Russian Visas: Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a Russian visa?

The answer is almost certainly yes. You can find a list of the countries with visa-free travel regimes here, and details of the limited opportunities to visit St. Petersburg by ship without a visa. In all other cases, no matter what the purpose of your visit, you will need a Russian visa to enter the Russian Federation.

Can I get a Russian visa on arrival?

No. Russian visas are only issued at Russian Consulates and Embassies (or, in some cases, at designated agencies sub-contracted by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs). Moreover, depending on your nationality, you may not be able to apply for a Russian visa at all consular departments. As a rule of thumb, Russian consular departments will only issue visas to nationals who can prove that they are entitled to live in the country where they are applying for at least six months. Before ordering visa support documents, you should always check where you are going to make your visa application.

What type of Russian visa do I need?

There are various different types of Russian visa depending on the length of your stay and the purpose of your visit. If you are planning to stay in the country for no more than 30 days, then a single-entry Tourist Visa is all you require no matter what the purpose of your trip is. Saint-Petersburg.Com can provide you with the visa support documents required to apply for a Tourist Visa free of charge if you are booking accommodation with us. If you are not booking accommodation with us, or if you require long-stay or multi-entry visas, please read our Russian Visa Guide for more information.

How can Saint-Petersburg.Com help me get a Russian visa?

If you are booking accommodation with us - at hotels, hostels, or apartments - we can provide you free of charge with the visa support documents necessary to apply for a Russian Tourist Visa. You can also order invitations and visa support documents for other types of Russian visa from our partners through our website.

What are visa support documents?

In the case of a Russian Tourist Visa, visa support documents consist of a Tourist Confirmation and a Tourist Voucher confirming that you have booked accommodation for your stay in Russia. Most consular departments will accept faxed or scanned copies of these documents (one side of A4 paper) but you should check before you apply - we can courier the original documents to you for an additional fee. Other types of visa require an Invitation issued by the Russian Ministry of the Interior, and in most cases consular departments require the original copy. You can order visa support for other types of visa - or for Tourist Visas if you are not booking with us - from our partners through our website.

What else do I need to apply for a Russian visa?

Requirements vary depending on your nationality and where you are applying. All details should be checked with the Russian consular department where you plan to apply for your visa. In most cases, you will need to have a passport valid for at least six months after your planned trip to Russia, and with at least two blank pages. You will also normally have to show evidence that you have health insurance valid in Russia for the length of your stay. In addition, you will have to complete and submit the correct application form (US and Georgian citizens have to complete a special form), and supply recent passport photographs (again, the number and format may vary from consulate to consulate). If you are applying for a visa for longer than three months, you may also have to provide the results of an HIV test.

What is visa registration?

When you arrive in the Russian Federation, the "receiving party" (the company or individual who has provided you with visa support documents and/or is providing you with accommodation) is obliged to register you with the local authorities within seven working days. If you are staying in a hotel or apartment booked through us, then your visa will be registered by the accommodation provider free of charge or for a small fee. If you are ordering visa support from other providers (including those advertised on this website) then they will be able to inform you about the process for registering your visa when you arrive. More information about registration.

What do I do if my visa is lost or stolen?

If you lose your visa and/or passport during your stay in Russia, don't panic. Provided you follow the correct procedures, you can easily be issued with an exit visa by the local authorities. You will need to contact the police to file an official report of the theft/loss, your consulate or embassy to obtain a new passport, and the person or organization who has issued your visa support documents. Click here to find out more about lost or stolen documents.

How quickly can I obtain a Russian visa?

This varies according to the Consulate or Embassy at which you are applying and the type of visa you are applying for. Most consular departments will offer a same-day or 24-hour express service for processing Tourist Visa applications, although this will incur an extra fee. If you have booked accommodation with us, we will issue your visa support documents within one working day of having received your request so it is possible, depending on your circumstances, to obtain a Russian visa in less than 48 hours. If you are making an urgent application for a Russian visa and have already booked accommodation with us, please contact us by phone to ensure that we process your support documents as quickly as possible.