Do I need a visa to enter Russia?

The majority of foreigners that go to Russia need a visa to enter the country. However there are around 40 nationalities which can enter Russia visa-free.

If you are a citizen of Great Britain or Ireland, you’ll need a visa.

How much does the visa cost?

The actual visa processing fee, called consular taxes: £70 for an ordinary visa -single entry- (processed within 5 working days) or £141 for an expedited Visa (processed in 1 day).

Along with the visa fees, there is a service charge applicable per visa application: Normal applications (5 working days service): £38.40 (inclusive of VAT) Urgent applications (next working day service): £45.60 (inclusive of VAT)

Where can I get a visa?

You should obtain a visa in your country of residence before your trip. A Russian visa cannot be obtained on the border when entering the country.

In the UK the tourist visa application is processed by the agency accredited by the Russian Consulate in Spain called The Russian Visa Application Centre in London.

If you live abroad, you can apply for your visa from your country of residence at the Russian Consulate or in the  Russian visa center there. It depends on the country.

When should I apply for a visa?

The process of visa application can take time and we recommend you to start at least in 5 or 6 weeks before your trip (or even earlier if you are going to apply using the mail service).

The Russian Visa Center doesn’t accept documents for visa earlier than 6 months prior to the trip, so if you are going to Russia in August, you can start the application process at the Visa Center from February.

Should I send my passport in original to apply for a visa?

Yes, during the time of visa processing you will not be able to use your passport because it will be at the Russian Visa Center.
It happens so because the visa itself is a sticker which should be put into the page of your passport, which should be valid at least 6 months more since the expiry date of visa.

What’s the validity of my visa?

Maximum validity period of a tourist visa is 30 days and it can allow a single or double entry (for instance in case if you want to leave Russia and visit Helsinki, and afterwards return to the territory of Russia).

If you need to stay in Russia for a longer time or if you need to make more than double entry into the country you can apply for a business visa, which can last up to 1 year and even more. 

What happens if I am going to stay at my friends’ or relatives’ place?

In such case you can apply for a private visa. Your Russian friend should go to the Russian Federal Migration Service and make you a private invitation through this service.

In case of close relatives they can invite you directly through the Russian Consulate of Russia, but better is to make a tourist invitation.

The problem with private Russian visas is that they may take a lot of time to obtain and be quite complicated, so usually people prefer to make a tourist visa for short visits like this. After you obtain a tourist visa you can stay at your friend’s or relative’s place without any problem.

What documents do I need to enter Russia?

You will need your passport and your visa (in case your nationality doesn’t allow you to enter visa-free). It’s not necessary to carry the letter of invitation with you.

To leave the country you will need, apart from your passport and a visa, the migration card, which you will be given upon your entry to Russia.

What is the migration card?

When you arrive to Russia by plane and pass the migration control at the airport the migration officer will fill in your personal data, dates of entry and exit and the information on the agency which invites you in the migration card.

This card consists of two parts, which are identical. One of them remains with the migration officer, and the other is given to you to keep. You can keep it in the cover of your passport, don’t lose it!

You will need the migration card when you make registration at the hotel. Also you’ll need to give it back at the migration control when you leave the country.

Sometimes this card can be of use when we pass the border by train or road vehicle. You don’t need to worry as it’s very easy to fill in.

What is registration?

Registration is a process with the help of which Russian authorities can track your place of stay in case they need to reach you urgently. Registration should be done by the host – either the hotel, or the host of your apartment or house of stay.

In general, it’s necessary to make registration if you are going to stay in Russia over 7 working days. If you stay less, it’s not obligatory.

You don’t have to show the registration at the border pass in order to leave Russia.