Most people who travel to Russia do so through a tourist visa, which allows a maximum stay of 30 days. The business visa, on the other hand, allows longer stays and greater flexibility. In this article, I’ll explain how to process the Russian business visa and how to compile all the documentation electronically in 1 hour (including the business invitation letter).

How to obtain a business visa to Russia?

Before explaining step by step how to apply for a business visa, it is necessary to explain some basic aspects.

What is a Russian business visa?

The business visa is a type of visa that is issued to foreigners for stays in Russia for business reasons. It is not a work visa, so it does not allow to do any kind of work or receive any type of remuneration in Russia.

It is a visa to develop commercial activities or carry out negotiations in the territory of the Russian Federation.

Basically, it is a visa for foreign workers who travel to Russia on a regular basis for business reasons and are invited by a Russian company. For this reason, it allows a stay of more than 30 days (maximum allowed by a tourist visa) and it has more flexibility (since it can be one, two or multiple travels).

Who can apply for the business visa to Russia?

In essence, the business visa can be requested by foreign people who have a business in Russia and are invited by a Russian company.

However, in practice, it is a type of visa that is also usually requested by people who want to visit the country for a period exceeding 30 days (maximum allowed by the tourist visa) or who will make multiple visits to the country.

If you need to get a tourist visa to Russia, check out my article on this topic.

Examples of this type of travelers are: tourists who visit the country for more than 30 days, foreigners who visit the country less than 30 days but who need to make more than two visits to the country (since they visit several countries bordering Russia), foreigners who have a partner or friends in Russia and want to stay longer than 30 days, travelers who need more flexibility to travel, etc.

We must have in mind that the business visa is not aimed at this last class of travelers, but the Russian authorities have always been permissive with this practice (maybe one day it will change).

Examples of this type of travelers are: tourists who visit the country for more than 30 days, foreigners who visit the country less than 30 days but who need to make more than two visits to the country (since they visit several countries bordering Russia), foreigners who have a partner or friends in Russia and want to stay longer than 30 days, travelers who need more flexibility to travel, etc.

We must have in mind that the business visa is not aimed at this last class of travelers, but the Russian authorities have always been permissive with this practice (maybe one day it will change).

How long can you stay in Russia with a Business Visa?

The business visa validity period can be of 30, 90, 180 or 365 days (even more in certain cases). However, even if your business visa is valid for 1 year, it will allow you a maximum stay of 90 days within a period of 180 days.

The business visa can be one entry, double-entry or multiple entries.

For example, if you process a business visa with multiple entries and 6 months, you can stay in Russia for a maximum of 90 days over these 6 months. If you get a multi-entry 1-year business visa, then you can stay in Russia for 180 days in a year: 90 days during the first semester and 90 days during the second semester. It must be clear that you cannot stay for more than 90 days without leaving the country.

Where to process a business visa?

You can complete the business visa process in 3 ways:

  • At the Russian Embassy in London. The advantage is that it is a little cheaper: you save the management costs of the Russian Visa Center and only pay the consular fees of ~30 pounds. The disadvantage is that the process can only be face-to-face, you must have a prior appointment and the business hours are tight.
  • The Russian Visa Center is an agency authorized by the Consulate, where you can perform the management both in person and by courier and they offer a longer time. The disadvantage is that they apply management costs of ~20 pounds that add up to ~30 euros of consular fees (in total, ~50 pounds)
  • Through private agencies. There are many agencies that carry out the procedure, although you may pay an additional processing fee for the services they provide.

Business Visa to Russia: Cost

The Russian business visa is more expensive than a tourist visa. The cost is divided into three parts:

  • Consular fees: 30 pounds (if you process the visa at the Russian Visa Center you must add 20 pounds of management costs).
  • Invitation letter: getting an invitation letter from our partner directly on this site, will cost you around 64 pounds. Below you will find a step-by-step guide for getting the invitation.
  • Travel insurance to Russia: with Axa Assistance 3-month medical insurance costs about 90 pounds.

In total, a three months business visa to Russia with a double entry will cost you around 175 pounds (half of this cost corresponds to medical insurance).

If the visa is for 1 year and multiple entries, the price is higher since you have to take into account that the invitation letter is more expensive and that it is mandatory to carry out insurance for 1 year.

When to start the process?

It is advisable to start the procedure well in advance if there is any unforeseen event. At least 45 days in advance and a maximum of 90 days in advance. Keep in mind that the Russian Visa Center does not process visas more than 90 days in advance.

