Russian Visa

Post FROM 
February 5, 2020
February 5, 2020

ou might feel lost in all the confusing information about visas for Russia.
Here we’ve made it simple for you! There are several options that you may consider when visiting Russia for tourism.

1. Visa-Free Travel to Russia

Citizens of the following countries do not need a visa for Russia:
Countries of the CIS (Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine)
Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Israel, Nicaragua, Peru, Venezuela, South Africa (up to 90 days of visa-free stay)
Cuba, Montenegro, Serbia (with biometric passport), Thailand, Turkey (up to 30 days)
South Korea (up to 60 days), Hong Kong SAR (up to 14 days), Macao SAR.
Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia (up to 30 days; travel documents are required)

If you are not a national of one of these countries, make sure to get a Russian visa in your country of residence before departing for Russia.

2. 72-Hour Visa-Free Entry for Cruise Ship and Ferry Passengers

Taking a ferry from Helsinki or Tallinn allows you to stay in St. Petersburg for up to 72 hours without a Russian visa.
However, it is possible only if you have booked tours through the companies officially licensed by the Russian government. International tourists must depart and return to the port with the tour, there is no opportunity to return to the ship on your own.

3. E-Visa for Saint Petersburg

Free e-visas are now available for nationals of 53 foreign countries who plan a short-term visit to Saint Petersburg. The e-visa is issued for up to 8 days of stay and is valid for 30 days. It’s very convenient, however, it only works for Saint Petersburg, not for the rest of Russia. This visa is valid if you enter Russia through checkpoints located in Saint Petersburg and the Leningrad Region.

E-visa for Saint Petersburg:

  • Single-entry visa
  • Online application
  • Issued within 4 days
  • Period of stay up to 8 days
  • No consular fee. You don’t need to pay for anything.
  • Valid for 30 days

The application process is simple, you will be asked to provide such basic details as personal data, passport information and information regarding travel plans while in St. Petersburg.


1. The passport should be valid for at least 6 months upon the date of arrival in Russia.
2. Online visa is valid only for Saint Petersburg and Leningrad region! If you plan to visit Moscow or other Russian regions as well, you need to apply for an ordinary Russian visa.
3. Entry and exit with an e-visa by train is currently unavailable.
(Austria, Andorra, Bahrain, Belgium, Bulgaria, China and Taiwan, Czech Republic, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Hungary, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Kuwait, Finland, France, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, North Korea, North Macedonia, Norway, Oman, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Vatican)

4. Tourist Visa to Russia

The application process for the Russian visa is not as difficult as you might think.
All you need to know is: when you are travelling, where you are staying and have a basic travel plan.

Step 1:
Get your visa support letter (also known as an invitation). Invitations can be issued by many hotels on request (sometimes for a fee) or through various online services.

Step 2: Apply for your Visa. There are a lot of on-line services that offer to arrange the visa for you, but the cheapest way to go is to apply directly with the Russian consulate in your country of residence. To find the closest one to you – follow this link Requirements may vary depending on the country, so check the information carefully on the website of the consulate before applying. Here is a general list of documents that are commonly requested.

Russian visa requirements:

  1. Your passport that must be valid within six months after visa expiry date
  2. Visa application form (filled in and printed out). It can be downloaded from the website of the Russian consulate.
  3. A recent photo (of a proper size) glued to the application form.
  4. Invitation or a “Tourist voucher” or a “Tourist confirmation” document stamped and signed by an authorized person. It can be obtained through your hotel or an approved travel agent who deals with trips to Russia or through various online services associated with Russian tour operators.
  5. You may be requested to submit copies of your flight tickets or other travel documents; photocopy of vehicle registration certificate in case you are travelling by car.
  6. A copy of travel/health insurance policy that will be valid in Russia
  7. Self-employed, company directors, working from home or unemployed applicants may be requested to provide bank statements confirming their financial status.
  8. Visa fee payment PLEASE NOTE: Please check the updates with the Russian consulate as the requirements may often change

Tourist Voucher – Tips for Independent Travelers
If you prefer to have a flexible itinerary and be free of any hotel commitments, you can book your accommodation through or any other booking engine that allows free cancelations.
Once you have your accommodation confirmed, search on-line for companies offering the Tourist Voucher. The price of this on-line service is around 20-30 USD. They will send you the voucher via e-mail and all you need is to print it out before applying for your visa at the consulate.
Here are several links to websites that offer Tourist Vouchers:

Russian Visa Registration

According to the law, every foreign citizen must register his visa each time he enters Russia, no matter how many days he is intended to stay.
If you are staying at a hotel, the hotel will usually register you automatically. If you are staying at a hostel or an AirBnB apartment, you should confirm with the host if they are able to do that.

If you are staying at a private apartment or with friends, there are two options:

  • Your hosts should register you at the local post office (but in that case they need to have permanent registration at that apartment themselves)
  • Register online through the visa agencies. Usually you will be able to get this
  • Your hosts should register you at the local post office (but in that case they need to have permanent registration at that apartment themselves)
  • Register online through the visa agencies. Usually you will be able to get this service from the same website that has issued the Tourist Voucher. In this case you’d need to send them your visa details within the first 24 hours of your arrival and pay a fee.

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