Notice:   The Department of State and most embassies will close on Monday, January 21st in observance of the MLK, Jr. Holiday. Our offices will close locally at 1pm. Our call center will remain open for normal business hours.

Russia  - Expedited Visa Services

Visa to Russia
Expedited Visa Services

Our team can help you obtain your Russia Visa:


The article below provides important information about travel to Russia. For comprehensive Visa Application instructions, please see the specific Visa Requirements page for your Visa Type (business, tourist, etc). Our step-by-step instructions guide you through the process. We guarantee the accuracy of your application and expedite it with the appropriate Consulate. Our team is here to help with online chat, phone & email support.

10/03/2014 - Russia Consulate Extends Visa Processing Time


In a rush for your Russia visa? You may have to wait longer. If you are in the New York City jurisdiction, standard processing time has been extended to 10 business days.
 
If your jurisdiction is Houston or San Francisco, processing for rush visas will has been extended to 4 business days. Likewise, the Washington DC jurisdiction’s rush visas require at least 5 business days. Emergency applications will require 4 business days. 

08/11/2014 - Russian Consular Fee Increase


 
The Consulate General of the Russian Federation has announced a price increase in their consular fees. The cost of a standard visa application for single and double entries is $160 for US travelers. Expedited processing fees will stay the same.
 
With this price increase, Passport Visas Express.com remains the most affordable and convenient option for you. We painstakingly review your applications for maximum approval, and we hand-deliver them to the Russian visa office. For more on what we can do for you, call us at 1-888-596-6028 or email us at CustomerSupport@passportvisasexpress.com. Chat with our friendly representatives with our speedy chat program! 

01/27/2014 - Russian Federation Consulate holiday closings 2014



Planning on traveling to Russia? Whether you’re a tourist or on business, your schedule will depend on the hours the Russian embassy is open. Please note the Consulate General is closed on all US national holidays as well as Russian holidays. These are all the dates the embassy is closed in 2014:
 
January 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
February 17, 23
March 10
May 1, 2, 9
June 12, 13
July 4
November 3, 4, 27
December 25
 
Please plan your application accordingly. If you have any questions about what you need to attain your visa, feel free to contact our customer service at us 1-888-596-6028, or live chat with our friendly representatives. Passport Visas Express.com has experts ready to answer any question or help you deliver your visa or passport applications!

12/23/2013 - Politics, the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia, and You



It’s been a whirlwind of news coming from Russia these days. The Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, has become more than about athleticism and sportsmanship. With new anti-gay laws in place that ban the public expression of any “non-traditional sexual relations,” i.e., homosexuality—either in speech or displays of affection—Vladimir Putin has turned the Winter Games into a different type of theater.

Spectators and sports fans may be unsure to respond to the highly charged political atmosphere while viewing the games. The United States is making news of its own, too: President Obama is leading the American charge by, per PBS, ESPN, and other news sources, protesting this new legislation when he placed three openly gay superstars at the head of the delegation representing the US to the Sochi Olympics: tennis legend Billie Jean King, two-time Olympic medal ice hockey player Caitlin Cahow, and Olympic gold medal figure skater Brian Boitano.

Perhaps the exactly right time to be at the 2014 Olympics. If you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ), you may wish to be a part of this historic event. Check out our general guide to traveling while LGBTQ, and proceed with care. If you are a journalist or blogger, there is no doubt this is a must-go event. And, finally, if you are a sports fan, this will be a particularly important Games to remember. The International Olympic Committee is fully engaged in ensuring the optimal conditions and expectations of its players and athletes.

Passport Visas Express.com has a general guide for both attending the Olympic Games and acquiring a Russian visa. If you are in need of a visa to Russia or an updated US passport, we can help. Contact us 1-888-596-6028, use our friendly chat service, or email us at CustomerSupport@passportvisasexpress.com. We’ve been helping our customers reach this international sports event for over 15 years and are waiting to hear from you!

11/06/2013 - Gearing Up for the 2014 Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia



Now is the time to make preparations for the 2014 XI Paralympic Games! Set this year in the lovely resort town by the Black Sea, Sochi, from February 7 to February 23, you will want the following ready before you begin packing and planning your gold-medal itinerary:

1. A Russian visa. All US citizens must have a Russian visa to enter Russia and attend the Sochi Paralympics. If you need one expedited, or just some plain help in obtaining yours, we have options for you! Russian visas have been notoriously difficult to be approved for, thanks to a middleman the Russian Consulate has recently employed to process their visas for them—so consider our professional services to save you time and headaches. 

If you would like simple Russian visa support, Passport Visas Express.com offers an exclusive Visa Pre-Check Service in which we review your application and provide support to maximize your chances of visa approval to attend the Paralympics.

If you would like for us to simply take care of the whole process for you—soup to nuts—we provide a variety of regular to expedited rates of service. Click here to participate in the full service. We can turn around a visa to Russia for you in as fast as 6 business days.

2. Confirm your passport. In order to obtain the Russian visa to the Paralympics, your US passport will need to be valid for at least 6 months after your departure date from Russia. If you don’t have yours or need to renew yours, there’s no better time to apply now.

