Russia may not be on everyone’s travel list, but it should be!
It’s the most extraordinary countries in the world, with a matchless depth of cultural and historical riches, and landscapes that have inspired artists for generations. For a long time, Russia was out of reach. Especially during the Soviet Union. Many people consider this country to be difficult and inaccessible. We will prove otherwise.

Russia has opened up enormously to tourists, and those who have taken the plunge and traveled to the stunning country come back with an incredible treasure trove of memories – whether it is the glittering spires of St. Petersburg, the fabulous palaces of the Tsars or simply the haunting and unique landscape of the steppes. Below you will find the main reasons why the largest country in the world is worth a visit.

Russia is the ideal country to enjoy extensive road trips, thanks to the immense and diverse topography. The massive land is made of lakes, mountains, and vast plains. Just pack your bags and head to the amazingly wonderful land of Russia that is just perfect for a ‘road runner.’ Hit those empty stretches of highway roads in your car or a bike. Pack your shirts and duffel bags, sunglasses and cameras and drive through the beautiful country of Russia. This guide to road trip Russia will help you get ready.

In order to visit Russia, an American citizen must obtain a Russian visa first. Depending on the purpose of the visit, there are basically four types of visas: tourist, private, business and working visa to Russia.

In this article, I will explain the pros and cons of each type of visa as well as how to get one in the easiest way possible.

Do citizens of the United States need a visa to Russia?

Yes. As an American citizen, you will need to get a Russian visa before being able to enter the country. The visas are issued by Russian consulates and embassies in America. You can find the complete list of Russian consulates and embassies at the end of this article.

In order to apply for the visa, you will need an invitation to Russia. An invitation is a document that proves the purpose and the fact of your visit. For different types of visas, you will need different invitations (vouchers). Besides the invitation, you will need to fill an application form and pay the consulate fees.

Russian Tourist Visa for United States Citizens

The Russian tourist visa is the easiest to get for citizens of the United States. This visa is destined for the foreign citizens that are planning to visit Russia for sightseeing, cultural activities, hiking, and other typical tourist things.

In this article, you will find the step-by-step process of applying for a Russian visa (applicable for US citizens).

In order to apply for a Russian tourist visa, you will first need to get an invitation. The invitation consists of two parts: a tourist voucher and a confirmation of a visit of a foreign tourist. Both of these parts will be needed while filling the application for the visa itself.

A tourist invitation is typically offered by the hotel you will be staying in, but lately most hotels started to ask money for it. The other problem with the invitation to Russia issued by the hotel is that it is not viable if you plan to visit more than one city, and therefore stay in more than one hotel.

The easiest and cheapest way to get an invitation for a Russian tourist visa for United States citizens is to order it from specialized agencies like Russia Support or iVisa.

How to get an invitation for a Russian tourist visa?

You can easily get the invitation by ordering it from one of the above-mentioned agencies. I will guide you step-by-step through the process of getting the invitation, which is easy. After completing the ordering form and making the payment, you will receive the invitation, ready to print, on your e-mail within one working day.

Russian tourist visa invitation from Russia Support

Russia Support is one of the best invitation providers I have used myself. The price of an invitation is just $16.90, and you receive the invitation to your e-mail, usually within a couple of hours after making the payment.

You can start the process of getting your letter of invitation by clicking on this link.

To complete the form:

  1. Define your nationality
  2. Choose the category of your Visa (Business or Tourist)
  3. Define the dates of your visa
  4. Define the type of visa (single or double, depending on the number of entries into the country)
  5. Then, enter the number of visitors.

Below, you will have the total price of the visa. You can choose your preferred currency (USD) in the application form.

invitation for a Russian visa for US citizens

To complete the second form:

  1. Enter your first name(s)
  2. Enter your name
  3. Enter your date of birth
  4. Enter your gender
  5. Enter your passport number (visible at the bottom of your passport)

Invitation to Russia for Americans

To complete the third form:

  1. Enter the city where you will reside
  2. Enter the name of the hotel
  3. Enter the exact address (visible on Google Map)

Repeat this process for all the cities where you will reside in.

Russia support invitation - application form

Finally, enter your email address in the corresponding field, as well as the special instructions (if you have any). Thereafter, you will have to make a completely secure payment (by credit card or PayPal).

Russian Tourist Visa Invitation from iVisa

iVisa is another Russian invitations provider which I can totally recommend. I have used it myself a couple of times and my friends and family did as well. They charge a bit more for the invitation, $17.90.

A good thing about iVisa is that, after you fill and send the order form, you receive an e-mail with both the invitation and payment details. For those of you who are skeptical about buying the invitation online, it is a huge advantage as you receive the invitation BEFORE you make the payment. This, however, doesn’t mean that you can receive the invitation and not pay for it. The agency can call the embassy and let them know that your invitation is no longer valid.

Order your invitation from iVisa here.

As with the previous agency, you can find all the steps of ordering the invitation below.

Here, the process is relatively the same:

– Enter your contact information (name and e-mail)
– Define your identity (main citizenship / First name / Last name / Passport number / Gender / Date of birth)
– Define the information about your trip (period of the trip, number of entries, reason for the visit)
– Define the travel itinerary, hotel, address, etc.

