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Visa FAQs

In case of any problem with a visa, you are recommended to contact immediately your Visa Sponsor. This is a legal entity (or individual) that invited you to Russia and whose name is indicated on your visa. Under the Russian law, only your Visa Sponsor can and must solve your visa problems in most cases. This is why prior to ordering a visa, you are strongly advised to ensure that your inviting company has an office in Russia (in particular, in the city where you are planning to stay) and you have its contact information.

Below are listed the most typical problems and common recommendations for their solving. Click on the question to view the answer.

There may be a more effective solution in each specific case.

Before entering Russia

Crossing the border

In Russia

Useful Hints – view

If you did not find the answer to your visa question here, please do not hesitate to ask our experienced visa specialist, and we will do our best to help you. Choose the most convenient way to contact us.
Before entering Russia
What is a Russian visa?

Russian visa is an official document giving permission to stay in Russia for a specific period of time. It typically includes limits on the duration of the foreigner’s stay (entry and exit dates), visa type and number of permitted entries, holders’ passport details and information about the inviting company (Visa Sponsor). Please keep in mind that visa is required not only to enter but also to leave the country. Thus, in case you overstay your visa’s validity or lose your passport with a visa, you will face serious problems while leaving the country.
Do I need a visa?

To enter Russia for any purpose, citizens of most countries must possess a valid Russian visa. Visa is not required for citizens of some visa-free countries and a number of visa-free trips.
What is the difference between a tourist visa and a business visa?

Tourist visa is suitable for a short-term travel (up to 30 days) and is the cheapest and the fastest visa to get. Business visa can be valid for up to 1 year (in some cases, for up to 3 years) but, as a rule, its processing requires more time and expenses. For further information, please go to Visa Types.
Can I use a tourist visa to travel on my own?

Tourist visa allows you to enter the country not only for the purpose of tourism but also to participate in business negotiations or visit Russian relatives and friends. However, the official purpose of your visit should be the tourism. To get a tourist visa, you will need an Invitation Letter issued by some licensed entity, including all information which can be necessary for the Consulate and proving the hotel booking. Our company can help you with getting such an Invitation Letter, and you won’t need to book a hotel to obtain it. For further information, please see Tourist Visa.
Can I process a Private Visa Invitation through your company?

Unfortunately, you cannot. Our company issues Invitations only for tourist and business visas. Russian friends or relatives you are planning to stay with can apply for a Private Visa Invitation for you through their local FMS office and should send you its original. Since the procedure to acquire a Private Visa Invitation is rather difficult and time consuming, we recommend traveling on a tourist or business visa. For further information, please see Private Visa.
Do I need a transit visa if my flight will pass through Russia?

Transit visa is required only for those travelers who are going to leave the customs zone of the airport. You can get a transit visa at the Russian Consulate upon presenting your tickets to and from the Russian airport.
Transit visa is valid only for a period of 72 hours. For a longer stay, we recommend you to get a tourist visa. For further information, please see Transit Visa.
What is the business visa processing time and how much does it cost?

It depends on your citizenship, visa’s validity periods and its urgency as well as on the Consulate you will apply for visa to. For further information, please see At the Consulate.
Should I indicate the exact dates of my trip while ordering a Visa Invitation or can I put approximate dates?

You should indicate the exact visa start and expiry dates, however, you can travel to Russia at any time within this period. We recommend you to indicate the maximum validity period of the chosen visa type, for example, 30 days for a tourist visa and 90 days for a business visa. Please keep in mind that visa is valid only for the exact dates, so you can neither enter the country earlier your visa’s starting date, no overstay its validity.
How can I change the data in my application for a Visa Invitation?

In case you’ve indicated the wrong data in your order for a Visa Invitation, please, contact us as soon as possible. The cost of the correction depends on the time elapsed since the order has been made and the type of chosen Invitation.
Do I still need a visa if I do not live in Russia but have a Russian passport?

If you are a citizen of the Russian Federation carrying a valid Russian passport, you must enter the country on this passport without a visa. If you left the country before 1992, you must enter Russia on passport of the country of your citizenship. Please see the list of visa-free countries and visa-free trips to find out whether you can travel to Russia without a visa. In the other cases, you will need to obtain a visa.
Does my child need a visa?

If your child is under 14 years of age and is added to your passport, he/she can enter Russia on your visa. If a child has his/her own passport, he/she will have to obtain a separate Invitation for a family member visa type. While making an order, please, provide us with the appropriate information on a child travelling together with you. In case one of the parents travelling with a child is a Russian passport holder, the child will need a Russian passport or a private visa. Tourist visa will not be accepted in this case.
Where is the nearest Consulate?