3. Enroll in the necessary and totally free STEP program, whereby the State Department can reach you with alerts and messages, and you can quickly reach them as well for any emergency services. This is extremely helpful for any visitors to the Paralympic Games.

Not a US citizen? We can still help! We offer visa services for international travelers to Russia as well. 

Regarding tickets, here is some information from the State Department:

Tickets to Olympic & Paralympic Events


CoSport is the official ticket reseller for the Sochi 2014 Olympics for U.S. residents. To purchase individual tickets or hospitality packages, visit their website or call 1-877-457-4647. 

A few important things to remember when looking for tickets…

- Be aware of scams, fake Olympic ticket websites, and unlicensed ticket resellers.

- Tickets must be purchased from an authorized retailer. Spectators may be refused entry for tickets purchased from someone other than an authorized retailer. It is illegal to resell Olympic tickets.

- Under Russian law, ticket scalping is punishable by an administrative fine.  For individuals, the fine can amount to five and ten times the cost of admission; for officials, between ten and twenty times the cost of admission; and for legal entities, between five hundred thousand to one million rubles, or administrative suspension of activity for up to ninety days.

Paralympics Spectator Passes


In addition to a valid ticket, fans will also be required to obtain a “Spectator Pass.” Applying for the Spectator Pass is part of the security regime for the Games and will subject the ticket holder to a background check administered by the Federal Security Services. Detailed information on procedures for obtaining a Spectator Pass will be available on the official 2014 Sochi website. The U.S. Embassy in Moscow will also provide additional details as information becomes available.

Need more handy information on Sochi or the Paralympics? Check out the State Department site for links and tips. Need more information on traveling to Russia? Check out our Russia Country News for the latest trends and tips on what traveling to the Russian Federation entails. With all the recent changes to the process of applying and obtaining a tourist visa to Russia, we at Passport Visas Express.com are on top of it. Spend your time choosing games and stars to follow, and leave the nitty-gritty to us!

11/06/2013 - Gearing Up for the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia



Now is the time to make preparations for the 2014 XXII Olympic Games! Set this year in the lovely resort town by the Black Sea, Sochi, from February 7 to February 23, you will want the following ready before you begin packing and planning your gold-medal itinerary:

1. A Russian visa. All US citizens must have a Russian visa to enter Russia and attend the Sochi Olympics. If you need one expedited, or just some plain help in obtaining yours, we have options for you! Russian visas have been notoriously difficult to be approved for, thanks to a middleman the Russian Consulate has recently employed to process their visas for them—so consider our professional services to save you time and headaches. 

If you would like simple Russian visa support, Passport Visas Express.com offers an exclusive Visa Pre-Check Service in which we review your application and provide support to maximize your chances of visa approval to attend the Olympics.

If you would like for us to simply take care of the whole process for you—soup to nuts—we provide a variety of regular to expedited rates of service. Click here to participate in the full service. We can turn around a visa to Russia for you in as fast as 6 business days.

2. Confirm your passport. In order to obtain the Russian visa to the Olympics, your US passport will need to be valid for at least 6 months after your departure date from Russia. If you don’t have yours or need to renew yours, there’s no better time to apply now.

3. Enroll in the necessary and totally free STEP program, whereby the State Department can reach you with alerts and messages, and you can quickly reach them as well for any emergency services. This is extremely helpful for any visitors to the Olympic Games.

Not a US citizen? We can still help! We offer visa services for international travelers to Russia as well.

Regarding tickets, here is some information from the State Department:

Tickets to Olympic & Paralympic Events


CoSport is the official ticket reseller for the Sochi 2014 Olympics for U.S. residents. To purchase individual tickets or hospitality packages, visit their website or call 1-877-457-4647. 

A few important things to remember when looking for tickets…

- Be aware of scams, fake Olympic ticket websites, and unlicensed ticket resellers.

- Tickets must be purchased from an authorized retailer. Spectators may be refused entry for tickets purchased from someone other than an authorized retailer. It is illegal to resell Olympic tickets.

- Under Russian law, ticket scalping is punishable by an administrative fine.  For individuals, the fine can amount to five and ten times the cost of admission; for officials, between ten and twenty times the cost of admission; and for legal entities, between five hundred thousand to one million rubles, or administrative suspension of activity for up to ninety days.

Russian Olympics Spectator Passes


In addition to a valid ticket, fans will also be required to obtain a “Spectator Pass.” Applying for the Spectator Pass is part of the security regime for the Games and will subject the ticket holder to a background check administered by the Federal Security Services. Detailed information on procedures for obtaining a Spectator Pass will be available on the official 2014 Sochi website. The U.S. Embassy in Moscow will also provide additional details as information becomes available.

Need more handy information on Sochi or the Olympics? Check out the State Department site for links and tips. Need more information on traveling to Russia? Check out our Russia Country News for the latest trends and tips on what traveling to the Russian Federation entails. With all the recent changes to the process of applying and obtaining a tourist visa to Russia, we at Passport Visas Express.com are on top of it. Spend your time choosing games and stars to follow, and leave the nitty-gritty to us! 

08/09/2013 - Need help with that Russian visa application?



