General information about Russian visas and registration
All foreign nationals with some exceptions are required to have entry visas to travel to the Russian Federation.
A visa to the Russian Federation is a document permitting a stay in Russia for a specific period of time. A visa lists entry and exit dates, your vital information, passport details, and has two photos stapled to it.
PLEASE NOTE: your Russian visa is an exit permit just like it is an entry permit; if you lose it or stay longer than your originally stated departure date, leaving the country could be more troublesome than entering it.
Russian entry visas can be obtained at local Russian Embassy or Consulate, however official authorization (an invitation - Letter Of Invitation, LOI) from either the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and Federal Migration Service of MIA (FMS), or an alternative specially authorized agency is required before you are able to apply for your visa.
PLEASE NOTE: Once all the documents are submitted the Russian Embassies or Consulates make the final decisions about issuing a Russian visa. We provide a professional services to obtain official authorization (an invitation - Letter Of Invitation, LOI) of your person only and can`t affect on their decisions.
All Russian visas must be registered with the local Federal Migration Service of the Russian Federation within 3 business days of your arrival in the Russian Federation. The registration of the multi-visa may be provided for the term of no more than 6 months, to prolong the registration it is necessary to leave the country and return back.
PLEASE NOTE: The violation of above terms causes serious penalties and possible detention.
Procedure of issuing and extending Russian visas
To enter the Russian Federation a foreign citizen must submit a valid identity document, accepted as such by the Russian Federation, and a visa, if no other order of entry into the Russian Federation is established by an international agreement.
Procedure and terms of issue and provision of a visa, extending its validity period, reissue in case of loss as well as visa cancellation procedure are established by the Russian Federation Government Regulation № 335, adopted June 9, 2003 (with amendments and additions contained in the Government Regulation № 635, October 4, 2007). Fundamental provisions of the mentioned Procedure are in full conformity with the Agreement between the Russian Federation and the European Community on visa issue facilitation for nationals of the Russian Federation and the European Union that entered into force on June 1, 2007.
To obtain a visa a foreign national should apply to a diplomatic or a consular representative office of the Russian Federation in person or by his legal representative and should submit the following documents:
- a valid identity document, accepted as such by the Russian Federation;
- a completed visa application form with one photograph;
- one photograph (30x40 mm);
- a medical insurance policy, unless otherwise provided for by international agreements of the Russian Federation;
- an additional certificate proving that the applicant does not have HIV (AIDS), in case the foreign national applies for a visa for a term exceeding three months.
The size of consular dues taken for issuing Russian visa is established on the basis of reciprocity. Consular due for the European 61 Union citizens is 35 euro for an ordinary visa, and it doubles in case of an urgent issue (within three days).
To obtain a visa the visitor must have an original visa support letter ("priglashenie to the Russian Federation"), issued by one of the Federal Migration Service offices. The letter can be issued on application by a citizen of the Russian Federation, as well as by a foreign citizen or a stateless person residing in the Russian Federation, or by a legal entity.
The following types of ordinary visas can be issued on the basis of invitations provided by the Federal Migration Service offices:
Depending on the number of authorized entries-departures, visas can be single, double or multiple-entry.
It is necessary to know that the actual purpose of the entry of the foreign citizen must correspond to the type of the visa issued to him (her) .
Entering the Russian Federation the foreign national fills in a Migration card, giving the information contained in the visa, and upon arrival to the point of destination in the territory of the Russian Federation he (she) submits the available documents to the host country for registration in the Migration Service.
The duration of stay of a foreigner in the territory of the Russian Federation is determined by the validity period of his (her) visa.
The foreign citizen is obliged to depart from the Russian Federation upon the expiry of the authorized term of stay. To extend the visa validity period and the duration of stay the visitor should apply to one of the Migration Service offices in advance, before the expiry of the abovementioned validity term.
In addition, the foreign citizens arriving to the Russian Federation on multiple-entry business visas or multiple-entry humanitarian one-year visas are authorized to stay on the territory of the Russian Federation summarily during not more than 90 days in each 180-day period.
