How to get a Russian visa in 3 steps: a comprehensive guide

Fortunately, the days when getting a tourist visa to Russia was a complex bureaucratic process are long gone — now it’s easy for travelers from any country! Simply follow our step-by step instructions.

And one more important detail – at our end the New Year has already brought some exciting news: now nationals of 53 foreign States may be granted an e-visa to Saint Petersburg within just 4 days!


Find out whether your country requires a visa to enter Russia or not

Citizens of the European Union and the United States need to request a single or double-entry tourist visa for a period of up to 30 days to enter Russia. For citizens of some countries a visa-free regime might applicable. For the most up to date list of countries whose citizens need a visa to enter Russia, or those countries that operate a visa-free system, please go to this website:


Contact the Consular Section of the Russian Embassy, or the visa center to clarify the list of documents and the rules of entry for citizens of your country

Ideally, the applying for a visa to Russia should begin 2-3 months before your expected date of entry. You can apply for a visa no earlier than 90 days before the expected date of entry. The application process at consulates usually takes up to 10 working days. In some consulates and visa centers, express visas can be issued in 1-3 days at an additional cost. In many EU countries, the submission of documents is carried out only via special visa centers accredited by the Russian consular department. In most EU countries, such a visa center is VFS Global. If you’re not an EU citizen, you can find information on the website of the Consular Section of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in your country. Please only use the services of accredited visa centers and agencies.


Collect the necessary documents

Below is a list of typical documents necessary to apply for a Russian visa. For the current list of documents you are required to provide when applying for a visa, please check the information on the website of the consular department of the Russian Embassy in the country of your permanent residence. To apply for a Russian visa, you will need:

  • A passport valid for at least 6 months after the expiry date of the visa with at least 2 blank pages for visas to be attached;
  • A recent color photograph of 3,5 × 4,5 cm on a white background;
  • A fully completed visa application form from the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, printed and signed personally by you;
  • A letter of Invitation — this is an official document in Russian and English, confirming that you are invited to Russia by a tour operator or hotel accredited by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It should consist of two parts: a voucher and confirmation of your admission as a foreign tourist. They should indicate your passport details, as well as the exact dates of your visit to Russia, the cities and hotels/apartments where you plan to stay. The hotel reservation voucher cannot be used as an official invitation. NFR Travel makes such invitations for the clients for free — we will send it as soon as you book the trip and make the payment;
  • Travel insurance — please ensure that your insurance policy covers all the activities you plan to undertake on your trip. For example, trekking, heli-skiing, kayaking etc. In each of our routes, in the «Documents» section we specify the activities included in each trip;
  • Consular fee — EUR 35 for EU citizens, express visa EUR 70 (please check the details provided by the Consular Section of the Russian Embassy in your country);
  • Service charge: this differs in each EU country — from EUR 25 to 30 for payment for services of a Visa Center;
  • Other documents depending on the place application, citizenship and other personal circumstances (for example, you may need a financial document confirming the availability of funds for your trip and for the duration of your stay in the Russian Federation).

Additional permissions

For some places in Russia, in addition to a visa, foreigners require a special permit to enter the border zone. The permit must be issued 3 months prior to your visit. The border zones are located in 46 subjects of the Russian Federation, including the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic, the Murmansk Region, the Republic of Altai, the Republic of Tuva and the Kamchatka Region. If a permit is required to visit one of the border zones on one of our trips, then NFR Travel will issue it for you free of charge.

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