Before planning your trip to Russia in detail, you need to make sure where you need a visa for your travel. Most foreign visitors require a Russian visa, so do not forget to check it beforehand.
If you found out that you require a visa, then you need to determine which exact visa type you require. In Russia, there are the following visa types for short non-working visits: Tourist visa, Business visa, Private visa, and Electronic visa.
are issued for the short trips up to 30 days and can include no more than two entries; they are made for people who come as tourists with a travel agency or on their own.
A Private visa
is the entry permit for people coming to visit their relatives or friends who have to prepare all necessary documentation for the consulate. This visa can not exceed 90 days.
can be issued for the period from 1 month to 3 years in some cases, with multiple entries. This visa is used for long business trips but does not allow you to work officially in a Russian company.
is currently available for the particular list of citizens, traveling to Saint Petersburg, Kaliningrad, or the Far-Eastern region of Russia. E-visas do not require any invitations and consular fees, but your stay can not exceed eight days. The application is available at the Ministry of Foreign affairs official website: https://evisa.kdmid.ru/en-US
From 2021, the e-visa will give you more opportunities: it will cover the whole of Russia and will allow trips up to 16 days.
All visa types except the electronic visas require an invitation. It is a necessary paper for the Russian consulate to obtain a visa. The invitation is also called a visa support letter. Tourist, Business, and Private visas require different invitations.
Tourist Invitation (for a Tourist Visa)
Visa Support is a document consisting of two papers: a confirmation from the host party (the Inviter) and the confirmation of your hotel reservation. This visa invitation can be obtained from the officially registered tour operator or a hotel where you have a reservation. This invitation type HAS TO contain a hotel (or hostel) information; you cannot indicate a private apartment in this invitation type.
If you book accommodation with us, we provide you with the visa invitation free of charge.
In other cases, you can buy a Tourist invitation from our partners iVisa.
Business Invitation (for a Business Visa)
A business invitation is issued by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs or private companies who invite you to Russia. The letter should contain official seal, legal address of the agency, signature, and name of a person, officially authorized to invite foreigners to Russia. Sometimes the consulate can accept the letter issued by a private company, not the Ministry — but you should confirm this possibility at the consulate where you are going to apply for your visa. As the partners, we can issue business invitations with the Russian Ministry, so please, send your requests: firstname.lastname@example.org
Private Invitation (for a Private Visa)
Suppose you are coming with a personal visit and stay at your host’s property, then the Inviter has to do all paperwork by themselves to invite you. This invitation takes up to 45 days to be ready — the host person has to submit an application form to the local immigration office, receive a letter and then send a scanned copy or, in some cases, a hardcopy to you.
Visa free visits
There is a unique opportunity to visit Russia without visa. If you travel by cruise ship and ferry to the following Russian ports: St Petersburg, Anadyr, Kaliningrad, Vladivostok, Sochi, Vyborg, Korsakov, Novorossiysk you do not need Russia visa up to 72 hours in case you book shore tours with accredited travel company. Please check out our list of visa free shore tours.