along with your visa application. It is not an actual visa, but a document that the Russian government requires for you to apply for an actual visa.

Does the invitation letter guarantee that a visa will be issued?

No, it is merely a document that allows you to apply for the actual visa. The approval of your visa will be at the discretion of the Russian government.

Can I travel to Russia with only my invitation, without a visa?

No, it is not possible. You will need a Russian Visa and the Tourist Invitation Letter allows you to apply for it.

What do i need to do after I receive the invitation letter?

After you have received you invitation, you need to go to the Russian embassy to have your interview. Before doing so, you need to find out which documents you need. We recommend you give the embassy a call before you go. After the interview, the embassy will issue your Russia visa if approved.

To enter the territory of the Russian Federation in 2020, citizens of many countries of the world need a visa. Some countries have a visa-free regime. For more information about visas, see our table. The table is being updated in accordance with changes.

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