Visa for Russia - How to Get It Quickly and Efficiently ULTIMATE GUIDE

Getting the Russian visa can be quite a problem for people who are not familiar with all the visa procedures. The Russian Federation is one of the stricter countries when it comes to the visa regulations. In order to enter Russia even on a tourist visa, you will need an invitation. What is this and how can you get it? First things first, you need to see if the tourist visa is even the right type of visa for you. No worries, we will also get to the invitation as well in the guide below.

Here is everything you need to know about the Russian visas.


1. What is a Russian visa and do I need it?

Travelling to Russia? Chances are you will need a visa before your trip. You don’t need a visa in case you are from a country that has a visa waiver policy in cooperation with Russia.

You also don’t need a visa for Russia if:

In case nothing of this applies to you, you do need a Russian visa.

2. Contents of Russian visa

Russian visa has both English and Russian field names. Russian is written in Cyrillic, including Cyrillic versions of applicant’s name and their nationality. The visa’s design is pretty simple, with an outline of Russia’s territory in the background on the right, and the applicant’s photo is placed on the left.

Russian visa example

3. Types of Russian visas

There are 6 main types of Russian visas:

4. Russia visa requirements

There are specific requirements for each Russian visa type. Here we are listing the ones that you will in most cases definitely need:

Read all about the latest news on Russian visa requirements on our website.

5. How to apply for a Russian visa with Viselio

Now we got to the main part - how to actually apply for the visa.

Did you know that this process can be done quickly?


Well, we are here to bring you some good news. It is totally possible to avoid going to the embassy, queuing and worrying about the paperwork.

How you may ask?

Very simple - apply online.

Viselio is the first online visa service which offers a fully automated application process. You only need to fill out the form on our website and follow the instructions. After your application is placed, our visa agents will apply on your behalf at the embassy. Once your visa is approved, your passport will be sent back to you. No queuing and no dealing with tedious paperwork. We are making the visa process as simple as possible, so you can focus on the rest of your travel preparations.

Apply today with Viselio and save your time.

See in the table below our advantages compared to the embassies.

Compare Viselio and embassy for Russian visa

6. How to register in Russia

Once you enter Russia, you are supposed to go through the registration process within the first 7 business days from the day of your arrival. This is a mandatory process for foreigners and if you avoid it you will have to pay a fine. In case you are staying less than 7 business days, you won’t have to register.

If you are staying at a hotel/hostel, then the registration will be done by them.

If you are travelling for business purposes, the company that invited you will be responsible for registering you.

Staying with family or friends, or in a private accommodation? Your host is responsible in this case for you and they should register you.

Documents that you will need for this process are just a filled out form, passport’s copy and a migration card which you will receive at the border, including your host’s passport.

Don’t lose the registration slip since you will need to show it when exiting Russia.

If you change your accommodation and travel to another city for more than 7 business days, you are obliged to register again. Don’t lose this slip and put in the safekeeping with the previous one.

7. How to extend or renew your Russian visa

It is not possible to extend the Russian visa. However, there is an option of extending your visa for 10 days only in unpredictable cases such as illness, an accident, missing the flight. Also, you can only apply for a new Russian visa outside of the Russian Federation.

What to do if your visa is expired? You can apply for an exit visa. You will need the following:

With the exit visa, you can stay for up to an additional 10 days.

8. Additional questions

Here we listed and explained some specific cases of travelling to Russia, precisely how to take the cruise trip by ship or ferry or by car.

8.1. Sailing in Russia

In case you are travelling on your own ship, take note that the whole process of getting the right permissions can be quite long. Besides Russian visas and crew members authorisations, you will also need an invitation from an authorised organisation, for example, a Russian yacht club.

When you are applying for the invitation letter, make sure to mention all the passengers including all the ports that you will be staying at.

Travelling as a passenger is simpler. As a cruise passenger, you are allowed to stay on the Russian territory for 72 hours without a visa. In order to do that you will need to have a pre-booked tour with a licensed Russian tour operator. You are not allowed to return to the ship on your own. In case you do wish to do sightseeing alone, you will need to apply for a Russian visa.

8.2. Travelling to Russia by car

If you are planning to travel to Russia by car, you should know that highways are not in good condition. Since there is no Internet reception on long routes, download maps or find physical maps in guides and similar booklets.

One more thing that makes travelling by car troubling is that gas stations and restaurants can be found only near bigger cities.

Still, if you want to travel by car, here is documentation that you will need:

When it comes to the temporary vehicle permit, you should know that it is valid for 10 days. If you are staying longer than that, you can extend the permit at the local customs office. Keep in mind that before you extend it, you need to register your visa at the local police office.

Waiting to cross the border can take some time. However, if you are travelling from Estonia there is an easier way. You can schedule your border crossing online at Estonian border website. By doing this you will successfully avoid long queues.

9. Further help

Do you need more help? Contact our Customer Support or check our FAQ.