Since the Russian Federation employed middleman ILS to “streamline” the Russian visa applications submission process, it’s no secret that applying has become much harder, more expensive, and that your chances of being rejected are far higher. A missing piece of information, poor choice of words, or simply attaching your passport photo incorrectly or using the wrong size passport photo can cause your visa application to be rejected—what’s worse you lose time and money spent on consular fees in the process—from $170 to $480!

If you are unlucky enough to have had your Russian visa application rejected you know what an inconvenience and expense this is—rejected visa applicants must reapply and pay the same consular fees all over again.

Here at Passport Visas Express.com, we offer an exclusive, premium service called the Visa Pre-Check Service. If you are having trouble or are pressed for time, we can help. Place an order and contact us—we can complete the Russia visa application on your behalf. This will save you the time, money, and aggravation of completing the electronic Russian visa application form, and give you peace of mind.

Let our fifteen years’ of experience serve you! Contact us today. You can email us at CustomerSupport@passportvisasexpress.com, call us at 1-888-596-6028, or chat with our friendly online representatives today!

01/04/2013 - Russian Federation Visa Types



If you are a US passport holder and wish to travel to the Russian Federation, you must have a visa. Visas are issued by the Embassy of the Russian Federation. However, since April 10, 2012, the embassy has employed a middleman company, Invisa Logistics Services, to organize the processing of Russian visas. (For information, click here and for reviews on this middleman, click here.)
 

Passport Visas Express.com is here to help you understand which visa you need, and even applying for and delivering your application for you. Our experts have been working with the Russian Federation’s embassy for the past fifteen years, and with Invisa Logistics for as long as it’s been in existence, so we know exactly what you’ll need to get your visa and get going!
 

There are eight common Russian visa types. Please click on the visa type for detailed application information. If you do not find your visa type here, please give us a call at 1-(888)596-6028 or chat with one of our friendly representatives!

 

 

Tourist visa

Single, double, and multiple-entry visas are available for those who will travel to Russia as tourists, valid for up to 3 years. This visa is also intended for anyone traveling to Russia for any personal reasons. You must provide a letter of invitation from your tour company or the hotel you will be staying at. 

 

 

Homestay / Private visa

This visa is intended for those planning to travel to Russia for any personal reason(s), and who will stay with friends or relatives. If you have friends or family in Russia whom you are staying with, this is the correct visa for you. Single, double, and multiple-entry visas are available, valid for up to 3 years. You will need a visa entitlement certificate (Izvesheniye) from your host. Be prepared to wait up to 6 weeks for the certificate to be issued and then sent to you- you will need the original when you apply for the homestay/private visa. Alternatively, you can apply for a tourist visa instead.

 

 

Business visa

This visa is for those intending to conduct business in Russia, but not for working for a Russian business. For those requiring a visa to work for a business in Russia, see below for “work visa.” A multiple-entry visa for up to 3 years is also available in addition to the single and double entry visa.

 

 

Work visa

If you will be traveling to Russia and working as an employee of a Russian company, you will need a work visa. This requires a letter of invitation from the Russian Ministry of the Interior or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs- your employer will obtain this for you. You will also need to provide proof of an HIV test done no more than 60 days prior to applying for the visa.

 

 

Student visa

This visa is intended for those studying at a Russian university or institution, and can be extended for as long as you remain a student. As with work visas, you will need proof of an HIV test done no more than 60 days prior to applying for the visa.

 

 

Transit visa

If you stop in Russia on the way to another country and need to travel to another airport for your connecting flight, you must have a transit visa, valid for 3 days. Note these are not necessary for layovers of less than 24 hours. Click here for more details.

 

 

Diplomatic / Official visa

You must have a diplomatic or official US passport in order to be eligible for this type of visa, which is intended for those involved in US-Russia diplomacy.

 

 

Crew visa

This visa is intended for crew members who work on international trains, airlines, or any such vessel, as well as for his or her family members.

 

Not sure of how to proceed with your application? Having trouble with the Invisa Logistics? You’re not alone. At Passport Visas Express.com, we do our best to save you time and energy trying to figure out the process of obtaining a Russian Visa. Give us a call or a chat, and we can walk you through your application, review it, and deliver it to the necessary offices. We represent you and all your visa needs—to the Russian Federation, and the world.

 

09/21/2012 - What is the Russian ILS?



If you’re looking into a visa to enter Russia, you may have noticed a new agency popping up. It’s Invisa Logistic Services or ILS, a Russian-owned management company hired by the Russian embassy to organize the processing of Russian visas. The Russian Embassy Visa Section formerly consisted of a small room staffed by two visa officers, open for three hours each morning. As the number of visa applications increased the Embassy simply could no longer handle the demand. In walks ILS.

The bottom line: ILS is the middleman that all persons seeking Russian visas must go through.

What does this mean for you?

ILS is in charge of collecting visa applications from applicants, passing them on to the Russian Embassy for processing, and then returning the passport (hopefully with visa) to the applicant. The idea is to streamline the visa application process but the method has its own difficulties not to mention an added charge to the applicant.