Once again, be careful to respect the travel itinerary.

iVisa russian tourist visa invitation for US citizens

iVisa invitation for Russian tourist visa

Private Visa to Russia for United States Citizens

If you plan on visiting family or friends that live in Russia, you should apply for a Russian private visa. In this case, you will have to receive an invitation from the person that you are going to visit, a private invitation to Russia. It is harder to obtain a private visa, especially the invitation, this is why many Americans choose to apply for the tourist visa even if they are visiting friends or family in Russia.

The main reason why getting a private visitor visa is that the friend or family member you will be visiting will have to register you (the visitor) at the local Migration Service. In order to do that, the person will have to provide the following documents:

  • Copy of the foreign citizen passport
  • Copy of the host passport
  • Migration card completed by the foreigner
  • Written consent for registration of the foreign citizen, signed by each co-owner of the residence
  • Copy of the residential property ownership certificate
  • Filled out registration form

Besides the paperwork, the host will have to pay fines up to $80. The private invitation will have to be sent to the foreign visitor in original, which means payment of the delivery to America.

Even though I have many friends and even family members in Russia, I always choose to apply either for the business or tourist visa, because it is easier.

Russian Business Visa for United States Citizens

If you are planning to visit Russia for establishing a business relationship, signing documents, buying or merging companies, or any other activities related to business, you will have to get a Russian business visa.

Business visa offers you a longer period of stay compared to tourist and private visas, as well as the possibility to have multiple entries in the country. The maximum validity time of a Russian business visa for citizens of America can be up to 3 years.

Like all other visa types, for getting a business visa to Russia you will first have to obtain an invitation. There are three ways of obtaining an invitation for a Russian business visa:

  1. Invitation from an organization;
  2. Invitation letter from FMS (Federal Migration Office);
  3. Telex;

Out of the three possibilities, I recommend getting the invitation from an organization.

Here’s why:

  • It is the cheapest option;
  • You do not need to present the original document;
  • You receive the invitation directly to your e-mail.

Invitation Letter for a Russian Business Visa from Russia Support

Russia Support, as an organization registered and accredited with the FMS (Federal Migration Office), is able to issue invitations for business visas to Russia.

You can order a business invitation from Russia Support here.

Below, you can find the application steps.

  1. Again, define your identity and visa information.
  2. You will also need to provide information about your work, position, and address.

Russian business visa invitation for american citizens

Invitation Letter for a Russian Business Visa from Visa Partner

Another organization I can recommend for getting a business invitation letter is Visa Partner, they are also registered and accredited by FMS and offer the invitations really quick.

The price for getting an invitation for a business visa to Russia from Visa Partner is around $81.

Order your business visa invitation here.

The steps for ordering the invitation are presented below.

Russian business visa invitation from USA

Invitation letter for Russian Business Visa from USA

Invitation for a Russian Business visa for Americans - Visa Partner

Invitation letter for a Russian business visa from USA - Visa support form

Working visa to Russia for United States Citizens

If you received a job offer in Russia and are going there to work, you will have to apply for a Russian working visa. A working visa allows citizens of America to stay in Russia for a minimum of 1 year and up to 3 years, with the possibility of multiple entries.

The invitation for a working visa can only be issued by your future employer. Before issuing the invitation, the company that is going to employ you will have to register and obtain a work permit for a foreign citizen.

The invitation for a Russian working visa is issued on a special form of the FMS and is valid for a period of 90 days. Within this period, the foreign citizen will have to enter Russia and fulfill the migration registration, after which he or she will receive the normal Working Visa valid for up to three years.

When a Russian company is employing you, they will usually assist you with the documents and moving, so you should not worry about it as the company will tell you all you need to know.

Russian Consulates and Embassies in the United States

A visa to Russia for Americans will be issued by a Russian institution in the United States.

Below, you can find the complete list of Russian consulates and Embassies in the United States:

Embassy of the Russian Federation in the USA
in District of Columbia, DC
2650 Wisconsin Avenue, NW
20007
Washington DC
District of Columbia
United States
Phone : +1-202-2985700
Email: embassy@russianembassy.org
Website: https://washington.mid.ru/en/
Working hours:
Monday-Friday: 9.00 a.m. – 4.00 p.m. (Passports pick up: 2.00 p.m. – 4.00 p.m)
Technical break: 1.00 p.m. – 2.00 p.m.

Consulate General of the Russian Federation in Houston
in Houston, TX
1333 West Loop South, Ste.1300
TX 77027
Phone : +1-713-337-3300
Email: info@rusconshouston.org
Website: http://www.rusconhouston.mid.ru/
Working hours:
Monday-Friday: 9.00 a.m. – 4.00 p.m. (Passports pick up: 2.00 p.m. – 4.00 p.m.)
Technical break: 1 p.m. – 2.00 p.m.

Consulate General of the Russian Federation in San Francisco
in San Francisco, CA
2790 Green Street
CA., 94123
Phone : +1-415-928-6878
Email: consulsf@sbcglobal.net
Website: https://sanfrancisco.mid.ru/en_US/
Working hours:
Monday-Friday: 9.00 a.m. – 4.00 p.m. (Passports pick up: 2.00 p.m. – 4.00 p.m.)
Technical break: 1 p.m. – 2.00 p.m.

Consulate General of the Russian Federation in New York
in New York, NY
9 East 91 Street
NY, 10128
Phone : +1-212-348-1717
Email: mail@ruscon.org
Website: http://www.ruscon.org
Working hours:
Monday-Friday: 9.00 a.m. – 4.00 p.m. (Passports pick up: 2.00 p.m. – 4.00 p.m.)
Technical break: 1p.m. – 2.00 p.m.

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