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Getting a visa for Russia
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Few countries have as complex a visa application process as Russia. Nevertheless, nationals of most countries need to get a visa to enter Russia. Requirements sometimes vary greatly from one country to another but having a tourist voucher or a letter of invitation usually always is compulsory when applying for a visa for Russia. Also, taking out travel and repatriation insurance is an additional requirement for the citizens of many countries. Begin preparing your stay in Russia by learning about visa request procedures.

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Does everybody need a visa ?

To travel to Russia, even for a short stay as a tourist, you will need to apply for a visa. There are four main types of visas:

  • tourist visas
  • business visas
  • work visas
  • private visas

Visa-exempt countries

Nationals of the following countries don't need a visa to enter Russia: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

Nationals of the following countries may stay in Russia for up to 90 days in each 180 day period without a visa: Abkhazia, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Israel, Nicaragua, Peru and Venezuela.

The visa-free regime is valid for nationals of the following countries staying in Russia for up to 30 days: Cuba, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macau, Montenegro, Serbia and Thailand.

Citizens of Hong Kong can stay in Russia without a visa for a maximum of 14 days.

Visa-free travel also is possible for nationals of other specific countries holding diplomatic or official passports and wishing to stay in Russia for up to 90, 30 or 14 days.

Main requirements for Russian visa applications

Application processes may be very different from one country to another. This is why getting in touch with the Russian embassy or consulate in your country to make sure you have the right information is the first step you need to take to apply for a visa.

Requested supporting documents

For all visa requests, you will usually need to supply at least the following documents:

  • tourist confirmation and voucher or letter of invitation,
  • passport which must be valid for at least six months (more depending on the type of visa requested) after visa's expiration date and have a minimum of two remaining blank pages,
  • printed visa application form which must be filled out online at,
  • a passport sized photo,
  • visa fee payment.

Depending on your nationality and the type of visa you are applying for, additional documents may be requested. For instance, you might need to supply:

  • an HIV test certificate,
  • an insurance certificate,
  • bank statements,
  • an introductory letter,
  • your travel tickets.

Who issues the official documents?

The invitation
The invitation to Russia must be issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry, its regional representatives or by an appropriate Russian Federation Migration Service branch.

The tourist voucher
You can get a voucher through a Russian tourism company (hotel, travel agency…).

The tourist confirmation
You must get this document through the same Russian tourism company who issued your tourist voucher.

The introductory letter
A company, organization, college or university may provide this letter, which must explain the purpose of your stay in Russia.

Insurance requirements

Taking out travel and repatriation insurance valid for the entire stay in Russia is compulsory for nationals of many countries. Coverage must be valid everywhere in Russia for the entire stay and reach a minimum of EUR30,000. Travel dates and coverage area must appear on the insurance certificate.

To find out more about visas for Russia

Learn how to get in touch with the Russian embassy or consulate in your country: get contact information on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia.
Get additional information about the different visa types on the Russian Visa Requirements website.

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