Firstly, ILS is not a visa service and does not provide customer service. This means that:
  1. ILS does not review applications to insure they are correctly completed and that the appropriate documents have been submitted. If you have tried completing the Russian visa application, you are aware that it is fairly complicated to complete.
  2. If an application is incorrectly completed or there are problems with the invitation, the application is returned to the applicant and the consular fees are not refunded- keep in mind consular fees start at $170.00!
  3. Reports of customer dissatisfaction with ILS have arisen, as reported by a variety of sites, discussed here.
On the other hand, Passport Visas Express.com provides you with expert guidance in completing the visa application.
  1. We preview your documents prior to submission to insure they will be accepted and processed in the time frame you request to meet your date of departure.
  2. If an application is rejected because of something they missed, then they would pay the consular fee again upon resubmission. As an customer service agency the burden of insuring your application is correctly submitted is on them- talk about peace of mind!

Secondly, ILS charges a fee of $30, which is rolled into the consular fee that each applicant pays. ILS charges this fee to everyone, regardless of whether you use a service like Passport Visas Express.com or submit the application directly to ILS. However, ILS also charges additional fees to individuals who send applications directly to ILS (these charges do not apply when using Passport Visas Express.com):

  1. In addition to the $30 processing fee ILS charges a second $30 fee for “mail processing”- that’s right they charge you to open the mail.  Passport Visas Express.com does not have such a fee.
  2. ILS charges $35 for USPS certified mail, which is not the quickest way to return a passport, nor the safest or most reliable.
  3. ILS does not offer rush processing for mail service. If you want your visa in a hurry (less than 2 weeks) you will need to visit them in person to submit and collect your passport. Passport Visas Express.com offers rush processing for all applicants. Visas can be processed in as fast as 4 business days.
  4. ILS offices are jurisdictional—what this means is you must mail your application to the ILS office that services the state you reside in. Passport Visas Express.com can submit applications by hand to the ILS office in Washington, DC, regardless of where the applicant resides.

Passport Visas Express.com will be more than happy to work with you and your business or tourist needs when traveling to Russia. Travel has its own hassles; don’t let the ILS be another one. Passport Visas Express.com combines expert customer service and an affordable cost to get you what you need to take you where you need to go.

 

09/04/2012 - Russia May No Longer Require Visa Support


 
Thanks to US diplomacy, Russian president Vladimir Putin has signed an agreement that frees US passport holders from having to provide a letter of invitation (also know as Visa Support) from a Russian citizen or entity when applying for a visa. This means visa support may no longer be necessary.
 
This is reported to be effective as of September 9, 2012 although some project mid-September. The Russian Embassy and the Consulates have thus far not commented or made any official statement regarding this potential change. Until the change has been made official or we have been notified of the date the law will take effect, we will continue to provide you visa support as before, and ensure you have the most current necessary documentation to travel to Russia. We will update our site accordingly, so please bookmark this page and check back.
 
In addition to this change and also as of yet unconfirmed by the Russian Embassy and Consulates, both business travelers and tourists will now be issued a Russian visa valid for up to 3 years, allowing for multiple entry with a duration of stay of up to 6-months per entry. This is a significant change and will make travel to Russia much less of a hassle for those who visit frequently. The consular fees for the visa are rumored to remain the same.
 
We had earlier reported on the difficulty of attaining a Russian visa, especially now that Russia has instituted a middleman to the process,  But it seems that this agreement may be one of many first steps toward making Russia entirely visa free. Spend your time planning your samovar teas and strolls through the Winter Palace, and leave your visa to us! Passport Visas Express will walk you through each step and keep you abreast of any further changes to Russian visa policies.

08/12/2012 - Russian Federation Brings Middleman ILS to Process Your Visa



Usually, if you apply for a visa, your application and payment goes directly to the consulate. In Russia’s case, however, the embassy has transferred this procedure into the hands of Invisa Logistics Services (ILS), a management company that behaves as a middleman. Lucky for you—you get charged an extra $30 fee for your trouble in addition to customary $140 (for tourists).
But this may be the least of your worries when it comes to applying for a visa to the Russian Federation. As a longtime traveler told The Washington Post, “Everything is like this in Russia. Nothing is easy.”

Travelers haven’t felt easy about the ILS, either—they’re downright dire: The Washington Post’s Ayako Doi writes of eight saintlike trips to the ILS to procure visas for his son and his son’s friends: three to drop off the applications and five to pick up the completed visas. These trips include one occasion of the documents getting lost, plus two demands by staff to start the application process all over again because of a technicality.

(Luckily—or not—the ILS has started accepting applications by mail, as of 7/20/2012, but Russian consulate’s website hasn’t caught up on this detail.)

And technicalities abound. The ILS application itself indicates that a technicality will immediately disqualify you. When you fill out the online form, print, and sign, take note—“No corrections should be made with a pen (only signature and date can be hand-written).”

Drop your application off and pick up at one of the ILS offices in Washington D.C., Seattle, New York, Houston, and San Francisco, not the Russian consulate. And be careful! Blogger Kate reports grimly, “I had forgotten how difficult it is to navigate the Russian bureaucratic nightmare … you MUST select ‘ILS-WASHINGTON’ instead of ‘WASHINGTON’ as your embassy of choice. Half the people in line made this mistake today and yesterday, and they will reject your application if this is wrong.”

