Visa Applications in Russia

An overview of the documents required and procedures to follow when applying for a Russia visa…

Applications for a visa to visit Russia can be submitted by an individual at a local Russian embassy or consulate. In some countries the application should be made through a local company assigned to act as an issuing service, or alternatively an agency can carry out the application, which can cut the time and energy required but incurs a service fee. There are options available for standard applications (usually seven calendar days) or express (usually ready the next working day).

Documents Required

Documents required for visa applications are:

  • A completed visa application form (available from or through the local embassy’s website)
  • Original passport, valid for at least six months after the end of the intended duration of the visa and with at least two blank pages
  • One colour passport photograph
  • Fee for visa (varies depending on exact visa)
  • Fee for application (varies depending on the type of application and speed of service required)
  • An official letter of invitation authenticated by the Federal Migration Service (FMS, Federalnaya Migracionnaya Sluzba / ??????????? ???????????? ??????) or an authorised travel agency, is required. The ways to obtain this document are explained below

Letter of Invitation

In order to apply for a visa to enter Russia, foreign nationals need a letter of invitation (Priglashenye / ???????????).

Depending on the type of visa required, this documentation can be supplied by the travel agency arranging the flight or the trip to Russia, by some Russian hotels, online by agencies based in Russia (for an additional fee), by an authorised agency in the country where the foreigner resides, by Russian organisations or by private individuals in Russia.

All invitations have the nature of official documents and need to be approved by the FMS. Applications for such documents are submitted by the person or organisation inviting the foreigner to Russia. The invitation letter must include the dates of travel and the number of entries required (single, double or multiple), which determines the period of the visa's validity. This letter should be officially stamped by the FMS.

Support papers for a tourist visa can be issued by an authorised agent or tour company without being submitted for stamping at the FMS.

Making an Application

Applications for visas and information about visa services and agencies can be obtained from the Russian embassy or consulate in the respective country. The list below contains links to embassy websites of various English-speaking countries.

  • UK citizens: For most visas issued to UK residents, the Russian Embassy uses the services of a company called VFS Global, with offices in London and in Edinburgh. For more information on the company’s website: Click here
  • American citizens: For most visas issued to residents of the USA, the Russian Embassy uses a company called Invisa Logistics Services LLC, with offices in Washington DC, New York, San Francisco, Houston and Seattle. More information can be found on this company’s website: Click here
  • For the addresses of all Russian embassies worldwide: Click here