Step-by-step Guide for Russian Visa Procedure

Travelers from most Western countries are required to obtain a visa when going to Russia. Good news is that all of our package tours already include full visa processing or comprehensive visa assistance, so you don't have to worry about anything. However, when you apply for a Russian visa on your own the entire procedure can be rather complicating and discouraging. We have prepared a detailed step-by-step guide on how to apply for a Russian visa.
A Russian visa is an official stamp which is placed in your passport at the Russian Consulate. In order to apply for a Russian tourist visa, you will first need to obtain an official Russian visa invitation from a licensed Russian travel company (you can arrange it with us). Once you have your invitation, go through the checklist below to ensure you're all set up to apply for a Russian visa at the Consulate:

Documents required to apply for a Russian visa

  • Official Russian visa invitation (sometimes also called visa voucher)

  • Filled out and printed Russian visa application form. The form must be filled out on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: https://visa.kdmid.ru/PetitionChoice.aspx

    * Please note: be careful when filling out your form and provide as much information as possible. If you make a typo or provide insufficient information, the Consulate might reject your visa application without providing any explanation and the whole procedure will then need to be restarted.

  • Original passport, must be valid 6 months after arrival from Russia. Must have at least 2 consecutive empty pages for the visa stamp

  • 2 passport-size photos (photo size: 2 x 2 inches for US or 3.5 x 4.5 cm for Australia, New Zealand and Canada; photos must be recent and taken against a white background)

Standard visa application process by the Consulate

  • Usually it takes up to 3 weeks for the Consulate to process your documents and issue your visa. If you need it urgently the procedure can be expedited for extra charge.

    * Processing time and consular fees may vary from country to country.

  • The Consulate may request you to provide additional documents and information such as travel insurance, hotel reservation confirmation, roundtrip tickets to Russia, a contract for provision of tourist services, a detailed itinerary in Russia.

    * Please note: official statistics show that about 70% of submissions "on your own" fail after the first attempt due to complex requirements for visa documentation. If you do not want to jeopardize your trip with visa complications, we recommend using our paid visa services that include an official visa invitation and a full document preparation service. Browse visa services

Important notes about the Russian visa process

  • The ideal time to start your visa procedure is 2-3 months prior to departure. Please note that we recommend not to make any non-refundable bookings for your trip until you receive your passport with the visa stamp back from the Consulate.

  • If you plan to enter the country more than once during your trip, you are required to have a double-entry or multi-entry visa.

  • Please note that you can not have 2 valid Russian visas in your passport. In order to obtain a new visa, the Consulate has to cancel the old one and issue a new one.

  • Travelers with a dual citizenship, one of which is Russian, have to travel with a valid Russian passport.

Quick facts about our visa services