For picking up your visa, she advises, to go “with a good book.” The ILS offices evidently have no special numbering system for their lines. Doi notes that in the D.C. office, “I saw arguments erupt over who was next in line. A numbered-ticket dispenser at the door would solve the problem, but perhaps that would be too simple.” In that trip, Doi waited nearly two hours. Kate confirms with a “standard” wait time of an hour and a half.

The most hope for future travelers is provided by Collin Kriner of Directionless, a globe-trotting travel blog. At the New York ILS office, he observes, “Agents slip into line with the rest of the applicants. They look like any other person there … but when they reach the window, they’ll whip out a folder with twenty-odd passports. I sat in line for a good hour, plotting murder, while one of these creatures processed paperwork for absent individuals who sat at home in comfort.”

Be one of these absent individuals in the comfort of your own home by allowing Passport Visas Express to process your application for a Russian visa. Don’t let a technicality of “typos or poorly worded answers”,  get you rejected from a trip to the Russian Federation. Our experts will review your application beforehand and will do all the waiting so that you won’t. 

10/20/2010 - Russia Closed Nov. 4-5



The Russian Embassy will be closed November 4th and 5th for Unity Day. Please plan your visa processing accordingly. See the 2010 Embassy closing schedule.

 

06/03/2009 - Russia Closed



The Russian Embassy will be closed Friday June 12th, 2009. Please plan your visa processing accordingly.


03/19/2009 - Russian visa: Canadians



The Russian Government has relaxed restrictions on visa processing for Canadian citizens.  The processing times for Canadian citizens are now the same as for US citizens.  Expedited processing, including same-day services, are now available.


11/18/2008 - Russia Visa: Cruise Ship Entry



Passengers who wish to go ashore during port calls may do so without Russian visas provided they are with an organized tour at all times, accompanied by a tour operator who has been duly licensed by Russian authorities.
 
These special entry/exit requirements do not apply to river boat cruise passengers and travelers coming to Russia on package tours.  These travelers will need to apply for Russian visas prior to entry, and should follow the general guidelines for entry/exit requirements. 
 
Apply for a Russian visa.

 

08/13/2008 - Russian Transit Visa


RUSSIAN TRANSIT VISAS

 

Travelers who arrive in Russia at one airport and need to catch a connecting flight at another airport in Russia for an onward destination will be asked to present a transit visa issued by a Russian Embassy or Consulate.  Russian authorities may refuse to allow a U.S. citizen who does not have a transit visa to continue with his or her travel, obliging the person to immediately return to the point of embarkation at the traveler's own expense.

 

The Russian transit visa is valid only for 3 calendar days.
 

 

To obtain a transit visa the following documents should be submitted:

 

1. A completed visa application form (one per person) available at the Consulate.
 

2. A valid passport which should have at least one clear visa pages.

 

3. One passport size photo.

 

4. A copy of the visa of the country you are going to and/or from if needed.

 

5. Copy of your entire airline tickets.

 

6. A cover letter specifying itinerary, entry and departure dates of your transit through Russia. 

 

  Apply For a Russian Tranist Visa
 

08/13/2008 - Russia Transit Visa



RUSSIAN TRANSIT VISAS

 

No Visa Required if:

Transit visas are not required for lay-overs, which last less than 24 hours. You must stay in the international terminal of the airport. You cannot leave this area for any reason. You must be on a direct flight through the territory of Russia or travel by international airline and change flights in the same airport within 24 hours to transit without a visa.

 

Visa Required:

Travelers who are laying over for more than 24 hours in Moscow or another international airport in Russia and who continuing onward to a final destination will be asked to present a Russian transit visa issued by a Russian Embassy or Consulate.  Russian authorities may refuse to allow a traveler to continue on to the final destination if the person is not in posession of a valid Russian transit visa. Travelers who are not allowed to proceed are immediately returned to the point of embarkation at the traveler's sole expense.

 

Transit visas are valid for not more than 72 hours and can be single-entry or double-entry depending on the need. For example a single entry Russian transit visa allows for a traveler to enter Russian once within a 72 hour period. The traveler may exit the airport, stay in a hotel overnight, or explore a city before traveling on to a final destination. A double entry Russian tranist visa would allow for the same except you may enter Russia twice within the 72 hour validity.

 

The 72 hour / 3 day period is date specific and indicated on your Russian Tranist visa. For example a Russian transit visa with a validity of June 1 to June 3 would allow a traveler to tranist once or twice (depending on the number of entries issued) between June 1 and June 3. The visa is not valid outside of the specified date range.

 
The Russian Embassy or Consulate will issue a transit visa provided that you present a copy of your tickets and a visa valid for entry into the country of final destination if required in addition to the normal requirements needed for a visa. A letter of inviation and or visa support is not required.

 

Tranist by Air:

The transit visa is typically valid for 3 days. It is implied that Russian transit visas are for those who need to change flights while in Russia and such travelers are allowed to stay at the place of flight change- you should not expect to visit other locations or cities while in tranist as the visa will be issued for your point of entry only. For exmaple if you tranist through Moscow you cannot travel to St. Petersburg and back during the 72 validity.

