Russian VISAs

There are many kinds of Russian Federation visa including business, tourist, work, private, transit and student, and there many requirements which must be met in order to be issued with any of them.

In order to obtain a Russian visa you must have an invitation letter, a completed migration card, a visa application form, a passport (which will remain valid six months beyond the end of your extended stay), an application fee and three additional passport-sized photos. Proof of medical insurance is also sometimes required.

Each type of Russian visa must be supported by a different type of ‘invitation’. In the majority of cases invitations can be issued by professional companies, like travel agencies, but for a business visa an invitation usually has to be supplied by a Federal Migration Service accredited Russian company. Alternately business invitations can sometimes be issued at the request of an international organisation accredited by the Consular Department of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

An important factor to bear in mind when it comes to Russian visas (whether single or multiple entry) is that they aren’t normally eligible for extension. Although business and student visas can be extended there are restrictions.

Applications for new visas can be made whilst an existing visa is still valid but you must exit Russia prior to its expiration.

If you should lose your visa or have it stolen an exit visa must be obtained. Unfortunately this can be a lengthy process. You must first request a document detailing the lost/stolen status of your visa from your local police precinct. This must then be presented with your passport, two official photos and your return ticket to your visa sponsor. Exit visas are only processed by your visa sponsor on your behalf.

Once you arrive in Russia the first thing you should do is register. Registration can be completed at a local registration office. The amount of time it takes to receive registration confirmation can vary according to the type of visa you have.


Applications for Russian work permits must correlate with the type of visa you have and must be approved by the Federal Migration Service.

You should bear in mind the fact that if your employer is not requesting the permit for you the services of an attorney will be required and this can be quite costly. In the case of many professions it will need to be proven that the job you intend to hold could not be done by a Russian citizen.

Some professions, including journalism and teaching, do not require work permits.


If you decide to apply for residency in Russia you must choose between temporary and permanent.

With a temporary residence permit a foreign citizen is given the right to live in Russia for up to three years. It can take up to 6 months to complete the application process and you will still need to apply for a work permit if you intend to work outside your region of residence.

If you plan to apply for permanent residence you must have first held a temporary permit for a minimum of one year. Permanent residence permits are valid for five years and come with the option of extending for a further five. With a permanent residence permit foreigners gain the right to travel in and out of Russia without a visa. They can also work anywhere in the country without a work permit.