Tourist Visa is required if you enter Russia for tourism or leisure purposes. This visa is easiest to get and the least expensive of all visas, so it’s perfect for tourists. It allows either a single or double visit and can be valid for up to 30 days. If you are an American citizen you can get 3-year multiple-entry tourist visa for a stay of no more than 6 months starting from the date of each entry.
Before applying for a tourist visa, you’ll need to get an invitation (visa support letter). It can be obtained through your hotel or an approved travel agent who deals with trips to Russia, and should be valid for the entire duration of your trip. An invitation contains two documents – one a ‘Tourist Voucher’ showing that your hotel or apartment reservation has been paid for or booked, the other a ‘Tourist Confirmation’ document.
Tourist visa is not required if you travel on board large cruise ship or ferry and the overall period of your stay in Russia is no more than 72 hours.
Private visas are designed for those visiting friends or family in Russia. It can be valid for up to 90 days and allows a maximum of two entries.
To obtain a visa you must have an original invitation letter issued by one of the Federal Migration Service offices. The process of obtaining such an invitation is time consuming and difficult (especially for your friends or relatives) and may take up to three months.
Please note that there is a simplified visa application procedure for the family members of Russian citizens accompanying them to Russia. Applications are accepted from citizens of the Russian Federation lawfully staying in the UK who must be present in person at the time of application submission to sign the visa request form. The inviting person is also responsible for registration a foreign citizen with the local branch of the Federal Migration Service within 7 working days after foreigner citizen’s arrival to Russia.
This Private visa is valid for up to 3 months and can be issued for single or double entry.
Education in Russia is mainly provided by the state and is regulated by the Ministry of Education and Science. Universities offer different undergraduate and postgraduate courses in one of the fast-growing economies in the world. As the majority of courses are taught in Russian some universities offer one-year preparatory courses for international students to help them to get up to the required standard quickly.
If you wish to study in Russia you will probably need to get a visa. A Student Visa is granted to those who are enrolled in a course of study in Russia. Once you’ve been offered a place to study in Russia, the university’s international department will provide you with an original letter of invitation issued by a Russian Federal Migration Service agency. Apart from invitation you will also need to provide the following documents: the current passport, the application form, the passport size photo and HIV test. Self-employed and unemployed applicants will need to provide bank statements for the last three months with a minimum balance of £100 per day for the duration of their stay.
Student visa is valid for up to 90 days and then, if necessary, can be extended for up to 1 year. It can be issued for single or double entry.
Business visas are intended for foreign citizens who travel to Russia for business purposes such as signing contracts and attending meetings and conferences. This type of visa does not mean official employment in Russia (for this purpose you will need to apply for a work visa).
Single-entry and double-entry Business visas can be issued for up to 90 days. Multiple-entry Business visa can be valid for up to 1 year. Foreign citizens arriving to Russia on multiple-entry business visas are authorized to stay in Russia no more than 90 days in each 180-day period.
You will not need to show hotel reservation or an itinerary to get a business visa. However you are required to show Invitation issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry or its regional representatives or by an appropriate Russian Federation Migration Service branch.
Please note, according to the Russian law, your visa must be registered within 7 working days upon arrival to Russia. This process should normally be organized by the company or organization which issued you with an Invitation.
Work visa is required in case you have an official employment contract in Russia. There are two types of work visas:
- Single/double-entry Work visa which is valid for up to 90 days. This visa can later be extended up to 1 year allowing multiple entries.
- Highly skilled migrant visa which is issued for up to 3 years and allows multiple entries.
To be considered a highly skilled specialist, a foreign national should have an ‘appropriate salary’ such as:
1) One million roubles per year – for research workers or teachers, provided such persons are invited by higher educational institutions accredited by the government, state academies of science or their regional branches, national research centers or state research centers, for scientific-research or teaching activity;
2) Two million roubles per year – for other foreign nationals.
The requirement of salary level does not apply to foreign nationals participating in “Skolkovo” Project.
Russian immigration law is constantly changing and often confounding to those unfamiliar with the rules, procedures, and practices. For in depth advice relating to your specific needs and information about other visa categories, please feel free to contact a Russian lawyer in the UK on 02035812620.