Russian visa FAQ

Russian visa FAQ

Here we have collated the answers to the most popular frequently asked questions regarding Russian visas.

General Information

Do I need a visa?

A Russian visa is required for nationals of most countries. However, recently Russia established a visa-free regime with several European, Asian and South American countries. To find out whether the visa-free regime is applicable in your case, please check a list of visa-free regime nationalities for Russia.

How to obtain a visa?

To obtain a Russian visa, you first need to obtain an invitation (visa support) issued by an authorised organisation. Then you should take that invitation to the Russian consulate in your country in order to obtain an actual visa. Global Singapore Associates Pte Ltd provides tourist and business invitations and can assist you in applying for a visa on your behalf.

How can you help me to obtain a visa? Do you actually issue visas?

Global Singapore Associates Pte. Ltd provides tourist and business invitations (visa support) and can lodge an application for visa on your behalf. The visa fees vary depending on the applicant’s citizenship and processing time. Please contact our office on (+65) 9387 7672 or (+65) 8722 1482 in order to obtain the up-to-date information.

I have booked a hotel in Russia. Do I still need an invitation?

Hotel booking confirmation and visa support documents (invitation) are not the same. Confirmation from a hotel is only sufficient if a hotel is authorised to provide visa support for foreign citizens. Only first class hotels (such as Sheraton, Marriott, etc.) are entitled to do this. If you have a booking with another hotel, you should also present a letter of invitation from an authorised tour company in order to get a visa.

We will be glad to issue a tourist letter of invitation for you upon receiving a request. An invitation will be processed same or next business day.

Can I use a tourist or business visa if the actual purpose of my visit is different?

Generally, the type of visa that you may use mostly depends on the duration of your visit. However, a tourist or business visa cannot be used if:

  • you are visiting Russia in order to adopt a child (a specific adoption visa will be required)
  • you want to send a child to Russia with his/her Russian mother (a homestay visa will be required)
  • you want to stay in Russia more than 90 days (a student or work visa will be required)

In these cases invitations must be processed by the persons or entities you really plan to visit.

I am visiting Russia on an international cruise. Do I need a visa?

The regulations for cruise passengers are very specific. A cruise passenger can get off the ship together with other tourists; in this case no visa is required. The passport control officers just check the list of passengers produced by the cruise company.

If a cruise passenger does not wish to be with the group and prefers making an individual city tour, just having a tourist visa would not be sufficient. You should be met at the port and ushered through the passport control by a representative of the tourist company whose services you have booked. A cruise passenger cannot just show their passport with visa to the passport control officers and go to the city. One has to be escorted.

I changed my mind and do not need your invitation any more. Can I have a refund?

It is against our policy to refund in case the requested service has been provided in full unless there has been a mistake or delay in processing on our side.

Once I am issued a visa, can I travel all over Russia?

Normally, yes. You will be issued a visa to the country, not to any specific places. Once in Russia, you have the right to change your original itinerary and travel elsewhere. However, there are places and regions in Russia foreigners have a limited access to.

How long can I stay in Russia?

Your visa will be issued for the period of time covered by your invitation regardless of the date of the visa issuance and that of your actual entry to Russia. You cannot enter earlier or overstay your visa but you can enter the country later or/and leave it earlier than originally planned.

A tourist visa is available for up to 30 days and business visa can be issued for 1, 3, 6 or 12 months. Please note that a multiple-entry business visa allows nationals of all countries to stay in Russia up to 90 days out of the period of 180 days. An alternative option is using 3 months business visas and re-applying for them when necessary.

It is not possible to extend a tourist or business visa.

Submitting an application

How to submit an application?

You will need to complete an application form for a tourist or business invitation.

A clear photocopy of your passport should be enclosed to your application.

If you are applying for a visa not in your own country, a copy of your residence or work permit in the country of your temporary residence may also be required . In this case our operators will inform you about this additional requirement.

Do I need to indicate the exact dates of my visit to Russia?

If your exact travel dates are not yet settled, it is always a good idea to obtain a tourist invitation for a longer period than you actually plan to stay in Russia. Then you can get a visa for the same period and travel between the dates with no problem. You cannot enter earlier or overstay your visa but you always can enter the country later or/and leave it earlier than originally planned.

A business invitation and visa will be valid for 1, 3, 6 or 12 months since the date of your first planned entry to Russia.

Do I need to indicate my exact itinerary?

Please indicate the main cities you plan to visit. Small towns and places that you plan to visit for a day or two do not need to be specified.

How can I pay for your invitation?

You can pay using one of the available payment options. Our bank details will be sent to you same or next business day, as soon as your application is checked by our consultants. Your invitation will be taken to processing once our bank confirms the funds’ receipt. Please note that the transfer may take a few days.

You can visit our office and pay in cash. Please make sure to contact us and check whether the application is in full order before sending a contact person to our office. Your application will be taken to processing once the payment is received.

Obtaining an Invitation

When can I expect my invitation and how will it be sent?

If the application is submitted correctly and can be taken to processing at once, your invitation will be issued within the requested time frame.

There are two different types of invitations. If it’s a Telex then the number will be emailed to you once the processing is completed. If you require a paper invitation, then it will take longer, as the invitation must be presented to the consulate in original, so it will be posted by UPS (extra charge apply).

Can you send the invitation to the consulate?