To find the contact information of the Russian Consulates including their telephone numbers and e-mail addresses, please, go to the Russian Consulates and Visa Centres. In some countries it is required to contact the Russian Visa Centre instead of the Consulate.
Russian visa can be obtained by a foreigner only at the Consulate in the country of which citizen he/she is. Citizens of the Schengen countries can obtain a visa in any country-member of the Schengen Area. To receive a Russian visa in a third country, one must submit a residence or work permit in this country.
What documents should I bring to the Russian Consulate in order to apply for a visa?

As a rule, to obtain a visa, you are required to submit a Russian Visa Invitation, passport, one or two photos (approximate size 3 x 4 cm), proof of medical insurance and to pay Consular (visa) fee. At the Visa Centre you will need to pay Service fee. Travelers applying for a Russian visa to the Consulates in the United Kingdom, Denmark, Namibia and Myanmar will be obliged to provide their biometric data. For multiple-entry visas you may also be required to present an AIDS Test certificate (with test results issued within the previous 90 days). In any case, you are advised to get in touch with the Russian Consulate in order to check the latest update on the required documents. For further information, please see At the Consulate.
Is it possible to send the documents and receive the visa back by post if I live far from the Consulate?

This is possible in certain Consulates. Please see the detailed information on the page At the Consulate and contact the appropriate Consulate. In any case, you will need to obtain a Visa Invitation.
I am not in my country at the moment. Is it possible to apply for a visa in other country or will I have to obtain it in the country of my citizenship?

Russian visa can be obtained by a foreigner only at the Consulate in the country of which citizen he/she is. Citizens of the Schengen countries can obtain a visa in any country-member of the Schengen Area. To receive a Russian visa in a third country, one must submit a residence or work permit in this country. However, the final decision to grant a visa rests with the Consulate.
Crossing the border
What should I check prior to arrival in Russia and upon departure from the country?

Before ordering the tickets to Russia, please, check the start date of your visa. You will not be allowed to enter Russia before this date.
What is prohibited to import and export from Russia?

Passengers are strictly prohibited to import and export the following materials:

1) Printed, audio-visual and other information containing prohibited materials.

2) Civil and service weapons.

3) Hazardous waste containing any of the substances indicated in the customs documents.

4) Undercover surveillance and intelligence gathering equipment.

5) Poisonous substances that are not precursors of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances from the list approved by the Russian Ministry of Health.

6) Narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors, except for a certain amount of medicinal substances for personal use for medicinal purposes (in this case the necessary documents should be presented).

7) Human organs and/or tissues, blood and its components.

see full list
How to verify the documents at passport control?

Once you have passed through the passport control, please, check the stamps on your passport and migration card.
The stamp must contain the current date with an arrow directed towards the date [DD MM YY D <], where DD means day, MM – month, YY – year, D – any digit, < – arrow.
In case you found a mistake, you are strongly recommended to immediately contact the customs officer to avoid problems with a visa registration or your following entry to Russia.

Sample of a visa
I am not allowed to leave Russia at passport control.

You will be informed of the reason. It is possible that:
  • your visa has expired;
  • the arrival stamp on your passport or visa is not correct;
  • something else is wrong with your documents.
As a rule, the absence of a visa registration is not an obstacle for leaving Russia

Please, contact your Visa Sponsor for help.

If you are departing from Sheremetyevo, Domodedovo, Vnukovo or Pulkovo Airport, it is possible to appeal for help to the Consular office there.

In Russia
I have to change something in my visa.

It is not possible to make any correction in the visa when you are already in Russia.
Do I need to register a visa?

According to the Russian legislation, all foreign nationals are obliged to register their visa within 7 working days (days off and public holidays are not counted) upon arrival to the place of residence in Russia. The absence of the registration will not allow you to perform any legal actions and can be a reason for a penalty or arrest by police. The procedure and requirements for registration can vary in different regions of Russia. For further information, please see Visa Registration.
How to register a visa?

If you are staying in a hotel, the hotel administration will register your visa for the whole period of stay upon presenting your passport with a visa. Please be noted that you can be required to pay some fee for this service. In case you are not going to stay in a hotel, there are two rather complicated variants to register a visa. For further information, please see Visa Registration.
My visa was not registered within 7 days upon arrival to Russia.

To register a visa after 7 days upon your arrival, your Visa Sponsor should provide the FMS with the Arrival Notification form (Uvedomleniye o Pribytii Inostrannogo Grazhdanina v Mesto Prebyvaniya) – the registration application form containing passport data of the landlord of the apartment where you are staying, his/her full address and telephone number. It will also be necessary to pay a penalty (2000 – 5000 RUR) in Police for violation of the visa regime.
The landlord of the apartment where you are staying may be able to register your visa at the Post Office by paying a fine.
If for any reason you cannot register your visa, you are advised to avoid the police, wherever possible. Otherwise, you may be subject to the penalty for violation of the visa regime (up to 5000 RUR) and will waste a lot of time and efforts to solve this problem.
Visa Sponsor is located in another city.

