Russian visa information
All visitors to Russia are required to have a Russian visa in order to enter the country. Russian Consulates require a Russian visa invitation which is frequently called a voucher in order for the Consulate to issue the applicant a visa. All Russian visas must be registered within 3 business days of arrival to Russia. Failure to register your Russian visa may result in fines or difficulty in leaving the country.
Below are the most frequently applied for types of Russian visas.
Russian Tourist Visa (non-US citizens)
Russian Business Visa (non-US citizens)
Russian Business visas are much more flexible than the Russian tourist visa in that they allow the holder to stay longer than the typical 30 day stay of a Russian tourist visa and depending on the type of the Russian business visa, the holder may be able to enter and exit Russia multiple times. Russian business visas are the best choice for people coming to Russia for extensive stays or for people traveling independently. Although technically these are business visas, the holder does not necessarily have to be on a business trip to receive one. It is also not necessary to have a hotel reservation to receive this type of Russian visa. Order Russian business visa invitation.
Visas for US citizens
In accordance with the Agreement between the Russian Federation and the United States of America on the simplification of visa formalities for nationals of the Russian Federation and the United States of America effective September 9, 2012, US citizens shall as a rule be issued multiple-entry business, private, humanitarian and tourist visas for a stay of no more than 6 months starting from the date of each entry. The visas shall be valid for three years (36 months) from the date of issue of the visa. You can download the new Agreement and updates on Russian visa requirements
To apply for a Tourist visa you will need: Confirmation of a hotel reservation, a contract for the provision of tourist services, confirmation of reception of the tourist. The above mentioned documents shall have the register number from the Uniform Federal Register of the Tour Operators of the Russian Federal Tourism Agency and the seal of the host organization or a standard tourist letter of confirmation and a voucher from a hosting authorized Russian travel agency or a hotel, registered with the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The confirmation must contain the agency's reference and registration number. Order Russian tourist visa invitation
Russian business visas are best for people who are traveling independently without tour groups and those who may not require a hotel. Order Russian business visa invitation.
For a full list of documents, please see the section applying for a Russian visa
Russian Student Visas
Russian student visas are extremely flexible and allow the holder to many perks such as cheaper train tickets, theater tickets and more however the applicant must prove that they are enrolled in a Russian institute or university in order to receive this type of visa. The issuance of student visas is done with the help and support of the school authorities.
Other types of Russian Visas
There are a few other types of Russian visas such as Transit Visas, On-the-Spot Visas, and Diplomatic Visas. Transit visas are used for transit through Russia and may be useful for travelers traveling through Russia on to China however they can be risky in that you must absolutely stay within the allotted time written in the visa which is sometimes hard to do because of travel delays, etc. On the Spot visas are truly a rarity and travelers should not depend on them - best to get a tourist visa.
All foreigners entering Russia must fill in an immigration card which is similar to the arrival cards that are required by other countries upon entry.
A picture of the card is listed below. The card has 2 parts that are identical and must be completely filled in. The card asks for name, birthday, sex, passport number, dates of stay, inviting organization of the guest. The first part of the immigration card will be taken by the Russian passport authorities when you go through passport control when entering Russia. The second part will be collected by Russian passport control when exiting the country. During your stay, your passport and immigration card should be carried with you at all times (but keep them in a safe place on your person!).
Medical insurance is required for the citizens of Israel, Finland, Estonia, as well as for the citizens of Schengen Agreement Member States (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain). Medical insurance is not required for US citizens.
Russian Visas for Children
If a child travels on his or her own passport, a Russian visa will be required for them.