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Russian Travel Visa Information

All US citizens wanting to enter Russia are required to have a Russian travel visa stamped in a valid passport. This applies to travel for tourist, business, humanitarian, transit, and work/study purposes.

An agreement between the Russian Federation and the United States of America declares that citizens of the United States shall be issued multiple-entry business and tourist visas that are valid for 3 years from the date of issue of the visa. The visitor can stay no more than 6 months for each entry.

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Russian Travel Visa Types

There are five general types of visas for entering Russia - some of which have variations:

  • Regular Visas
    • Tourist Visas - These allow visitors to visit Russia solely for tourism purposes. Conducting business, formal study, and/or accepting work on a tourism visa is prohibited.
    • Business Visas - These allow foreigners to enter Russia for the express purpose of conducting international business. More specifics can be found on our Russian Business VIsa Guide.
  • Temporary Resident Visas
    • Student Visas - These are available to those invited or accepted to study at a Russian educational institution. Russian Student Visas are unique in that they do not automatically grant the holder an exit visa. For more, consult our Russian Student Visa Guide.
    • Work Visas - These are the required visas for those seeking employment inside Russia. A Russian Work Visa will only be issued with the sponsorship of an employer.
    • Private/Home-stay Visas - These visas allow for visitors to stay in Russia as temporary residents under the sponsorship of a Russian citizen. That said, they do not entitle the bearer to seek employment or study at a Russian educational institution.
  • Transit Visas - These allow the holders to move through Russian borders en route to neighboring countries. It does not matter how brief the time in Russia actually is. Even something as simple as a flight or train transfer will require a Russian Transit Visa.
  • Humanitarian Visas - These visas require the sponsorship of a Russian-based aid organization. Humanitarian work in Russia is tightly controlled and only certain aid activities are permitted - particularly when conducted by foreign visitors.
  • Official Business Visas - These include both Diplomatic and Service Visas. These types of credentials are limited to official government personnel engaging in official business.

Of all of the aforementioned types, the most sought-after visas are the tourist and business visas.

E-visas are available free of charge for nationals of some sessions seeking to enter the Far Eastern Federal District, Kaliningrad Region, Saint Petersburg and Leningrad Region, nationals. Note that these e-visas are only available to those originating from some countries and only only apply to a single-entry visa, a common business visa, a common tourist visa, or a common humanitarian visa (for the purpose of sports, cultural, scientific, and/or technological relations).

Whether your Russian visa is traditional or an e-visa, it is critical that visitors to Russia adhere to the specific purpose of their visit that aligns to the visa they have been granted. Failure to do so can result in detention and/or deportation.

Visa Requirements

To acquire any Russian visa, The requirements include, but are not limited to:
  • U.S. Passport
    • Minimum validity of at least 6 months beyond the visa expiration date
    • Two blank passport pages
  • One professional 35 mm X 45 mm photo
  • Completed visa application form
  • Payment for fees
  • Invitation to Russia from a host person or organization

Russia Visa Application Form

All Russian visa applications submitted in the United States must be prepared using the Electronic Visa Application Form. Once you complete the Electronic Visa Application form online, you need to print a copy, sign and date it, glue the photo to it and submit this printed original form, along with all necessary documentation, to the Consular Division.

Online Russian Travel Visa Application Form

Russia Tourist Visa

Besides the general requirements listed above, you also need to submit the following items to obtain a tourist visa to Russia:
  • Confirmation of your travel plans from an authorized Russian travel agency or hotel
  • A cover letter from your travel agency in the US, including your name, dates and places of arrival and departure and means of transportation, itinerary while in Russia and index and reference number of the receiving organization.

Click here for more information about the Russian tourist visa.

In a hurry? Apply online for expedited visa service

Russian Business Visa

Besides the general requirements above, you are required to submit the following for a Russian business visa:
  • An official letter of invitation from the Russian Foreign Ministry or its regional representatives
  • A cover letter from your company containing information about yourself, destination, terms and purpose of the trip.

Note: The fee for a Russian business visa is the same as that of a tourist visa.

Click here for more information about the Russian business visa.

Russian Travel Visa Fees

The fees for processing a Russian visa depend on the speed with which you want it done and the number of entries requested. NOTE: The Russian visa processing fee is not refundable.

Visa Type /
Processing Time*
Single EntryDouble Entry
Multiple EntrySingle Entry TransitDouble Entry Transit
4-20 Business Days $90 $144$270 $90$144
3 Business Days $180 $288$540 $180$288
*Note: The day of submission/delivery does not count toward processing time.

Russian Travel Visa Courier Service

Expedited service is not available by mail - only in person. If you are unable to personally visit the embassy or consulate in order to submit your application, you can employ the services of an expedited visa courier service.

Expedited visa couriers are registered professionals with experience in working with consular official to obtain travel documents quickly. Not only do they hand carry your application form and supporting document but they also ensure that all your documents are complete before submission.

About the Author: For over 20 years, the U.S. Passport Service Guide team has helped hundreds of thousands of travelers with their travel document questions and shared advice about how to make traveling abroad simpler, safer, and more enjoyable.

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