Russian Visa FAQ

Getting visa to Russia for foreigners, problems and hints; immigration to Russia

Russian Visa FAQ

Postby Beholder » 30 Jan 2009, 11:42

FAQ by Way To Russia

Q: You say that no hotel reservations are needed to obtain a Russian visa, but the Russian consulate website says that I need a hotel reservation confirmation (among other documents) in order to get my visa. Who is right?

A: In order to get a tourist Russian visa, you need to have an invitation (also called visa support) which comprises two papers: reservation confirmation and cover letter (or travel voucher). When you apply for visa support through our site, our partner visa agency provides complete visa support papers to you: the reservation confirmation and the cover letter (or travel voucher). Officially you have a hotel reserved, but you simply don't have to stay there. So, to make things easier, we write that you need no hotel reservation to get a visa. However, when you fill out the visa application form for the consulate, you should specify this hotel(s) (that is specified in your invitation) as a place of your stay (obviously, as it's reserved for you).


Q: The consulate says that they need a Cover Letter from a travel agency in my country and the Itinerary. Where can I get it?

A: This is not required by all Russian consulates, only some, especially the one in Japan. The cover letter is actually the travel voucher which you get as a part of your invitation, so the visa support you get should be enough. In case the consulate says they need more (which is very unlikely), just contact your personal manager (the person who will send you your visa support) and ask him or her to make a special cover letter for you - it will be free of charge.
The itinerary is a special paper that is required only by the Russian consulate in Japan. In case you will be applying in Japan, let the agents know and they will send you the Itinerary (free of charge).


Q: Are the visa dates completely fixed, that is, do I have to travel to Russia on the date my visa starts and leave on the date it expires?

A: No, you can enter and leave Russia anytime within the time span specified by your visa start and expiry date. For example, if your visa starts on 5 December 2004 and expires on 25 December 2004, you can enter Russia on the 5th of December or anytime after this date, and you should leave Russia anytime before 25th December on on that date.
We always recommend to give yourself a time span and to apply for your visa to expire 1-2 days after you intend to leave Russia - in case there's a problem with your flight or a sudden change in plans.


Q: I received only one document for visa support. Where is the rest?

A: What you received is all visa support (invitation) documents you need to apply for your visa. It comprises the reservation confirmation (see above) and travel voucher. It can be printed on one A4 (Letter size) piece of paper - that is OK. The business invitation is usually printed on A5 paper (half of normal A4 - Letter size), that is also OK. Our partner company processes more than 10,000 visa support requests every year, so you can rest assured that everything is done correctly.


Q: I want to travel for longer than 1 month or need multiple-entry visa.

A: Then you can apply for a business visa (you don't need to be in a business to get it).



Q: Can I enter Russia after the date my visa starts?

A: Yes. The dates you specify is simply the time span during which you have to enter and leave Russia. You don't have to travel on these dates.


Q: How long before my travel dates can I apply for the invitation and the Russian visa itself?

A: You can get tourist visa support from most travel agencies at any moment, however, you can apply for a tourist visa at a Russian consulate not earlier than 90 days before your requested visa validity start date. So, say if you want to go on a 4-month trip to Asia and then travel to Russia, it's better to get visa support now and then once it's less than 90 days before your visa start date, apply in one of the Russian consulates in Asia, for example in Thailand or Hong Kong (they are the easiest to deal with).
Business visa support cannot be processed earlier than 45 days before requested visa validity start date (the processing is handled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or PVU and it's their limitation). However, you can apply online on this site earlier than 45 days before business visa start dates and the processing will automatically start 45 days before your visa requested validity start date, provided the order is paid.
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Beholder
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