 

Transit by Train:

Tranist visas for those traveling through Russia by train are also aviable. The duration of the visa can be up to 10 days. The Russian Embassy or Consulate will issue your tranist visa based on your itinerary- the visas validity is determined by distance and mode of travel. For example, when traveling by train from Moscow to Vyborg, you can be given a visa for 1 day, to Sochi, Novorossijsk – for 3 days, to Zabajkalsk – for 5 days, to Nakhodka - for 8 days.

 

Transit by Car:

When traveling by car, you will be issued a tranist visa for the term calculated in the following way: the full distance of your travel will be divided by 500 km. For example if you need to drive 3000 km, you would be issued a visa for 6 days. The maximum period of validity when traveling by car is 10 days.

 

Apply for a Russian Transit Visa

 

PLEASE NOTE:

 

If you require a longer validity or wish to travel freely as you tranist Russia we recommend you obtain a tourist visa. A tourist visa can be issued for a duration of stay of up to 30 days. 

 

Click to apply for a Russian Tourist Visa.
 

08/13/2008 - Russian Visa Duration


Limitations on Length of Stay:  In October 2007, the Russian government made significant changes to its rules regarding the length of stay permitted to most foreign visitors.  For any Russian visa issued on or after October 18, 2007, unless that visa specifically authorizes employment or study, a foreigner may stay in Russia only 90 days in any 180-day period.  This applies to business, tourist, humanitarian and cultural visas, among other categories. 

06/03/2008 - Russia Visa Fee Increase



The consular fee for Russian visas has increased from $100.00 to $131.00 effective immediately. For more information please see our Russian visa page.

 

06/03/2008 - Russian Visa



ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS:  The Russian government maintains a restrictive and complicated visa regime for foreigners who visit, transit, or reside in the Russian Federation.  A U.S. citizen who does not comply with Russian visa laws can be subject to arrest, fines, and/or deportation.  Russian authorities will not allow a U.S. citizen traveler with an expired visa to depart the country, effectively stranding the person for up to 20 days, until local authorities grant an exit visa.

 

The Government of Russia does not recognize the standing of the U.S. diplomatic mission to intervene in visa matters, including situations in which an American is stranded because of an expired visa.  U.S. citizens should also be aware that Russian immigration and visa laws change regularly, and the implementation of new regulations has not always been transparent or predictable. 

 

The Russian visa system includes a number of provisions that may be unfamiliar to Americans, including:

Sponsorship
Entry Visas
Limitations on Length of Stay
Exit Visas
Migration Cards
Visa Registration
Transit Visas
Restricted Areas 

 

Dual citizens who also carry Russian passports face additional complicated regulations.  Dual citizen minors who travel on their Russian passports also face special problems.  International cruise ship passengers do not need visas if they remain with authorized tour groups at all times while ashore.

 

Sponsorship:  Under Russian law, every foreign traveler must have a Russian-based sponsor, which could be a hotel, tour company, relative, employer, university, etc.  Even if a visa was obtained through a travel agency in the United States, there is always a Russian legal entity whose name is indicated on the visa and who is considered to be the legal sponsor.  Russian law requires that the sponsor must apply on the traveler's behalf for replacement, extension, or changes to a Russian visa.  U.S. citizens are strongly advised to ensure that they have contact information for the visa sponsor prior to arrival in Russia, as the sponsor's assistance will be essential to resolve any visa problems.

 

Entry Visas:  To enter Russia for any purpose, a U.S. citizen must possess a valid U.S. passport and a bona fide visa issued by a Russian Embassy or Consulate.  It is impossible to obtain an entry visa upon arrival, so travelers must apply for their visas well in advance.  U.S. citizens who apply for Russian visas in third countries where they do not have permission to stay more than 90 days may face considerable delays in visa processing.  Travelers who arrive in Russia without an entry visa will not be permitted to enter the country, and face immediate return to the point of embarkation at their own expense.

 

A Russian entry/exit visa has two dates written in the European style (day/month/year) as opposed to the American style (month/day/year).  The first date indicates the earliest day a traveler may enter Russia; the second date indicates the date by which a traveler must leave Russia.  A Russian visa is only valid for those exact dates and cannot be extended after the traveler has arrived in the country, except in the case of a medical emergency.

 

Russian tourist visas are often granted only for the specific dates mentioned in the invitation letter provided by the sponsor.  U.S. citizens sometimes receive visas valid for periods as short as four days.  Even if the visa is misdated through error of a Russian Embassy or Consulate, the traveler will still not be allowed into Russia before the visa start date or be allowed to leave after the visa expiration date.  Any mistakes in visa dates must be corrected before the traveler enters Russia.  It is helpful to have someone who reads Russian check the visa before departing the United States.  Travelers should ensure that their visas reflect intended activities in Russia (e.g., tourism, study, business, etc.).

 

U.S. citizens who are denied visas may seek a clarification from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 32/34 Smolenskaya-Sennaya Pl., Moscow, Russia, 119200, e-mail ministry@mid.ru.  The U.S. Embassy and the Consulates General, however, cannot advocate on behalf of private U.S. citizens who have been refused visas or denied entry into Russia.

