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Passports and Visas

Choose your Visa Type


Russian Tourist Visa
A visa to the Russian Federation is a document, permitting stay in Russia. This visa type is issued to tourists who have booked accommodation in Russia for non-business reason. When you know exactly where and how long you will be staying without diverting from your planned itinerary - a tourist visa is best for. For a tourist visa to Russia, you must have confirmed accommodations or transit information for every night of your stay in the country. A visa lists entry/exit dates, your vital information, passport details, and has two photos stapled to it. Please note, that your Russian visa is an exit permit just like it's an entry permit: if you lose it or stay over your designated departure date, leaving the country could be more troublesome than entering it.

 

Russian Business Visa
This type of Russian visa is issued for travelers, who visit Russia on official or private business. Business visas are best for visitors who do not know their exact itineraries, want to stay in Russia longer than 30 days or need to enter Russia frequently.
Business visas to the Russian Federation may be issued with up to two entries and for up to 90 days. There are also multiple-entry business visas, valid for 3, 6 or 12 months with unlimited entries/exits.
We will apply for your official business visa support at the Ministry of Internal Affairs in St. Petersburg and send it to the Russian Consulate you select or fax or mail it to you after it will be issued.
Business visas for travel to cities/regions below can be obtained only on official invitations processed through the Ministry of Internal Affairs or through its Regional Representative offices. Invitations on business letterheads from the are not accepted as business visa support.

 

Russian Private or Homestay Visa
If the purpose of your trip to Russia is to visit friends or relatives you can apply for a homestay or visitors visa. This type of visa allows you to stay in the Russian Federation for up to 90 days.
Friends or relatives who will host you during your Russian visit will need to obtain a visa invitation for you from a local OVIR (office of visas and registrations). This official invitation will need to be mailed to you. Russian Consulates worldwide accept only original OVIR invitations.

 

Russian Transit Visa
A Russian Transit Visa may be obtained when you are traveling to another country though the Russian territory. For a transit visa, please submit to your local Russian Embassy Consulate an entry visa to the country of destination and a copy of the air, railway or other ticket.

 

How to Get a Russian Visa
Although it is possible to arrange your own Russian visa, most travelers choose to hire a visa service to do the work. Invitations can cost anything up to and beyond $200, depending on the type of visa and the speed of service. For an extra $20-$30, agencies take your invitation to an embassy or consulate and send you the visa. Some services will even take care of registering the visa when you arrive in Russia. Given that each Russian consulate and embassy has different tastes and temperaments, it's usually best to have somebody who knows the ropes do the dirty work.

 

The only problem with hiring somebody to handle your visa is figuring out who to hire. Amid many honest and efficient agencies are a handful of fly-by-night firms that tend to disappear as soon as they get your credit card number. That shouldn't stop you from using a firm; just choose wisely! See below for a list of visa agencies with an Internet presence.

General Russian Visa Resources
Visa Advice from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow
http://usembassy.state.gov/posts/rs1/wwwhca5.html

Russian Consulates and Embassies
Click here to see our list of Russian Embassies and Consulates abroad.

One way to find reliable visa agencies is through Russian embassies and consulates. Unfortunately, only a handful of them are online.

Russian Embassy in the U.S.: www.russianembassy.org/
Russian Consulate in New York: www.ruscon.com/

Russian Embassy in Canada: www.magma.ca/~rusemb/

Consulate locator; this page has contact information for Russian consulates and embassies all over the world: www.russianembassy.net/

Russian Visa Agencies
In Russia:

Andrew's consulting
www.actravel.com/

Kalinka Travel
www.russianvisa.com/kalin.htm

International Hostel Holiday
www.hostel.ru/

Traveler's Guest House
www.iro.ru/index-5.htm

Visa House
www.visahouse.com

Adentina Tour
103688, Moscow
Ulitsa Varvarka, 14, Office 308
Tel: (7-095) 298-4737
Tel: (7-095) 298-3863
Fax: (7-095) 298-3801
adentina@mtu-net.ru
Though they don't have a web site, Adentina does a reliable job with visas for Russia and most CIS countries.


RussiaGateway.com
www.russiagateway.com

In Switzerland:

Ziegler & Partner
http://studyrussian.com/MGU/visa_application.html

In the United Kingdom:

Russia Link
www.russialink.couk.com/embassy/visa_support.htm

Russiadirect
www.russia.direct.dial.pipex.com/index.shtml

In the United States:

Go to Russia Travel
www.gotorussia.net/

Complete Visa Center
Intelservice Center and its Visa to Russia service
www.intelservice.ru
www.visatorussia.com

Travel Document Systems
www.traveldocs.com

RussiaGateway.com
www.russiagateway.com

In Australia:

Gateway Travel
www.russian-gateway.com.au

 

WHAT IS THE REGISTRATION. After you arrive to Russia you need to register in 72 hours (3 working days - excluding public holidays and weekends) after your arrival. You yourself, the hostel or hotel you stay in, an inviting organization or a travel agency can make the registration. Doing it yourself is taking too much time and some money.

