Q: What is "visa invitation" ("invitation letter")?
This general term denotes a set of documents that your Russian host (e.g. a relative, a business partner, or a travel agent) must furnish you with, so that you could apply for a Russian visa at the Russian Consulate servicing your area. If you did not receive any documents from your inviting party, do not send your visa application to the Consulate - it will be refused. In case of the tourist visa, an invitation consists of two documents: a tourist confirmation bearing your personal details and a travel voucher mentioning the details of your Russian trip (cities visited, types of services ordered, etc.).
Q: I am afraid that if I handle my visa application myself, I will miss something important and my visa will be refused. Should I go to a visa services company which can guarantee visa issuance?
Do not do this. The process of visa application is very simple and straightforward if you follow our guidelines. No company can guarantee any visas - the ultimate authority in visa processing rests with the Russian Consulate, and no private entity can influence the Consulate's decision.
Q: What documents should I bring to the Russian Consulate in order to apply for my visa? Is it possible to send these documents by regular mail as I live far from the Russian Consulate?
In order to obtain your Russian visa, you should bring your invitation letter, your passport, 3 mat finish
photos 3x4 cm, consular fee and a proof of medical insurance to the Russian Consulate. For multiple entry visas, you also require an HIV Test certificate (test results issued within the previous 90 days). It is always a good idea to get in touch with the Russian Consulate in order to receive the latest update on the required documents.
If you have no opportunity to go to the Russian Consulate/Embassy yourself, you can generally send there your visa documents by mail. You will get your visa by mail from the consulate when it is ready. Either way, you first need to get your visa support invitation.
Q: As a US citizen I can travel almost anywhere without a visa. Why do I need a visa to go to Russia?
Visa regulations are governed by the principle of reciprocity. So, US citizens go through the same application routine and Russian citizens have to go through when going to the United States. Rates are identical as well.
Q: I have an invitation to visit a certain city in Russia. Will I be allowed to travel to other cities in Russia as well?
Yes, you will.
Q: Last time I went to Russia nobody asked me for my registration when I was leaving home.
Why should I register my visa next time I go to Russia?
It is true that visa registration checks were not always carried out in the past, and those who neglected to get proper visa registration were not fined. However, these checks are becoming standard now and you will surely be asked at the customs for your registration. Failure to present such registration will result in a fine. Please register your visa!
Q:I lost my Visa to Russia. Can I be issued a duplicate?
Yes, we will issue you a duplicate; however you will have to pay the minimum processing fee ($70 - for single-entry; $120 - for double-entry; $200 - for multiple), and it will take up to 3 business days.
Q: I am already in Russia and would like to extend or change status of my visa. Where can I do that?
Unfortunately, it is impossible either to extend or change status (e. g. from tourist to student or business)
of your visa once you enter Russia, as visas are only issued by Russian diplomatic missions abroad. Therefore, you will have to go back to your home country and re-apply for a new visa.
Q: How can I get a multiple-entry visa?
The best solution for frequent travelers to Russia is to obtain a business visa which allows for unlimited number of entries. Tourist visa can be issued for a maximum of two entries only in case your tour itinerary requires so.
Q: I will spend several weeks in St. Petersburg. While there, I want to travel to Finland and/or the Baltic States for a few days. Will my Russian visa be sufficient?
No. Russian visa only gets you into Russia. To travel to other countries you will need to follow their respective visa regulations for citizens of your country. In most cases US citizens do not need any visa to travel to these countries for a short time. However, you must make sure that your Russian visa is at least double-entry, as each crossing of the Russian border counts as one entry. So, in case you have a single-entry visa and will leave Russian even for several hours, you will not be able to get back to Russia - another entry is required. Please make sure to plan your trip well ahead and get the right type of visa to avoid any frustration.
Q: What are the most important things about my passport?
Your passport must be valid for longer than 6 months. Travel Russia will provide you with a Russian Visa Invitation. A visa is required for all non Russian Nationals. Your visa should be obtained in advance and will be valid only for the given dates of your trip. We will send this to you within 48 hours of receiving the following information.
- Full name (as in the passport)
- Passport Number
- Date of birth
- Sex & Nationality
This invitation combined with whatever documents your embassy or consular service requires, will get you a Russian Visa.
Q:What if my visa was lost or stolen in Moscow?
In that unfortunate case, you need a new exit visa. First of all, you must contact a local police precinct and make a request for an official document confirming that your visa was lost. To make the processing easier we recommend you to state that your documents were lost, not stolen.Then, you need to get a new passport at the Embassy or Consulate of your native country.
With the documents mentioned above, one matte finished photo and your return ticket (with the fixed return date) you should come to our Moscow office. We will then process a new exit visa for you. Please note that the processing takes no less than five business days.
Q: What are airport formalities on arrival in Russia?
Your visa and passport are examined. Your holiday voucher can also be checked. Claim your luggage off the conveyor belts. Trolleys are available. A bank (not always open), toilets and a duty-free shop are located in this hall.
You are required to complete two currency declaration forms (which you will either be given on the aircraft or will have to personally pick up in the baggage hall). Fill in both forms entering how much cash you have but answering "nil" to all other questions.
Proceed through to customs inspection. It is very important that your customs declaration forms are presented to a customs officer, who must stamp them and return one or both of them to you. There is a choice of red and green channels, and we recommend that you exit through the red channel, as you are more likely to find customs officers here! You must ensure that the form you retain is stamped. Keep this carefully; you will be required to present it when you leave the country, as well as completing a new form showing how much money you are taking out of the country. If for any reason you lose the stamped, completed customs entry declaration form, you may be banned from taking any hard currency out of the country because you will not be able to prove that you brought it into the country with you! A member of our staff will be waiting outside the customs hall with a sign.