How to Get the Russian Business Visa?

Russian Business Visa
Source: https://www.politico.eu

To obtain the business visa it is necessary to present the following documentation:

  1. Original passport, a copy is not allowed.
  2. Business invitation letter. Below I explain the different types and how to get one in a few minutes.
  3. Medical assistance insurance. It must cover the visa validity period, that is, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months or 1 year, regardless of whether the period of effective stay in Russia is lower.
  4. Visa application form. You must fill it electronically, print it, sign it and affix a passport-sized photograph to it.
  5. Proof of fees payment (in the case of paying by transfer).

Step 1. Have a valid passport

To process the Russian business visa it is essential to have a passport (DNI is not valid), which must have a minimum validity of 6 months from the date of finalization of your trip to Russia.

A very important aspect is that the passport cannot have any scratch or damage because otherwise, it is very possible that they do not admit it and you will have to request a new one.

IMPORTANT: to process the visa you must submit (or send by courier) the ORIGINAL PASSPORT (a copy is not allowed), since the visa is a document that is attached to the passport itself.

Step 2. Get a Russian Business Invitation Letter

 

Russian business visa invitation FMS

To process the Russian business visa it is mandatory to have a business invitation letter, which you can obtain in two ways:

  1. Through the Russian company that invites you. If you have business to do in Russia, you should contact the company with which you are going to maintain commercial activities or negotiations, so that this company will process an invitation letter through the Main Directorate for Migration Affairs of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia (abbreviated GUVM and formerly known as FMS). The Russian company will know how to process this invitation letter, which can be in paper format (requires mailing) or in electronic format.
  2. On your own, buying an invitation letter. There are several agencies through which it is possible to buy a business invitation letter. These can be basically four types:
  • An original invitation letter written on paper from the Main Directorate for Migration Affairs. The process can take between 2 and 3 weeks and the letter must be sent by mail.
  • An electronic invitation with a barcode that will be sent to you by e-mail and which you will print. It does not require to be sent by mail. The procedure is a little faster, between 1 and 2 weeks.
  • An electronic invitation code (called Telex), which is sent directly to the Consulate where you are going to process the visa. Simply indicate this code in the visa application form. The process takes between 1 and 2 weeks.
  • An invitation from a Russian accredited organization. This is the best option since it can be obtained in 5 minutes online and is cheaper than the previous ones. Thus, to improve trade relations between Russia and the countries of the Schengen Area (EU countries included), USA, Japan and China, accredited Russian organizations can issue business invitation letters with their logo, seal and signature, within the framework of a simplified visa regime. For example, through our partner agency, it is possible to obtain a business invitation letter from a Russian accredited agency in a couple of days, ready to download, print in color and present along with the rest of the documentation. Below you will find a guide on how to apply online.

Order an Invitation from VisaPartner

You can order an invitation for your Russian business visa directly on this site. I negotiated a very good price with the agency I am always using to get my own invitations. Click the link below and follow the steps in order to get your invitation for as low as 64 pounds.

Get your invitation here.

Fill in your personal and visa information

Invitation for Russian business visa application

  1. Indicate your full name and e-mail (where you will receive additional information regarding your invitation).
  2. In the “Visa Information” fields, choose the type of invitation (electronic or blank), I would suggest electronically. For a business visa, choose “Business” as the purpose of the visit.
  3. Choose the period of your stay. In the example below, John Smith is going to have a 1-year visa.
  4. Choose the number of entries. If you plan to enter Russia just once for the period of your visa – choose “Single entry”. If you will enter twice – choose “Double entry”. If you will need to enter the country more than two times – choose “Multiple entries”.
  5. Urgency. Indicate how urgent is receiving the invitation for you. The soonest you can get the invitation is 6 working days and the latest 15 working days.
  6. Entry at. Choose the date of your first entry in Russia.

Fill in your Passport information

Russian business visa invitation application - Passport Information

Fill in all the fields with data from your passport.
Note! Double-check for errors and typos as these can lead to errors in your invitation

Fill in your working information

Russian business visa invitation - working information

  1. Fill in the fields with information about your work.
  2. Consulate – choose the nearest consulate to you, where you plan to apply for your visa.
    Travel Route – indicate the cities you are going to travel to.
  3. Additional documents – if needed, upload any additional documents. If you don’t know what you should upload or don’t have any additional documents to upload, leave this field blank.