Registration is a small stamp in your passport on a paper attached to your visa saying that you're registred for living at some place for some period. Registration is needed because the city officials want to be sure you're living somewhere.
Until it's 72 hours after your arrival, your tickets (train, bus, plane tickets) to the place you're in (e.g. Moscow) is an official document which confirms for how long you've been staying there. That means the tickets can be used instead of registration for 72 hours upon your arrival. After 72 hours you need a registration.
If you stay in a hostel or a hotel they usually make this registration for you at the desk for free or a small fee ($1). But the hostels make reservations only for those visas they themselves made invitations for.

HOW TO REGISTER YOUR RUSSIAN VISA. If you made an invitation through a hostel, they'll register you for free, if you buy at least one night there.
Another way is to go on the first day of your arrival to any crappy cheap hotel (unfortunately, the even cheapest is for $18-20 US a night), apply for the room for one night only, and ask them to make a registration for the whole period of your visa. You can stay in this hotel one night and then do whatever you want and sleep wherever you want. If you want an address of some hotels that can do it for you, contact us.
Hostel "Asia" can make a registration for $7 US if you got your visa not through them.
If you got your visa from some travel agency and the hostel/hotel you stay in can't make a registration for you, you can go or call to the travel agency and they'll explain to you how to make this registration. Usually, if you live in an apartment, the owner of the apartment makes the paper where he says that he allows you to stay at his place from such until such date. Then he signs this paper and stamps it at the lawyer's office. After that you bring this paper and your passport to the travel agency and the agency makes you a registration for about $20 in one day.

WHAT IF YOU DON'T REGISTER / POLICE: This registration thing was made more for people from CIS rather than the foreigners. Some cops will care if you have a registration or not, some not. If a cop stops you to check your documents and you don't have a registration, he has the right (russian law) to take you to police station and to fine you.
In the worst case, if you don't have a registration, you might have problems in case police stops you to check your documents. Officially, the fine should be $3-5, and they can also take you to a police station, but for not long (not more than 3 hours).
But there are some fuckers who try to make bucks on foreigners and start saying that "Oh, you don't have registration, you're going to have big problems, you have to pay $100 not to get involved". All this is crap. These policemen are just trying to make money on you. Officially they can't arrest you or take $100 from you for such a minor thing. But they start to frighten and all to make money, as if they forget that they may lose their job for bribing. Usually, these fuckers like to work next to the busy tourist area (like Red Square in Moscow, for example).
What you can do is to either not pay anything (if you have time and patience to argue with them) or just put the price down to the standard $3-4 for such infringement. Better don't speak Russian at all and behave as if you don't understand what they want. One policeman told me that if they see a foreigner doesn't have a registration, they'll not care because they "don't want extra troubles".

CUSTOMS. If you get lucky and nobody stopped you, then you might have problems on the border. The customs will ask you for the registration papers and if you don't have any they can ask for a fine up to 100$ - guys in the travel agencies say it happens in 30% of cases. You can just say you don't have any money and hope they'll let you cross the border (it worked with a friend of mine), but in that case they could write down your passport details and you may have problems getting russian visa next time (they didn't write down the details of my friend, she came to Russia again after that without any problems).
And one more thing: actually most of the people don't register, cause it's pain in the ass, but if you want to feel safe and if you don't want to talk to russian police, it's better to register, especially that it's free or 5 bucks maximum.

Russian Consulates

United States


Embassy of Russia in the United States
2650 Wisconsin Ave., N.W.
Washington DC 20007
Tel: (202)298-5700
Tel: (202)298-5772
Fax: (202)298-5749

Visa Department:
1825 Phelps Place N.W.
Washington DC 20008
Tel: (202)939-8907
Fax: (202)939-8909

Consulate General in Seattle
2001 Sixth Avenue Westin Building Suite 2323
Seattle WA 98121-2617
Tel: (206)728-1910
Fax: (206)728-1871

Consulate General in New York
9 East 91 St.
New York, NY 10128
Tel: (212)348-0926
Fax: (212)831-9162

Consulate General in San Francisco
2790 Green St.
San Francisco, CA 94123
Tel: (415)928-6878
Fax: (415)929-0306

Russian Mission at UN
136 East 67th St.
New York, NY 10021
Tel: (212)861-4900
Fax: (212)628-0252


Canada


Embassy of Russia in Canada
285 Charlotte St.
Ottawa, Canada
Tel: (613)235-4341
Fax: (613)236-6342

Visa Department:
Tel: (613)236-7220
Tel: (613)236-6215
Fax: (613)238-6158

Consulate General in Montreal
3655 Ave Du Musee
Montreal, Quebec, H3G2EI
Tel: (514)843-5901
Tel: (514)842-5343
Fax: (514)842-2012


 

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