Obtaining a Russian visa is simple if you follow the steps in this article.

Getting a Russian Visa Step 1: Get a visa invitation.

Before applying for the visa itself, all visa applicants require an invitation (also known as visa support, or the voucher and confirmation).

You can order your visa invitation online through our site. Our invitations are recognized by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and include both the voucher and the confirmation.

Getting a Russian Visa Step 2: Prepare documentation.

Once you have purchased an invitation, you should have all of the following documents ready to send to the Russian embassy:

Visa invitation.

  • You should have obtained this in step 1, above.

Passport.

  • Must be valid for at least 6 months after the end of your proposed visit to Russia.
  • Your passport must have at least one empty page in it.

Passport-sized photograph.

  • Photograph not more than 6 months old.
  • In colour.
  • Printed on normal photographic paper.
  • Glued to the correct section of the application form.

Completed visa application form.

  • Download the correct visa application form.
  • US citizens must complete a separate form.
  • We provide a complete guide to completing the application form for all visa support customers.

Other requirements.

  • Contact the Consulate directly in order to find out their visa processing time and charges.
  • Check with the Consulate you intend to use in case they have any special requirements.

Getting a Russian Visa Step 3: Submit your application.

You can send your application by post or take it to the embassy in person. You can find contact details for Russian Consulates and Embassies worldwide on our site.

Postal applications.

  • If the embassy you intend to use accepts postal applications (call the embassy to check), this is a simple but slower means of submitting your application for a visa.
  • If you use the postal option, the embassy should return your passport to you by post with the visa attached inside.

Applications in person.

  • If applying in person, call the embassy to check opening hours and then arrive as early as possible to avoid queues.
  • Depending on how much you pay, the embassy will take between 1 hour and 2 weeks to process your visa.

Getting a Russian Visa Step 4: Arrival in Russia.

Once you arrive in Russia, it is important that you follow the procedure for completing a migration card and registering your visa.

Migration cards.

  • You will receive a ‘migration card’ to complete either during your flight to Russia, or upon arrival at the border. The migration card is a simple document that requires basic passport details and will be stamped by a Russian immigration officer at the border. The officer will take one half of the card, but will leave the other half with you.
  • You must ensure you keep the remaining part of the migration card, as it must be handed in upon your departure from Russia.
  • You can read more about migration cards and how to complete them on this site.

Registration.

  • All visitors must register their arrival if staying more than 3 working days in Russia (this does not include weekends or public holidays).
  • Your hotel or hostel will usually take care of your registration on your behalf. If you are not staying in a hotel or hostel (for example, if you are staying in a private flat), you should read our guide to registration.
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