Ways to get a Russian Visa


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All that’s required of a US citizen is a plane ticket and a valid passport to enter many countries. Russia, having said that, is more complicated. Visiting the chair associated with previous Soviet Union takes a visa, and having that visa calls for some preparation, a small persistence, a skill for untangling thick knots of bureaucracy and a number of good old fashioned American greenbacks. TPG Contributor Katie Hammel will be here to walk you through the procedure.

Editor’s Note: place your visa to utilize if you take advantageous asset of our $399 trip deal to Moscow with Singapore Airlines.

There are many more than 80 particular visa that is russian for all of us residents to pick from, including seven kinds of short-term visas, such as for instance work, pupil and transportation (needed if you’ll need certainly to leave the protected customs area and/or if transportation will need significantly more than a day). Which will make things simpler, we’ll focus on the most frequent kind – the tourist visa, that is obtainable in solitary or entry that is multiple. Note: you must prior have a visa to boarding your journey to Russia, as visas are maybe perhaps not issued on arrival.

You are able to make an application for a visa anywhere from 30 to 3 months before departure. Go from 1 whom recently had the procedure: The greater amount of time you can easily provide yourself to leap through Russia’s many flaming hoops of bureaucracy, the greater.

Seeing the onion domes of St. Basil’s Cathedral face-to-face needs a visa for people residents. Picture by Katie Hammel

Secure a Letter of Invite

The first faltering step in the procedure is securing a page of invitation (LOI) from the Russian company acquiesced by the Russian Foreign Ministry, that is less difficult than it seems. Many resort hotels, along with trip operators and specific agencies, can offer the desired letter, that will be actually just a questionnaire that indicates your times of journey, information that is personal, meant residence through your stay while the organization that’s hosting you. As soon as this form is had by you, you can easily submit an application for your visa.

For the journey, my spouce and I planned to keep at an Airbnb in Moscow and a tiny inn in St. Petersburg — fortunately, the latter was able to offer (via e-mail) a page of invite through a trip agency for the $35 per individual charge. Technically, the issuer for the LOI is legitimately accountable we never had any direct contact with the company that sponsored our stay for you while you’re in Russia, but.

Purchase Health Insurance

EU residents are required to have medical health insurance legitimate in Russia (though us residents aren’t). Insurance coverage info is required in your application, and — officially — required whenever your application that is full package submitted. My spouce and I bought the cheapest policy we’re able to find. Nevertheless, besides the application (which just asked we were never required to submit proof if we had insurance and through which company. We presented our package face-to-face ( more about that later) however the clerk would not ask for almost any documents of our insurance coverage. Still, you’re better safe than sorry, specially because of the fairly low priced of protection — we insured ourselves for our entire journey for $100 total.

All of the hoops can be worth it when you see sights such as the gorgeous interiors associated with the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. Photo by Katie Hammel.

Apply On The Web

While you will find five visa processing centers in america, you ought to fill out of the Electronic Visa Application Form even although you intend to use in individual. When you’ve applied online, you’ll need certainly to print the application form to provide face-to-face at a Russian Consulate or deliver it to a visa solution for processing. Yes, you need to submit the shape both on the internet and in difficult content. Because Russia.

Be ready: the applying is intensive. Needed information includes where both you and your spouses had been created, your mother and father’ private information, information on your wellbeing insurance coverage legitimate in Russia, every nation you’ve got visited within the last 10 years (with times), past jobs held (including supervisors’ names and cell phone numbers) and greater academic institutions went to. Assume this may just simply take 30-45 moments to fill in.

Write A Resume Cover Letter

a employment cover letter is yet another element that is theoretically required in your application package, but that has been perhaps maybe maybe not expected for as soon as we used in individual. Even as we learned, Russian guidelines are at the mercy of interpretation and inconsistently enforced, yet still it is easier to be ready than to possess the job denied as incomplete.

We kept our page brief: names, target, contact information, times of delivery, function of our visit (tourism), cities we planned to check out and on which times, accommodation information additionally the details of the ongoing business sponsoring our visas.

