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Russia Visa Application Frequently Asked Questions

 

  1. What is a Russian Visa ?

  2. What is the difference between a passport and a Russian visa ?

  3. Do I need a visa for Russia ?

  4. What is the difference between the Russian visas?

  5. How long does it take to obtain a Russian visa ?

  6. How long is a Russian visa valid ?

  7. How do I obtain a Russian invitation?


What is a Russian Visa?

A Russian visa is a stamp or endorsement placed by officials of a Russia on a passport that allows the bearer to visit Russia.  Russian visas are obtained by a visa service from the local Russian Consulate for the purpose of the visit.  "Visit" is further defined as the reason for entry, usually business, tourist or transitory.  There are over 270 countries that offer visas and literally thousands of different types of visas available based upon country, type of visit, and length of visit.

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What is the difference between a passport and a Russian visa?

A passport is an official government document that certifies one's identity and citizenship.  The passport serves two purposes: to regain entry to the country of citizenship (i.e. the United States) and is a requirement by many countries to gain entry to the country you are visiting.  

A visa is an official government document that temporarily authorizes you to be in the country you are visiting.  Many countries require a visa to gain entry.  The visa usually is in the form of a stamp IN the passport and is obtained from the country you are visiting.

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Do I need a Russian visa?

If you are traveling to Russia, whether for business or tourism, you require a visa to be obtained from a consulate in advance of your trip. In order to get one, travelers need an invitation from a Russian citizen or a company, which is then taken to a Russian embassy or consulate, where the actual visa is issued. Within three business days of arrival in Russia, the visa needs to be registered by the person/organization that issued the invitation.

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What is the difference between the Russian visas?

Tourist Visas

Tourist visas are best for short visits. In theory you to have a hotel and an itinerary planned for each night of your stay in order to get a tourist visa, but this rule is broken more often than it's followed. If you need a visa invitation, we can obtain this for you so you don't have to worry about obtaining it separately.

Business Visas

Business visas aren't just for foreigners working in Russia. Far more flexible than tourist visas, they are often the best choice for tourists who are visiting friends and don't need a hotel, or who are looking to spend an extended period of time in Russia, especially those who want to travel independently or extensively. In order to get a business visa you need an invitation from a Russian firm.  If you need an invitation, we can obtain this for you so you don't have to worry about obtaining it separately.

Homestay Visas

Homestay visas are your best bet when you have friends or relatives in Russia who plan to host you during your trip there. Homestay visas are issued for up to 3 months, and, therefore, are more flexible then regular tourist visas. What’s not very flexible about them though is the invitation your Russian hosts will have to get for you – it takes sometimes up to 2 months for local offices to process their request and then an original has to be sent to the Russian consulate abroad for processing.

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How long does it take to obtain a visa?

The answer varies depending upon the service you choose.  The consulate fee included in your application indicates to the Consulate the level of expediency you are requesting.  The Russian Consulate processes visas as quickly as a 3-4 days (work load permitting) to a slower paced 2 week processing.

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How do I read my Russia visa?

Above is a typical visa issued from the Russian Federation.  While most of the visa is written in Russian, an important area for you to review your visa is :

A: Area A lists the dates the visa is valid.  In this case, the applicant could enter as early as June 14 and must depart on the 21st of June (14.06.04 and 21.06.04).  Please note, these dates are taken from your application and are exact dates for your trip.

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How long is a visa valid?

A Russian visa is valid for the exact period of stay your invitation dictates, with the exception of the Homestay visa which is valid for up to 3 months. 

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How do I obtain an invitation to Russia?

All Russian visas require an accompanying invitation from a Russian entity.  You can have your host, business partner, or friend obtain it for you from within Russia.  This can be a tedious and lengthy process.  However; if you choose we can obtain the visa support for you.  Our fees are as follows :

Tourist Single Entry Cost & Time Needed to Acquire Support
Type of Visa
Invitation
next work. day
Invitation
same work. day
Tourist for up to
30 days
$30
$45

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