 

Limitations on Length of Stay:  In October 2007, the Russian government made significant changes to its rules regarding the length of stay permitted to most foreign visitors.  For any visa issued on or after October 18, 2007, unless that visa specifically authorizes employment or study, a foreigner may stay in Russia only 90 days in any 180-day period.  This applies to business, tourist, humanitarian and cultural visas, among other categories. 

 

Exit Visas:  A valid visa is necessary to depart Russia.  Travelers who overstay their visa's validity, even for one day, will be prevented from leaving until their sponsor intervenes and requests a visa extension on their behalf.  Russian authorities may take up to 20 calendar days to authorize an exit visa, during which time the traveler will be stranded in Russia at his or her own expense.  The ability of the Embassy or Consulates General to intervene in these situations is extremely limited. 

 

Travelers with expired visas should also be aware that they may have difficulty checking into a hotel, hostel, or other lodging establishment.  There are no adequate public shelters or safe havens in Russia and neither the U.S. Embassy nor the Consulates General have means to accommodate such stranded travelers.

 

Visitors who lose their U.S. passports and Russian visas to accident or theft must immediately replace their passports at the U.S. Embassy or one of the Consulates General.  The traveler must then enlist the visa sponsor to obtain a new visa in order to depart the country.  As noted above, the U.S. Embassy and Consulates General are not able to intercede in cases in which visas must be replaced.  It is helpful to make a photocopy of your visa in the event of loss, but a copy is not sufficient to permit departure.

 

Travelers who are departing Russia by train should be aware that if they board a train on the last day of a visa's validity, Russian immigration officials may consider the visa to have expired if the train crosses the international border after midnight on the day of expiry.  The Embassy and Consulates General are aware of cases in which travelers have been detained at border crossings, unable to leave Russia, because their visas were expired by a matter of hours or minutes.

 

Visas for students and English teachers sometimes allow only one entry.  In these cases, the sponsoring school is responsible for registering the visa and migration card and obtaining an exit visa.  Obtaining an exit visa can take up to twenty days so students and teachers need to plan accordingly.  Please see the section below regarding Teaching in Russia.

 

Migration Cards:  All foreigners entering Russia must fill out a two-part migration card upon arrival.  The traveler deposits one part of the card with immigration authorities at the port of entry, and keeps the other part for the duration of his or her stay.  Upon departure, the traveler must submit his or her card to immigration authorities.  Foreign visitors to Russia are normally required to present their migration cards in order to register at hotels.

 

Migration cards, in theory, are available at all ports of entry from Russian immigration officials (Border Guards).  The cards are generally distributed to passengers on incoming flights and left in literature racks at arrival points.  Officials at borders and airports usually do not point out these cards to travelers; it is up to the individual travelers to find them and fill them out. 

 

Replacing a lost or stolen migration card is extremely difficult.  While authorities will not prevent foreigners from leaving the country if they cannot present their migration cards, travelers could experience problems when trying to re-enter Russia at a future date.

 

Although Russia and Belarus use the same migration card, travelers should be aware that each country maintains its own visa regime.  U.S. citizens wishing to travel to both nations must apply for two separate visas.  A traveler entering Russia directly from Belarus is not required to obtain a new migration card, but at his or her option may do so if blank ones are available at the time of entry. 

 

Visa Registration:  Travelers who spend more than three days in Russia must register their visa and migration card through their sponsor.  Travelers staying in a hotel must register their visa and migration card with their hotel within one day.  Even travelers who spend less than three days in one place are encouraged to register their visas.  If a traveler chooses not to register a stay of less than three days, he or she is advised to keep copies of tickets, hotel bills, or itineraries in order to prove compliance with the law.

 

U.S. citizens should be aware that Russian police officers have the authority to stop people and request their identity and travel documents at any time, and without cause.  Due to the possibility of random document checks by police, travelers should carry their original passports, migration cards, and visas with them at all times. 

 

Transit Visas:  Travelers intending to transit through Russia en route to a third country must have a Russian transit visa.  Even travelers who are simply changing planes in Moscow or another international airport in Russia for an onward destination will be asked to present a transit visa issued by a Russian Embassy or Consulate.  Russian authorities may refuse to allow a U.S. citizen who does not have a transit visa to continue with his or her travel, obliging the person to immediately return to the point of embarkation at the traveler's own expense.

 

Restricted Areas:  U.S. citizens should be aware that there are several closed cities and regions in Russia.  Travelers who attempt to enter these areas without prior authorization are subject to arrest, fines, and/or deportation.  A traveler must list on the visa application all areas to be visited and subsequently register with authorities upon arrival at each destination.  Travelers should check with their sponsor, hotel, or the nearest office of the Russian Federal Migration Service before traveling to unfamiliar cities and towns.

 

American Citizens Also Holding Russian Passports:  Dual U.S./Russian nationals who enter Russia on Russian passports face several possible difficulties.  Russian authorities will not permit departure from Russia if the person's Russian passport has expired or has been lost, whether or not the traveler also has a valid U.S. passport.  In these cases the traveler will be required to obtain a new Russian passport, a process that can take several months.  In order to apply for a Russian visa in a U.S. passport, however, Russian consular officials normally require a person to renounce his or her Russian citizenship. 

