Russia is not a popular country to visit for Australians, but if you are visiting Europe, you should definitely consider stopping in Russia for a week. Before doing that, you have to get your visa to Russia.
It is among the most extraordinary countries in the world. With its long history and different periods, from the Tsarist Era to the Soviet Union, Russia offers a wide range of architectural beauties, cultural buildings, and stunning natural landscapes. For a long time, Russia was out of reach. Especially during the Soviet Union. Many people consider this country to be difficult and inaccessible. In this article, I will try to 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 Australian 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 Australia need a Russian Visa?
Yes. As an Australian 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 Australia. 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 Australians
The Russian tourist visa is the easiest to get for citizens of Australia. 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 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.
I have written a complete guide on obtaining a tourist visa to Russia. It is written for citizens of the UK, however, the process of application is the same for Australians.
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 Australia 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 USD / ~ 24 AUD, and you receive the invitation to your e-mail, usually within a couple of hours after making the payment.
To complete the form:
- Define your nationality
- Choose the category of your Visa (Business or Tourist)
- Define the dates of your visa
- Define the type of visa (single or double, depending on the number of entries into the country)
- Then, enter the number of visitors.
Below, you will see the total price for the invitation.
To complete the second form:
- Enter your first name(s)
- Enter your name
- Enter your date of birth
- Enter your gender
- Enter your passport number (visible at the bottom of your passport)
To complete the third form:
- Enter the city where you will reside
- Enter the name of the hotel
- Enter the exact address (visible on Google Map)
Repeat this process for all the cities where you will visit.
Finally, enter your email address in the corresponding field, as well as special instructions (if you have any). Thereafter, you will have to make a totally secure payment (with a Credit Card or PayPal).
Russian tourist visa invitation from VisaPartner
VisaPartner 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 USD / ~ 26 AUD.
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.
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.
Private Visa to Russia for Australians
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 Australians 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 / ~ 115 AUD. The private invitation will have to be sent to the foreign visitor in original, which means payment of the delivery to Australia.
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 Australia 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 Australia can be up to 3 years.
I have written a complete, step-by-step guide on how to get a business visa. It is written for the citizens of the UK, but the application process is the same for Australians.
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:
- Invitation from an organization;
- Invitation letter from FMS (Federal Migration Office);
Out of the three possibilities, I recommend getting the invitation from an organization.
- 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 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.
Below, you can find the application steps.
- Define the length of stay and type of Visa Support
- Enter traveler information (Gender, Date of Birth, Passport, Scan…)
- Define the information about your workplace (Name/Job/Address)
- Choose the cities you will visit
- Define the Russian consulate where you are applying for a visa
- Enter the latest information required to receive the Visa
Invitation Letter for 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 USD / ~ 116 AUD.
The steps for ordering the invitation are presented below.
- Define your identity (Name / E-mail)
- Define Visa information (Type/Purpose/Period/Entries/Date)
- Define Passport information(Name/Surname/Number/Gender/Scan)
- Define Birth and Living information
- Define work information (Job/Adress/Name)
- Define the travel route
Working Visa to Russia for Australian 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 Australia 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 Australia
A visa to Russia for Australians will be issued by a Russian institution in Australia.
Below, you can find the complete list of Russian consulates and Embassies in Australia:
Russian Embassy in Canberra
Address: 78 Canberra Avenue, Griffith, Canberra, ACT 2603
Phone: +61 (2) 6295-9474, 629-59033;
Fax: +61 (2) 6295-1847;
E-mail: [email protected]
Schedule: 9:00 – 13:00 (Closed on weekends)
Russian Consulate in Sydney
Address: 7-9 Fullerton Street, Woollahra, NSW 2025, Australia
Phone: +61 (2) 9326-1866, +61 (2) 9326-1702, +61 (2) 9326-1188, +61 (2) 9363-5391;
Fax: +61 (2) 9327-5065;
E-mail: [email protected]
Schedule: 09:00 – 13:00 (Closed on weekends)