All foreigners (except
citizens of some former Soviet republics) visiting Russia need
a visa. In order to get one, travelers need an invitation from
a Russian citizen or a company, which is then taken to a
Russian embassy or consulate, where the actual visa is issued.
Within three business days of arrival in Russia, the visa
needs to be registered by the person/organization that issued
the invitation. If you don't make it through this bureaucratic
loop, you may have problems leaving the country.
Although it is
possible to arrange your own Russian visa, most travelers choose
to hire a visa service to do the work. Russian consulates have
many options for visa processing, from a regular 2-week (cheapest)
processing, to a very fast (and terribly expensive) same-day
processing. If you live in a city with a Russian consulate, you
may save some money by going and applying on your own. Beware,
that most Russian consulates only accept paperwork early in the
But if you want to make sure you get your visa on time and without
losing any sleep over it, hiring an experienced visa-expediting
agency is the way to go. Since Russian visa also involves getting
a Russian invitation, you want to deal only with those agencies
that can assist you in both. Invitations can cost anything up to
and beyond $300, depending on the type and the speed of service.
For an extra $30-$70, agencies will offer full processing
(invitation, taking visa to a consulate and sending it back to
you). The best services will take care of registering the visa
when you arrive in Russia. Given that each Russian consulate and
embassy has different tastes and temperaments, it's usually best
to have somebody who knows the ropes do the dirty work.
How to Get a Russian Visa?
Any complicated process is done easier when divided into steps. We
recommend you follow the procedure described in this section so
that no hurry or hassle interferes into your trip to our beautiful
Choose the type of the Russian visa you would like to have. You
may look through the full description of different Russian visas
available in our section Visa Types or use the scheme below to
determine the type of visa you need. It is possible that the type
of your visa will be different from the exact purpose of your
Get an invitation for the type of the Russian visa you have
Getting an invitation most usually comes to choosing an agency you
will be dealing with. There are quite many travel organizations
ready to provide you with Russian visa support. Let your primary
objective be not only the lowest price!
Before placing your order please make sure that the agency you
1. Can be easily contacted (provides its address and valid phone
2. Has experience of at least several years of work with Russian
3. Will be able to provide you with registration in the city where
you will be staying.
4. Will be able to help you in exceptional cases.
Your sponsoring organization should be able to provide you with
professional advice and/or help whatever happens! We recommend
using only well-known orgaizations mentioned in our Useful Links
Get the Russian visa itself from a Russian Embassy/Consulate
If you have enough time and persistence to apply for your Russian
visa by yourself, please see our Section At the Consulate.
If you don't feel like standing in the queue, you may apply for
help to an authorized Russian travel agent in your country. We
guarantee that the agents listed have proved to be the best in
their field thanks to their expertise and experience.