Receive the payment details and review your order

After submitting the invitation application form, you will receive an e-mail on the address you provided, usually within 24 hours. Check the e-mail for further instructions.

Order an invitation from Russia Support

Russia Support is another company that provides invitations for Russian visas. I trust this company because I ordered invitations from them myself and recommended it to my friends and family before.

You can order a business invitation from Russia Support here.

Length of stay and type of Invitation

  1. Choose your citizenship;
  2. Choose “Business Visa” in the “Visa Category” field;
  3. Choose “eFMS invitation (electronic)” in the “Invitation Types” field;
  4. Choose the duration period that your business visa to Russia will be (from 1-month to 1-year);
  5. Choose the entry dates, the date when you will first enter in Russia;

Visa information for Invitation to Russia

Personal Information

  1. Enter your name, surname, date of birth, and gender;
  2. Write your passport number and it’s validity dates;
  3. Upload a scan of the main page of your passport for verification of the introduced data;

Personal information for ordering an invitation to Russia

Place of Work and Cities of Stay

  1. Introduce the name of the company you currently work at;
  2. Specify your position, if you are the owner of the company that’s what you should write;
  3. Introduce the company address (country, city, street and phone number);
  4. Indicate all the cities you plan to stay in during your trip to Russia

Place of work for Business invitation

Consulate and Delivery data

  1. Choose the nearest consulate to your residential address, to which you plan to go for applying for the Russian business visa;
  2. Provide your e-mail for receiving the invitation;
  3. If there are any special instructions that you want to leave for the invitation provider, there is a field for that;
  4. Agree to the Terms of Service and go to the next steps;

Russian business visa invitation delivery address

Payment and Invitation Delivery

  1. On the next page, you can verify if all the information you provided is right.
  2. On the next page, you can choose the preferred payment type (PayPal or Card)
  3. After you make the payment, you will receive your business visa invitation within the next hours on the e-mail you provided.

Step 3. Complete the application form

Once all the documentation has been collected (passport, business invitation letter, and travel insurance), you already have all the necessary information to complete the application form.

To fill in the electronic form click here.

The form is filled in the same way as the tourist visa application form so I will not repeat all the steps in this article, although I will point out the small differences that must be taken into account.

Details about the type of visa

Regarding the type of visa, the following fields of the application form should be filled as shown below:

  • Purpose of visit (section): BUSINESS VISITS;
  • Purpose of visit: BUSINESS;
  • Visa category and type: COMMON BUSINESS;
  • Number of entries: number of entries according to your business invitation letter, which can be one (single), two (double) or multiple (multiple);
  • Date of entry into Russia / Date of exit from Russia: as specified in your invitation letter, which can be a period of 1 month, 3 months (as in the example below), 6 months or 1 year.

Business visa to Russia application 1

Inviting entity details

If you use the invitation letter from the Russia Support agency, you will have to fill in the following fields:

  • Which institution are you going to visit? Organization
  • Name of organization: Name of the company where you ordered the invitation
  • Address: Address of the company that provided the invitation
  • TIN (Tax Identification Number): TIN of the company that provided the invitation
  • Invitation number: 0S0010XXX (each invitation letter has a different number)

Business visa to Russia application 2

Work information

You must indicate again your work information and the ones that also appear in your invitation letter. The company’s name, position, address, telephone and company email. If you do not work for someone else, you can indicate autonomous and commercial.

Business visa to Russia from UK

Step 4. Present all the documentation and pay the fees

Once you have all the documentation, you can complete the process at the following locations:

  1. Russian Consulates in UK. The process is in person and you must request an appointment. Payment can be made by bank card at the time of the documentation submission (cash is not accepted). Request for a prior appointment in London.
  2. Russian Visa Center of London. The process can be done in two ways:
  • Face-to-face processing. It is not necessary to make an appointment and you can pay at their offices by credit card (credit or debit). You can also pay in advance by bank transfer or transfer to the account of the Visa Center (you must bring proof of payment)
  • Through courier service. You can use any courier service to send the documentation (they do not support certified mail). You must pay by bank transfer and attach the proof of payment along with the rest of the documentation.

To take into account: If you apply for a visa at the offices of the Russian Visa Center in London, you must complete the “Received” form.

Now that you almost got your Russian Business Visa, you should read my 10 tips on How to Avoid Losing Your Luggage.

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