If it is necessary for a foreign citizen to depart from the territory of the Russian Federation, his (her) visa validity period can be extended by an office of the Russian Federation Ministry of Foreign Affairs stationed within the frontier zone (including at the state border checkpoint), or by an office of the Frontier Service - for a term not exceeding three days.
In all other cases extension of validity period of an ordinary visa comes within the terms of reference of the Federal Migration Service or its territorial departments.
Visa validity period can be extended for up to 10 days provided that the total duration of stay of the foreign national in the Russian Federation doesn't exceed 90 days in each 180-day period.
Given the circumstances of humanitarian nature (the necessity of immediate treatment, grave disease or death of a near relative residing in the Russian Federation) the present visa can be extended for a period necessary for taking ensuing measures and departure of the foreign citizen from the Russian Federation (on delivering documents confirming the given circumstances).
In case of the circumstances of insuperable force (emergency situations and circumstances unavoidable under the given conditions) as well as disasters visa can be extended for a period necessary for the departure from the Russian Federation.
The visa extension is executed by the mentioned above state bodies, i.e. by a territorial office of the Federal Migration Service at a place of migration registration at his residence location, either at his actual residence, or at the state border crossing point of the Russian Federation. The procedure is commenced on the submission of the foreign citizen's application by letter alongside with the petition of a physical person or organization applied for invitation for the foreign citizen and documents confirming the necessity of such extension.
A foreign national staying in the Russian Federation on the basis of a yearly multiple employment or educational visa can continuously reside in the Russian Federation during the whole period of the given visa validity.
Comment: As it was mentioned the actual purpose of a foreign citizen's entrance into the Russian Federation should correspond to the type of the issued visa. Thereby we do not recommend to resort to the services of an intermediate who suggests issuing employment, business or educational visa allowing a long-term stay in Russia to those persons that enter the country not for employment purposes or education but for carrying on business. Nonconformity of the claimed entrance purpose with the actual one and the line of business during the stay in Russia is the violation of the entrance or residence regime. Responsibility for this violation is stipulated as a money penalty of 2 000 - 5 000 rubles. In-parallel with the money penalty it could be decided to enforce an administrative exclusion of a foreign national from the Russian Federation with the sequential exclusion for the 5-year term.
Having reasonable grounds for visa extension a foreign citizen applies to a territorial department of the Federal Migration Service in person. The application for the visa extension should be submitted before the visa expiry. Concurrently with the application the foreign citizen submits:
- his/her identity card,
- custom-made form of the arrival note at the place of residence.
Also attached are:
- the petition of an inviting organization or a person,
- 2 photos (3x4 mm), and
- a state duty bill.
The size of the state duty is specified in accordance with the Tax Code of the Russian Federation. Depending on visa's entry multiplicity it amounts to 300 - 400 rubles. Selective classes of foreign citizens are granted exemption from the state duty for the visa extension on terms of reciprocity and under the existing international conventions. At the present time the citizens of the European Union come within this statute.
Time for consideration of visa extension application cannot exceed 20 days.
A foreign citizen, who did not leave the territory of the Russian Federation upon the date of the visa expiry or did not apply for its extension, can be brought to administrative responsibility (money penalty amounting for 2 000 up to 5 000 rubles) up to and including deportation from the Russian Federation and the sequential 5-year exclusion.
Migration registration of foreign citizens in the Russian Federation
If a foreign citizen has decided to come to the Russian Federation, it is necessary for him/her to know some principal rules of sojourn of foreign citizens in the Russian Federation.
We ask to take this information in a most responsible way. The success of a foreign citizen's trip may depend upon it.
Since January 2007, in accordance with the Federal Law on Migration Registration of Foreign Citizens and Stateless Persons and by the Governmental Regulation of the Russian Federation on Approving the Rules of Exercising the Migration Registration of Foreign Citizens and Stateless Persons in the Russian Federation, the registration of foreign citizens and stateless persons at the place of sojourn is annulled and the migration registration of foreign citizens at the place of sojourn in the Russian Federation is introduced instead.
