Currently, if you are planning a trip to Russia for either tourism or business the application process is quite long and drawn out. Russia is big on obtaining details before they hand out a visa and as such you will need to complete an in-depth online form, print it, sign it, and present it at the Russian consulate or embassy with your passport and other documents. As you can imagine this take times. The good news is that a Russia Visa online application process is on the horizon.
The Russia eVisa
The eVisa is expected to work like the eVisa that Russia issues for visits to far eastern regions of Russia. There are 18 countries that can apply for it including China, Mexico, and India. People here just complete an online form. They can apply for the visa between 20 and 4 days before their arrival date in Russia.
Ports of entry are specific and the visa will not allow entry into Russia in other ports. There is no requirement to show hotel booking tickets, however, once the eVisa has been approved. Travel is limited to 8 days.
Only 8 parts of Russia are part of this scheme. They are:
- Primorsky Krai
- Kamchatka Krai
- Sakhalin Oblast
- Amur Oblast
- Khabarovsk Krai
- Chukotka Autonomous Okrug
- Zabaykalsky Krai
In 2021 the eVisa system should be rolled out to other countries making travelling to the country far easier.
Current Documentation for Obtaining a Visa
Right now, if you apply for a tourist visa to visit Russia you will need to show the following documentation:
- The printed and signed tourist visa online form
- A signed passport sized photograph
- Your passport
- Proof of accommodation such as hostel and hotel bookings
- Supporting documentation showing that it is a tourist visit such as tour tickets
There are 54 states that can travel to Russia without a visa. These tend to be South American nations and former states of the USSR.
If you are travelling as part of a group of seven people or more you can make a group application and receive a discount on the cost of a visa. All members of the group have to present their documentation at the same time at the embassy or consulate.
Travel is restricted to 30 days. The only exception is the United States where tourist visas can run for 3 years.
Check Before you Apply for a Visa
Depending on why you are visiting Russia you should check the visa application process for your specific country. There are subtle differences and these change from time to time.
If you are planning a trip to Russia it might be worth waiting for the eVisa system to be rolled out. The whole process will be faster and more convenient.
Russia is a beautiful country with a unique culture. Soon, experiencing the country will be a lot easier than it is now no matter where you are in the world.
In the meantime, you will need to carry on with the existing visa system if you want to travel to Russia.
Ismael González Serrano