As a rule, if the Visa Sponsor is unable to register your visa in the city where you are staying, you should:
  • try to register your visa in a hotel; or
  • ask the landlord of the apartment (where you are staying) to register your visa at the local FMS office or at the Post Office; or
  • find a local reliable company which will be able to help you; or
  • avoid being stopped by the police.
FMS refuses to register my visa.

It is possible that your Visa Sponsor did not fulfil any requirements of the local FMS office. In this case, you can try to register your visa with the hotel or ask your Visa Sponsor to help you in any other way. In addition, a visa can be registered by the landlord of the apartment (where you are staying) at the Post Office.
I am going to leave the country, but my visa has not been registered.

If you did not register your visa within 7 days upon your arrival, please be aware that Russian police officer can stop you and request to pay a penalty (2000-5000 RUR) for violation of the visa regime.
While crossing the border, the FMS officer or the frontier guard can ask you to present your registration application form.
In all cases, we recommend you to convince an official that you are not staying in any city of Russia for more than 7 working days and, accordingly, are not obliged to register the visa (it is desirable to present your tickets, hotel receipts of payment, etc.).
My visa has expired.

In case you did not depart Russia by your visa expiry date and overstayed its validity, the only way to leave the country is to be deported on a Court decision.
Violation of the departure term is an administrative offense which is punished by a fine of not less than 5000 RUR and threatens with an exclusion for up to 5 years.
My passport and visa were lost or stolen.

You can get a new passport only at the Embassy or Consulate of your native country.

As a rule, it is impossible to replace a visa, so you will need to get an exit visa instead. The Visa Sponsor should provide the FMS with your new passport, two photos, travel ticket with the fixed departure date, its letter of request and pay a state fee. In addition, it is necessary to contact the nearest police station in order to obtain a certificate confirming the loss of your passport and visa.

To make the processing easier, we recommend you to state at the police station that your documents were lost, not stolen and to carry a copy of your passport, visa and migration card.
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs can also issue a Return-Home Certificate based on a diplomatic note from the Embassy or Consulate of your native country. With this Certificate you do not need an exit visa and can leave Russia within 10 days.
I want to extend my visa.

Unfortunately, Russian visa cannot be extended. In exceptional cases (accident, serious illness, etc.) it is possible to obtain a transit visa for the maximum period of 10 days. Your Visa Sponsor should provide the FMS with a copy of your passport with a visa, travel ticket with a fixed departure date, letter of request, official documents proving your impossibility to leave the country in time, and pay a state fee. In some cases, it may be possible to get a visa in the Consular office at Sheremetyevo, Domodedovo, Vnukovo or Pulkovo Airports.
Can I obtain a new visa without leaving Russia?

As a rule, you should leave Russia to get a new visa at the Russian Consulate. We recommend you to apply for a new Visa Invitation well in advance and to choose the most convenient Consulate to obtain a visa.
I am detained by the police.

It is possible that your visa is not registered. In this case, the police officer can request you to pay a penalty (2000-5000 RUR) for violation of the visa regime.
It is possible that the police officer acts quite unprofessionally. Try to convince him that your visa was registered in due time or that you arrived in this Russian city less than 7 working days ago (present your ticket, etc.).
In other cases, try to contact your Visa Sponsor as soon as possible and ask for help.
I cannot contact my Visa Sponsor.

Probably your Visa Sponsor was a fictitious company. Try to find another reliable company which will be able to help you.
My Visa Sponsor refuses to help me.

Probably your Visa Sponsor has a lot of its own problems. It is practically impossible to force a Visa Sponsor to help you. Try to find a reliable company which will be able to help you and ask your present Visa Sponsor to render assistance.
I cannot find a Russian organization able to help me.

Please contact the Embassy or the Consulate of your country and request a diplomatic note to be submitted on your behalf to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs asking to grant you an exit visa or a Return-Home Certificate.
I need a Notarized Translation of passport or other document.

To process or receive any official documents in Russia, foreign nationals may need the Notarized Translation of documents. Visa House has many years of experience in translation and notarization of all types of documents from all foreign languages. In case of need, you are welcome to order the notarized translation of the required documents for 45 EUR / 50 USD / 2000 RUR per page.
I would like to use VIP services at the airport.

Many Russian airports have special waiting rooms and a special service upon passing passport and border controls. Visa House recommends to use the services of our longtime partner ARTIFICIAL HORIZON.
Useful Hints

In order to avoid possible visa problems, we strongly recommend you to observe the following rules:

  • use the services of a reliable Visa Sponsor and always have its contact information on hand;
  • order a visa which type and validity period answer the purpose of your trip;
  • register your visa in time;
  • make copies of your visa, passport and migration card and keep them in a safe place;
  • staple the migration card and the registration form (if you have it) to a page on your passport;
  • do not forget the expiry date of your visa. Before ordering tickets from Russia, please check the expiry date of your visa as you will not be allowed to leave Russia after this date.
Need help? Feel free to get online consultation from our experienced visa specialist, please choose the most convenient way to contact us.
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