The procedure of the migration registration implies informing (notifying) a relevant territorial office of the Federal Migration Service of a foreign citizen's arrival to the place of sojourn and must be carried out in the course of three working days after his or her arrival to the Russian Federation. One should know that all migration registration procedures are carried out by the Host Party, the foreign citizen him/herself is not required to address any organizations wasting his/her time.
Upon arrival at the place of sojourn, the foreign citizen shows to the Host Party his/her passport and migration card; the latter is completed upon entrance to the Russian Federation. Taking away the passport and migration card of the foreign citizen is not allowed.
The Host Party may be represented by citizens of the Russian Federation, foreign citizens and stateless persons having permanent residence in the Russian Federation (holders of residence permit), as well as legal persons, their subsidiaries or branch offices where the foreign citizen actually resides (sojourns) or works.
When a foreign citizen settles in a hotel, the Host Party is the hotel's administration which in the course of twenty-four hours notifies the territorial office of the Federal Migration Service of the foreign citizen's arrival and also takes all the necessary steps regarding the registration of foreign citizens; the administration is responsible for observance of the established rules of foreigners' sojourn.
All the measures necessary for the registration of a foreign citizen are taken by the administration of the hotel.
On the basis of the documents presented by the foreign citizen, the Host Party fills in a special form of notification of the foreign citizen's arrival at the place of sojourn (hereinafter Notification). Then the Host Party in the course of twenty-four hours presents the said form along with copies of the foreign citizen's passport and migration card directly to the territorial office of the Federal Migration Service or sends them by post. There is no state due for migration registration.
In mail service offices there are special windows where the Host Party would be offered a Notification form to fill in. The Notification forms are given free of charge. For the service of receiving the Notification the mail service office charges an appropriate fee established by the Governmental Regulation of the Russian Federation No. 10, January 15, 2007. Currently the fee is 180 roubles.
The territorial office of the Federal Migration Service or the mail service office which have received from the Host Party the completed Notification along with the above-mentioned copies put down a mark of reception in the Notification and return the detachable part of the Notification to the Host Party.
The Host Party gives the detachable part of the Notification to the foreign citizen. The fact that the foreign citizen has the detachable part of the Notification with the mark of reception confirms his/her migration registration.
The foreign citizen has a right to notify the bodies of migration control of his/her arrival at the place of sojourn in person in case there are documented reasonable excuses (illness, physical impossibility, etc.) preventing the Host Party from submitting the Notification to a body of migration registration.
A foreign citizen permanently residing in the Russian Federation also has a right to notify the corresponding body of migration control of his/her arrival at the place of residence in person or, according to the established order, by post, with written consent of the Host Party.
Before departure the foreign citizen gives the detachable part of the Notification to the Host Party for it to be submitted in person or posted to the territorial office of the Federal Migration Service. Such action must be taken by the Host Party within two working days since the departure of the foreign citizen.
Please be aware that the time of sojourn of a foreign citizen in the Russian Federation is determined by the period of validity of the visa issued to him/her.
The time of sojourn in the Russian Federation of a foreign citizen who has arrived to the Russian Federation according to an arrangement that does not require a visa cannot exceed ninety days except the cases envisaged by the Russian Federation legislation.
The foreign citizen is obliged to leave the Russian Federation upon expiry of the authorized time of sojourn. To extend the visa validity period or the time of sojourn, it is necessary to address the bodies of the Migration Service in advance, before the above-mentioned period expires.
Violation of rules of migration registration may entail administrative responsibility of a foreign citizen in the form a penalty from 2,000 to 5,000 roubles, in certain cases accompanied with expulsion from the territory of the Russian Federation. A foreign citizen who has been administratively expelled may be further banned from entry to the Russian Federation for the period of up to five years.
Xerocopies of the passport, migration card and detachable part of the Notification, in case of their loss or any other unforeseen circumstances, would help to confirm that the foreign citizen in fact has the documents and observes the rules of migration registration.