The regular practice is that all the paperwork required for the visa processing is submitted to the consulate by an applicant or an agent on behalf of an applicant. An invitation issuer is not supposed to send the invitation to the consulate and the documents sent to the consulate may be disregarded unless the consulate has specifically required that the invitation is sent to them directly.

How to read my invitation?

A tourist invitation comprises two documents: a confirmation and a voucher.

Full name and reference number of the invitation issuer are indicated in Latin characters at the bottom of your voucher.

Information on the cities you plan to visit and hotels you plan to stay at is listed on the confirmation and voucher. Your itinerary will be specified as per your application. The names of hotels will be indicated in Latin characters for your convenience.

Being issued by the Russian Federal Migration Service, a business invitation is in Russian. Your itinerary will be specified as per your application.

While in Russia

I have arrived in Russia. How do I register my visa?

A foreign citizen must register with the local migration authorities within 7 days upon arrival. Then a visa has to be re-registered at each city where you stay for more than 7 days.

The registration must be completed by the receiving entity. Please note that the receiving entity is not necessarily the same as the inviting organisation or hotel entered in the person’s invitation and visa but a company, hotel or person a foreigner is actually visiting in Russia.

If you do stay at a hotel, the registration is fully taken care of by the hotel reception.

If you are staying at a private apartment, your visa is to be registered by your landlord. Please have the landlord apply at the local police precinct (in Moscow) or FMS office (commonly known as OVIR) in other cities. They will just need to fill out a registration form indicating your passport and migration card details. Your landlord will have to present their passport with the registration (a so called “propiska”) at the same address.

In most cities the form can also be sent to the migration authorities from the local post office. As sending a document by post takes considerably less time than presenting it to the police, we recommend that you use this option whenever possible.

I have lost my passport.

Please contact the nearest police station ASAP and report the loss. You will be provided with a certificate confirming the loss of your passport.

Please contact your consulate in Russia in order to be issued a new temporary passport.

I would like to extend my visa.

Sorry, this is not possible. Neither a tourist nor a business visa can be extended.

If you happen to overstay your visa, you will need an exit visa in order to leave the country. An exit visa is to be taken care of by the invitation issuer. Please do not waste time trying to contact any other entities and do not let any information obtained by hearsay influence your actions. We feel it is our duty to warn you that the exit visa obtaining procedure is extremely complicated, time-consuming, and, truth to tell, expensive. We strongly recommend you to avoid overstaying your visa.

Can I obtain a new visa without leaving Russia?

No, not legally, as an entry visa to Russia is processed by the Russian consulates in foreign countries. No entity in Russia can issue a Russian visa.

Sometimes people think it is a good idea to send their passport from Russia to their country of origin via FedEx and have the consulate or a visa expediting agency send back the new visa once it is ready. Indeed, this would be the worst possible option to take as in such a case your new visa will be invalid as you will not have crossed the Russian border with this visa and obtained a stamp in your passport.

With one visa expired and the other, invalid, a foreigner may find themselves in a most difficult situation. The only thing that can be done is to obtain an exit visa (which is a complicated procedure) and leave the country directly.

What is the tourist voucher?

Tourist voucher is a document where the tourist services which are to be provided to you (i.e. airport transfer, hotel accommodation, museum excursions etc.), are listed.

How much money in foreign currency can I bring to Russia?

You can legally bring to Russia any amount of cash, however you are required to declare a sum that exceeds US$10,000 (or equivalent). You can legally carry out of Russia up to US$ 3,000 (or equivalent) without declaration, while any amount exceeding US$ 3,000 should be declared. To carry out of Russia cash currency exceeding US$ 10,000 you will need to produce an official document (custom declaration or bank certificate) proving the fact that you legally brought the said amount of currency to Russia.

Are there Currency Exchange offices in Russia?

Yes, there are. You can legally exchange foreign currency in Russian banks.

Are there any restrictions on the travel checks or credit cards in Russia?

No, there are no restrictions. Credit cards are not to be declared and can be used freely. Russian banks can cash your travel checks. You can also buy travel checks in Russian banks. Travel checks for the total amount exceeding US$ 10,000 must be declared both on arrival and on departure.

I take pills. Is it OK to bring medical drugs to Russia?

Yes, in reasonable quantities for personal consumption.

I want to bring my dog/cat with me. What are the veterinary requirements?

Prior to arrival to Russia, all dogs and cats must be put in quarantine. During last 14 days (but not earlier) they must get vaccination (please, consult your veterinarian) and animal’s transportation container must get special sanitary treatment. Upon completing these procedures, the veterinarian issues a certificate, which you have to get authorised at your local Office of the Department of Agriculture (or similar local official authority) and, then, translate into Russian. Please, note that in some cases Russian quarantine authorities may require the animal to be put in quarantine in Russia for an additional 30 days.

How do I get a multiple Visa?

Your partners in Russia must apply on your behalf to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or to its Regional Offices in Russia or the Federal Migration Office or its local offices to get the invitation for a multiple visa issued. Then, this invitation will be cabled to the Consular Office or sent to you directly. Once we receive it, you become eligible for a multiple visa. Alternatively, we can apply for the multiple-entry invitation on your behalf.

How do I invite my friends or relatives from Russia to Singapore?

Yes, we can help your friend to get a visa to Singapore. You can also give your friends a direct link to our Russian section of the website dealing with visas to Singapore.

While in Russia, can I change my visa status, i.e. from tourist to business?

No, you cannot change your visa status while you are in Russia. In order to do that, you have to leave the country and re-enter on a different visa.