An official invitation comes from a Russian organization authorized to invite guests to Russia. The type of visa you are applying for comes with the appropriate invitation. Only a Russian tourist company can issue tourist invitations, also known as tourist vouchers.
Not all people need visas to visit Russia. Many countries in South America have visa-free agreements with Russia. This allows a guest to come for usually up to 90 days. Citizens of countries in North America and Europe need to obtain a visa to enter Russia.
In order to apply for a visa, you’ll need to pay the Russian consulate fees and processing fees in addition to what the invitation and visa service charge. These fees differ based on country, its visa agreement with Russia, processing time, number of entries desired, type of visa and third party service fees.
For example, for a 30-day, single-entry tourist visa, a US citizen pays $123 for the consulate and processing fees plus our fees of $15 for the invitation and $99 for submission. That’s $237.
The answer depends on the citizenship of the applicant and where he or she is applying. However, in general an applicant will need:
1. A visa invitation.
2. Visa application filled out and signed.
3. Passport Photo
4. Payment to an official visa processing center
5. Original passport valid for at least 6 months after the expiration date of the visa
6. Proof of insurance (not needed for US citizens applying for tourist visas)
It depends on many factors, but generally 3-10 business days. For a tourist visa in the USA, it takes about 10 business days to process. We recommend applying at least one month before your trip.
For EU citizens, the process is about 3-5 business days for a tourist visa.
In some cases you may expedite your visa. There are additional costs associated with quicker processing.
You cannot, however, expedite 3 year visas unless it’s an emergency. In such a case, you’ll need to write a letter to the Consular explaining the reason to expedite the process.
Yes. As long as you have an invitation from a Russian organization, you are welcome to go through the process yourself. If you live near a visa processing center, this will save you some money. However, we don’t recommend this route unless making a trip to the visa center is convenient for you.
Many first-time applicants make minor mistakes which can mean running back and forth for documents or making corrections. Just pay for the service and save your time and the headache. You’ll thank us later. We promise.
If you are planning a one-time trip for less than 30 days, a single or double entry tourist visa will suffice.
If you are a US passport holder and plan on visiting Russia multiple times, apply for a 3 year tourist visa.
As a general rule of thumb, apply for the type of visa that will fit when the Russian border guard asks, “What is the purpose of your visit?” You can hold a business meeting on a tourist visa and you can see some sights while on a business visa. However, the MAIN purpose of your visit should comply with your visa type.