What is a Russian Business visa?
Your main priority before going to Russia is to get a Russian visa. You need to know what type of visa you should obtain prior to your travel. The most common one is the tourist visa, but if you need to stay for a long period or for a specific purpose such as affairs, you might consider getting a business visa.
Indeed, a business visa is provided to travelers who are coming to Russia for official or private business (for example: carrying out a commercial activity or conducting professional negotiations). It is also the best option for people who do not know their exact itinerary, who want to be in Russia for more than 30 days or who want to enter the country several times in a certain period. It can be delivered for a single or a double-entry up to 90 days. But also for multiple entries up to 12 months.
Read more about the Russian Business visa in my detailed guide.
Please note, according to Russian law, the business visa is granted for a stay in the country of 90 days maximum every 180-day period. In other terms, if you have a multiple entry business visa and that you are staying for 3 months in a row, you could only return to Russia only after 3 months.
Also, be aware a business visa doesn’t provide you with a work permit. It means that you cannot be employed in Russia, if you want a work authorization you must apply for a work visa. It also means that you cannot expect any kind of remuneration in Russia.
Russian business visa requirements
In order to obtain a business visa, you need to complete several requirements.
- First of all, you need to have a valid passport, in good condition (no scratch or damages) with at least two blank pages. Your passport must be valid for a minimum of 6 months period after the expiry date of your visa.
- You will also need two recent ID photos (six months old maximum), in color, showing clearly your face without facial expression or any kind of accessories such as glasses or hat. The dimension of your picture must be 3.5cm x 4.5cm (1.18 by 1.57 inch).
- You must obtain an invitation letter before to complete the online visa application form as information from the invitation is necessary to complete it (such as the invitation number, the name of the organization inviting you, the tax identification number and the address). This original invitation letter can be provided by an authorized Russian company, by the Russian Ministry of foreign affairs or the Ministry of Interior affairs as well as its representatives. Once you get your invitation, you have to fill in the business visa application form. You have to fill in the document, print it twice and sign both copies. For your information, at the end of your online application, you will be asked to choose between several options regarding your visa issuing office. Select the Russian consulate or the visa application center of your choice. You will have to visit this place and submit in person all the documents listed in this section in order to receive your visa.
- To get your visa you also have to pay fees. Your expense might change depending on the type of visa you are applying for (single, double or multiple entries). It is necessary to foresee 82 pounds for a double-entry business visa. This price includes the cost of administering your application and your invitation letter fee. For European citizens, you must also provide medical assistance insurance covering the totality of your stay mentioned in your visa.
- Please note that if you already obtained in past a Russian visa, a copy of your previous visa must be enclosed to your new request.
The visa application process can take time. It is the reason why you should start your application at least 45 days before your travel. Note that you cannot start your application more than 90 days ahead.
Russian business visa invitation letter
Remember, the business visa invitation letter is a document welcoming you in the Russian Federation. It allows Russian authorities to know the purpose and the legality of your stay. Even if you choose the business visa because of its flexibility and duration, you cannot provide an invitation letter mentioning activities such as ‘’sightseeing’’. Even if you don’t really conduct any business operation, it’s important to get an invitation letter from one of the services mentioned below and to indicate a business, commercial or professional intent.
As previously mentioned, you cannot fill in the visa application form without getting your Russian business invitation letter before. This letter can also be called sometimes business visa support letter. You can obtain this document in different ways. You can get it directly from the FMS (Ministry of Interior Affairs), or from an authorized Russian company.
If you want to travel in Russia to pursue a business activity with a Russian company legally established in the country, you have to ask the company to arrange an invitation letter through the FMS. The company inviting you has to complete an application at the FMS and provide all the information and documents required in order for them to issue an invitation. The invitation can be provided in paper or electronic format (electronic business invitation letter with FMS bar code). The application to obtain the invitation letter with FMS bar code is the same as the application to obtain the paper version. The only difference is this type of online invitation is submitted directly by the FMS to the Consulate. In this way, the inviting company does not have to send you the paper document and can save some time and money.
You can also get the invitation letter from the organization itself as long as this one has been legally registered at the Federal Migration Services of Russia. This possibility is only offered to the EU and US American citizens according to the simplified visa agreements between those countries and the Russian Federation.
In certain situations, it is also possible to purchase a business invitation letter online. For example from our partner Russia Support. This option is offered to the residents of the Schengen area countries, but also to the US American, Chinese and Japanese citizens. By using this online service you can get your document within 5 minutes only. For a single entry business invitation, the prices start from around 40 pounds for a single-entry invitation. Once you paid you can download the invitation and print it in color.
For the people not living in the countries mentioned above, you can also ask for an invitation directly from the FMS. This can be done through the Russia Support website. It will cost around 45 pounds for 3 months up to 75 pounds for a year. The invitation will be submitted directly by the FMS to the Consulate in 16 working days. In order to apply for this invitation, you will have to complete the correct form but also provide a scan of your passport data.
You can also get an invitation letter by using the MFA service. It will take a few weeks in order for you to receive your invitation (as it’s a paper invitation only). This process is known to be longer and more expensive but available for all the countries.
Get your business invitation from Russia Support
Define your personal information: name and email
Define the type of visa, the reason for the visit, the period, the number of entries, the urgency and finally the date of entry
Provide your citizenship, first name, last name, passport information (passport number, validity date), gender, date of birth and passport scan.
Enter your country of birth, your city of birth, and the country and city in which you currently reside.
Define your company, work address, role in the company, telephone number, and consulate.
Define your travel route, the cities in which you will reside.
If you have additional documents to provide, you can upload them here.
After making the payment, you will receive your invitation by email within the next few minutes.
Russian Business invitation Letter (FMS) Example