It will require large amount of strive to have that Russian entry stamp. Picture thanks to Shutterstock.

Apply via Mail or In Individual

Russia’s embassies and consulates in the usa usually do not accept visa applications by mail, this means in the event that you don’t live near a Russian Consulate Department, you’ll need certainly to submit via a third-party, such as for example Travisa, PVS Global, genuine Russia or CIBT, Inc. You’ll be able to utilize TPG Allied that is favorite Passport Visa.

If you’re in just one of the five US towns by having a Russian Consulate Department (DC, NYC, san francisco bay area, Houston, or Seattle) you are able to submit the job in individual. But that is definitely not easier. a specialist called Invisa Logistics Service processes visas for the Consulate and every workplace has — shall we say hours that are— unique. Some just just take breaks from 12:30/1pm to 2pm, some only accept visa applications when you look at the early morning and passport pickup is permitted when you look at the afternoon. In the event that you don’t make a consultation (you should) get early to guarantee you’ll be viewed before shutting time. Despite having a consultation, provide your self some cushioning between your closing and appointment or break time; we’d a consultation, yet still waited near to thirty minutes.

You can easily use 30 to 3 months before departure; you can easily use with less time under unique circumstances and, needless to say, for an fee that is additional. Based on the ILS website, the Consulate General ratings applications 4 to 10 calendar times after distribution, though they may be able use up to thirty days. Enable lots of time for the visa become prepared.

Whether you’re submitting in person or via mail, double- and triple-check that your particular application contains every thing required, as incomplete applications will undoubtedly be came back. Make copies of every thing.

Submit the invite, the application that is signed, your resume cover letter and proof insurance coverage, your passport (which must certanly be legitimate for half a year away from intended stay and also have a the least two blank pages for the entry stamp), a photocopy of one’s passport, two passport photographs additionally the processing cost (payable via money, cash purchase or cashier’s check just). If you’re applying in individual and spending in money, bring precise modification. My spouce and I needed to set you back a nearby shop to get change for a ten whenever our total found $416 and we also paid $420 money and also the clerk refused to simply accept it.


Therefore, just how much does it all expense? The price that is exact differ by business. ILS charges $160 for the single-entry visa in 10 calendar days, plus $33 processing fee in the event that you want your passport mailed back if you pick up and $103. If you want the visa in four days, the purchase price jumps to $283 plus solution costs.

Therefore, at $193 ($160 + $33 processing) times two, exactly just how did our total arrive at $436 for two visas? We forgot one part that is crucial of application package, the photocopies of y our passports. The price to produce black colored and white copies? $25 each. Because… Russia!

Check Always Your Visa

Once you’ve the coveted visa in your hand, double-check that every information is proper. You will see two times detailed; the first is the earliest date you can easily enter Russia plus the second could be the date through which you need to keep. As soon as your visa is released, these times are set. All over again if your plans change and you want come a day earlier or stay a day later, you get to do the whole process.

The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour within the Moscow.

Whilst in Russia

The feeding and care of one’s visa continues whilst in Russia. Russian police have actually the authority to cease you at any moment and ask for to see your visa so that the formal suggestion would be to carry you at all times to your passport. We opted to help make copies of our invite page, passports and visas, and carry those while making our passports within the resort. People in america will also be expected to carry a migration card whilst in Russia. Typically, these two-part cards are given by the flight; once you land, Russian immigration keeps half and also you keep consitently the other until such time you leave (more recent terminals issue these cards electronically).

Finally, you must register your visa and migration card through your sponsor at the Federal Migration Service (FMS) or through your host at their local post office if you spend more than seven working days in any locality in Russia. Accommodations have to do that for visitors regarding the night that is first of stay. My check out dropped over a few vacations and a week-end, therefore though I became in Russia for nine times, I happened to be in a position to avoid this hassle.

One last note of care: usually do not overstay your visa! Russian authorities will perhaps not enable A us citizen to leave the united states with a visa that is expired alternatively often hold them for ten times, charge a hefty fine and impose a five-year minimum ban on going back to Russia.

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