General Requirements to complete Russia Visa Application:
- Visa application form, fully completed and signed (note: there are special visa application forms for the nationals of USA and Georgia)
- Photograph of 1.18 by 1.57 inches (3 by 4 cm), in color taken against a light background (white or off - white). The photo needs to display a full frontal view of the face. The facial image must be sharp and clear. Sunglasses or tinted glasses are not permitted. Head coverings and hats are only acceptable due to religious beliefs, and in this case there shall be a similar photo with a head covering in the applicant's passport.
- Valid international passport or another ID recognized as such in the Russian Federation. At least 2 blank pages for visas. The passport should be valid for a minimum of 6 months after visa expiration date.
- Applicants who are self-employed, company directors, working from home or unemployed need to provide bank statements for the last three months which have a current balance of a minimum of £100 per day for the duration of the visit. Those with online banking must also show proof of address for the last three months
- Children under -18, traveling alone or whose visa applications are unaccompanied with their parents’ are required to submit following additional documents:
- Signed and dated permission letter from one of the parents, giving permission to the child to travel alone or explaining that the parent would be traveling with the child along with the dates of travel.
- A copy of the parent’s passport (first page and page with Russian visa)
- If the child’s and parent’s surname do not match, we would also require a copy of the birth certificate to confirm that the permission letter has been provided by the biological parent.
- Document proving the purpose of the visit
a) Working, student, science, sports, humanitarian, religion, charity, asylum seek, public, political and business trips:
- A letter of invitation issued by a Russian Federal Migration Service agency or a telex from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. For a multiple entry visa the applicant should submit the original letter of invitation.
- A tourist contract - tourist voucher and tourist acceptance confirmation of a Russian tourist agency, which should have its reference number.
Tourists on board large cruise ships should have the right to stay in the Russian Federation without a visa during 72 hours. They have the right to leave the ship and come back on board the ship only as part of an organized tourist group as per the list. In case a tourist wants to leave the ship alone, he needs a visa.
c) Private visits:
-A private letter of invitation, issued by a Russian Federal Migration Service agency.
In case of a visit to the Russian Federation for urgent medical reasons, for urgent treatment, or to visit a seriously ill or a deceased relative, an applicant should present a certificate issued by a medical institution or a death certificate and a document proving the kindred between the applicant and the ill or deceased relative. Passport's validity of the applicant should exceed the visa expiry date.
Documents proving the family relations are copies of the certificates issued by registrar offices. In case the applicant is a grandparent or a grandchild he should submit a copy of the certificates issued by registrar offices proving their next of kin.
d) Burial site visits:
Russian Visa to travelers visiting military and civil burial sites should be issued subject to a submission of an original certificate proving the burial issued by Russian or foreign authorized bodies and the original document proving the kindred. Period of validity of such a visa would not exceed 14 days.
A Russian transit visa applicant should have a visa to enter Russian neighboring country or a visa of the country of destination or a passport of the country of destination and valid travel documents to leave the Russian Federation or a confirmed guarantee to get such in a transport change place in the Russian Federation.
In In case of an airway transit, a visa should be issued for the maximum of 3 days. The applicant who travels through the Russian Federation by car should have a transit visa valid for a period of time which the fastest trip to place of destination takes up. The average daily distance to be covered by car should be not less than 500 km.
Foreign national or a stateless person has the right to pass through the territory of Russian Federation without a transit visa in the following cases:
- if they make a non-stop air flight over the territory of the Russian Federation;
- if they make an international air flight and a transfer in a Russian airport provided they have due documents to enter the country of destination and a air flight ticket with an indicated date of flight from the Russian transfer airport within 24 hours upon arrival (but for emergency landing).
- if they reside in a country, that has signed a non-visa agreement with the Russian Federation.
There is a regular procedure of visa document submission for stateless persons who have a relevant travel document.
The photograph needs to be glued to the indicated space on the application form and meet the following requirements:
- Recent colour photograph (not more than 6 months old).
- Taken against a light background (white or off-white) so that features are distinguishable and contrast against the background.
- Clear quality and with the face in focus.
- Printed on normal photographic paper(camera print)
- The frame must be 35mm x 45mm in size.
Note: Please follow these instructions carefully. If photographs presented do not meet these requirements your application will be considered incomplete.