 

Russian external passports extended by Russian Consulates or Embassies overseas are not considered valid for departure from Russia no matter how long the extension.  Bearers of such passports will have to apply for a new passport inside the country.  Males of conscript age (18 - 27 years old) who are deemed to be Russian citizens may experience problems if they have not satisfied their military service requirement.

 

For further information, please see the Department of State's web page on dual nationality.
 

Minors:  American citizen minors who also have Russian citizenship and who are traveling on their Russian passports must have a power-of-attorney, written in Russian, allowing them to travel if they are traveling alone or in the company of adults who are not their parents.  Such minors will be prevented from entering or leaving Russia if they cannot present such a power-of-attorney.

 

International Cruise Ship Passengers:  International cruise ship passengers are permitted to visit Russian ports without a visa for a period of up to 72 hours.  Passengers who wish to go ashore during port calls may do so without visas provided that they are with an organized tour at all times, accompanied by a tour operator who has been duly licensed by Russian authorities.  These special entry/exit requirements do not apply to river boat cruise passengers and travelers coming to Russia on package tours.  These travelers will need to apply for visas prior to entry, and should follow the general guidelines for entry/exit requirements.

 

COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Russia is a vast and diverse nation that continues to evolve politically, economically, and socially.  Most Americans find their stay in Russia both exciting and rewarding, but travel and living conditions in Russia contrast sharply with those in the United States.  Major urban centers show tremendous differences in economic development compared to rural areas.  While good tourist facilities exist in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and some other large cities, they are not developed in most of Russia, and some of the goods and services taken for granted in other countries are not yet available.  Russian visa requirements are highly complex, and U.S. citizens must take care that they do not unintentionally violate entry and exit regulations.  Travel to the Caucasus region of Russia is dangerous.  The Department of State recommends Americans not travel to Chechnya and adjoining areas.

 

REGISTRATION / EMBASSY LOCATION:  Americans living or traveling in Russia are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration web site so that they can obtain updated information on travel and security within Russia.  Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.  By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency.

 

The U.S. Embassy's consular section is located at Novinskiy Bulvar 21, Moscow, metro station Barrikadnaya.  The Embassy's switchboard is tel. (7) (495) 728-5000, and the American Citizen Services Unit at tel. (7) (495) 728-5577.  In the event of an after-hours emergency, please contact the main switchboard.  The American Citizens Services Unit may also be contacted by fax at (7) (495) 728-5084, by e-mail at moscowwarden@state.gov and through the Embassy web site at http://moscow.usembassy.gov.

 

U.S. Consulates General are located in:

 

St. Petersburg
15 Ulitsa Furshtadtskaya, St. Petersburg 191028
Tel:  (7) (812) 331-2600
Fax:  (7) (812) 331-2646
Email:  StPetersburgACS@state.gov
Web site: http://stpetersburg.usconsulate.gov

 

Vladivostok
32 Ulitsa Pushkinskaya, Vladivostok 690001
Tel:  (7) (4232) 30-00-70
Fax:  (7) (4232) 30-00-91
After-hours emergencies:  (7) (4232) 71 00 67
E-mail: vladcons@state.gov
Web site: http://vladivostok.usconsulate.gov

 

Yekaterinburg
Ulitsa Gogolya 15a, 4th floor, Yekaterinburg 620151
Tel: (7) (343)379-3001
Fax: (7) (343) 379-4515
After-hours emergencies: (7) 8 902 84 16653
Email: consulyekat@state.gov
Web site: http://yekaterinburg.usconsulate.gov

06/03/2008 - Russian Entry Visa


Entry Visas:  To enter Russia for any purpose, a U.S. citizen must possess a valid U.S. passport and a bona fide visa issued by a Russian Embassy or Consulate.  It is impossible to obtain an entry visa upon arrival, so travelers must apply for their visas well in advance.  U.S. citizens who apply for Russian visas in third countries where they do not have permission to stay more than 90 days may face considerable delays in visa processing.  Travelers who arrive in Russia without an entry visa will not be permitted to enter the country, and face immediate return to the point of embarkation at their own expense.

 

A Russian entry/exit visa has two dates written in the European style (day/month/year) as opposed to the American style (month/day/year).  The first date indicates the earliest day a traveler may enter Russia; the second date indicates the date by which a traveler must leave Russia.  A Russian visa is only valid for those exact dates and cannot be extended after the traveler has arrived in the country, except in the case of a medical emergency.

 

Russian tourist visas are often granted only for the specific dates mentioned in the invitation letter provided by the sponsor.  U.S. citizens sometimes receive visas valid for periods as short as four days.  Even if the visa is misdated through error of a Russian Embassy or Consulate, the traveler will still not be allowed into Russia before the visa start date or be allowed to leave after the visa expiration date.  Any mistakes in visa dates must be corrected before the traveler enters Russia.  It is helpful to have someone who reads Russian check the visa before departing the United States.  Travelers should ensure that their visas reflect intended activities in Russia (e.g., tourism, study, business, etc.).

06/02/2008 - Russian Embassy Closing


The Russian Embassy and Consulates will be closed on Thursday, May 1st and Friday, May 9th, 2008. Please select your processing time accordingly when applying for your visa.

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