How do you get a Russian Visa?
The process to gain a Russian Visa is straight forward but does require your input. The followings is the procedure and timeframes involved. Each person needs to apply through the Russian Visa office in the country they reside. Generally the rules and process is the same but you should check locally as there are exceptions to this:
1) 8 weeks prior to your arrival in Russia you must ensure that you have entered the required information into 'your booking profile' page on our website or emailed it to us. The required information is your passport details (ensure your have at least 3 months remaining on your passport expiry after returning home and a blank page for the visa) and your full flight details.
2) 5 weeks prior to your arrival in Russia we will send you a 'travel voucher' and 'invitation letter'
3) Using your Travel Voucher and Invitation Letter you fill in an online application form on http://ru.vfsglobal.co.uk/. We will send you details with your travel papers to assist with this.
4) You then need to submit your passport, online application form, travel voucher, invitation letter, visa fee and a photograph to your local Russian embassy. This can be done in person (1-2 days processing time) or by post (7-10 days processing time). If you are applying in the UK you must also visit one of the Russian visa offices in person and give them your finger prints. Offices are in London, Edinburgh and Manchester.
5) On entry into Russia you will be given a migration card - do not lose this! It will be required for local registrations at hotels.
We will help and guide you through the process but the following are a few notes for guidance.
The visa process for Russia can appear complicated but it is straight forward. We are available to help you complete the application and will also send you guidance notes regarding the procedure. The most important thing is to double check all your details on your applications forms and to leave time so that if a problem occurs there is time left to rectify it.
Use online resources with some caution. There are sites that have outdated information, the visa form and some of the application process changed in 2009 and again in June of 2011 and most recently in 2015 so be wary of anything that was written prior to this date. There are also agencies that present themselves in a way that makes them look like an official government office when they are in fact a middle-man that will charge extra for their services. A good general rule would be to follow links from the website of ‘The Embassy of the Russian Federation’ in your home country.
Although you cannot apply for your visa more than 6 weeks before your travel date you should look at the supporting information prior to this date so that you can send off the application as soon as the 6 week window opens. You will be supplied with the relevant invitation letters 6 weeks prior to your arrival in Russia.
The personal data supplied to the office for the invitation letters and on the visa application needs to be precisely as it appears on your passport. Please do double-check this as any inconsistencies may lead to rejection of your application by the consulate. Do also check that you have enough validity remaining on your passport – this depends on your nationality but is usually 3 months validity remaining after your departure date from Russia to home.
The visa form will require you to specify the exact entry and exit dates so really you need to have your flights booked before filling out the form. You need to have planned your whole itinerary, in terms of duration, before applying for the visa. It is not possible to extend your visa whilst in Russia.