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I just had to send a brief note to say thank you for such a delightful and informative web site. I am in the process of obtaining a fiancee visa for a wonderful lady from Odessa, Ukraine. Having read your information I am even more confident I'm doing the right thing. Thank you for your very objective and informed perspectives. It's true you know ... Russian and Ukrainian women are the most lovely of all!

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Russian Visas


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General

Visa to the Russian Federation is a document, permitting you to stay in Russia for a specific period of time. The visa is stamped in your passport.


Types of visas

Generally, there are 2 types of visas one can obtain in order to visit Russia:

  1. Tourist visa
  2. Business visa

There won't be any problem with receiving a Russian visa of both types; the only thing you must take in consideration is time. Your passport must be valid 3 months beyond intended stay; vaccinations are not required. 

Standard time for processing your application is 10 working days; lets say it's two weeks. If any of your papers are incorrect, you may need additional time to obtain the right one. If you submitted your documents 9 working days in advance or less, you will have to pay double fee. Yes, Russians are capable of doing the paper work faster, if you pay.

Russian visas cannot be obtained at the airport on arrival; I have heard about cases when men were hoping to get a transit visa on their arrival to Moscow, and were mercilessly deported.


What you will need:

  • Visa application form (available from embassies and travel agencies);
  • Passport;
  • 1 passport-size photos;
  • Corresponding fee.

This is applicable for all types of visas. Particulars on the different types of visas see below.

Write a cover letter, and include a prepaid self addressed envelope if you want the consulate to send you the visa by mail.

If you apply for a visa in person, you will be issued a slip with a number. When you come to pick up your visa, please do not forget this slip. They do require it.

On your arrival your passport must be registered and stamped by a visas' department at every single city where are you staying during the visit. You must register within 3 days from your arrival. If you stay in a hotel, administration will do it for you. But don't be concerned if you must do it yourself: it takes 2 minutes and your personal presence in the visas department is not required, anyone can bring your passport and fill out the form. It is a very formal procedure that is a survivor of socialist times.

When you leave Russia, they will collect the visa on the border, so save your tickets if you ever need to prove you have been in Russia (tickets are also needed for the purposes of fiancee visa application).


Tourist visa

This is the most common type of visa that foreigners use to visit Russia.

In addition to the papers mentioned, this requires:

1) A letter from your travel agent in your country, containing the following information:

  • applicant's name or alphabetical list of a group;
  • dates and points of arrival and departure in and from Russia and means of transportation;
  • itinerary in Russia; 
  • index and reference number of the receiving organization.

2) A "tourist voucher".

Tourist voucher is a confirmation from a Russian tour operator, that you have booked a hotel and they are responsible for your staying.

Why they call it "voucher"? Nobody knows, but in addition to normal confirmation from hotel that is required by most embassies, the Russian consulate has some rules who can issue such a document. The tour operator must be a registered tourist company that has been assigned a special index in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia. This index and a tour reference number must be indicated in the confirmation (copy of a fax message).

Most Russian hotels will issue the voucher for you when you book accommodation there.


Business visa

For business visas tourist voucher is not required but you need an invitation from a Russian company. 

The invitation must be issued by an organization that is registered with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia. In order to obtain a multi-entry visa, the hosting organization must apply to the Russian Foreign Ministry for authorization.

If you visit Russia on the business visa, you can stay wherever you want, at hotel or private apartments, and you don't have to book in advance that is very convenient. You can ask a person you visit to buy get you a business invitation. There are some organizations that do it for a fee, and their names and addresses usually may be obtained from the visas department (in Russian they spell it as "OVIR" - the place where they issue "foreign passports", special documents for traveling abroad). Just ask the person who you visit to find out at OVIR where she can get a business invitation for her foreign friend. The fee that companies charge for business invitations may be anything from 5 to 80 dollars, depending on the city; in big cities like Moscow fees are higher.


Private invitations

You can also visit Russia with a private invitation, too. 

A person must apply to a district police office ("rayonniy otdel vnutrennikh del") that will send request to the visas department. She must fill out a special form that can be obtained from the police office, and include a receipt on transferring the corresponding fee and proof of residence (a document from the government communal service that is in charge of the area where she is staying - "domoupravlenie"). Usually processing of the application takes anything from 2 to 4 months, and one cannot receive any information when her application will be processed. If you wish to visit Russia on a private invitation, take the time matters in consideration. The rest is the same as for business visas.

When my family and me visited Russia last time, we decided to get a business invitation for my husband (only because of the time matters). Business invitation normally costs about $50, and it will save lots of time and energy for your hosts.


Notes

The Consulate says it reserves the right to invite any applicant for an interview, but I did not hear about such cases.

USA consulate is particularly overworking so they have special requirements on how the documents should be submitted.

  • Copies of the passport pages should be trimmed to the size of the original and stapled to the upper-left corner of the application form.
  • Two of your photos should be stapled to the copy of the passport page.
  • The other photo should be stapled to the specially marked place in the upper-right corner of the application form.

They reserve the right to return the documents if they are submitted in a different manner.

Do not forget to carefully check your visa when receive it. If there is any misspelling or mistake, you will be refused in entering Russia. If there is some, return the visa to the embassy for corrections. This is another reason why you should take care of your visa well in advance. If you send documents by mail, add some time for delivery.

There are also companies providing help in receiving Russian visas hassle-free. We recommend Russia-Visa, which is fast, reliable and reasonably priced. They offer tourist and business visas invitations and full visa processing service.


Fees
(for USA only; in the other countries may differ)

For single entry visas are:

  • $100 for not less than six business days processing;
  • $300 for same day processing;

For double entry visas are:

  • $100 for not less than six business days processing;
  • $350 for same day processing;

Visa processing fees are non-refundable.

The official site of Russian Embassy in the USA is http://www.russianembassy.org , you can also download the forms there.

 


List of Russian Embassies and Russian Consulates


Australia

Embassy of Russian Federation in Australia
Address: 78 Canberra Avenue, Griffith, ACT 2603 
Phone: (616) 295-9033 
Fax: (616) 295-1847 
E-mail: rusemb@dynamite.com.au
Consular department 
Phone: (616) 295-9474 

Austria

Botschaft der Russischen Foderation in Osterreich
Reisnerstrasse 45-47
1030 Wien
Phone: (43-1) 712-1229, 713-8622 
Fax: (43-1) 712-3388
E-mail: russian@embassy.vienna.at

Generalkonsulat in Salzburg
Burgelsteinstrasse 2
5020 Salzburg
Phone: (43-6626) 241-84 
Fax: (43-6626) 217-434 
E-mail: rusgencons@salzburg.telecom.at

Belgium

Embassy of Russian Federation in Belgium
1180, Bruxelles
avenue de Fre, 66
Phone: (322) 374-3400, 374-5738, 374-6886 
Fax: (322) 374-2613 
E-mail: amrusbel@pophost.eunet.be
Consular department 
Phone: (322) 374-3569 
Fax: (322) 375-9415 

General Consulate in Antwerpen
Della Faillelaan, 20
Phone: (323) 829-1611 
Telex: (46) 35779 KGURSS B 
Fax: (323) 829-0589

Canada

Embassy of Russia in Canada
285 Charlotte St., Ottawa, Canada
Tel: (613) 235-4341
Fax: (613) 236-6342
Visa Department:
Tel: (613) 236-7220, 236-6215
Fax: (613) 238-6158

Consulate General in Montreal
3655 Ave Du Musee
Montreal, Quebec, H3G2EI
Tel: (514) 843-5901, 842-5343
Fax: (514) 842-2012

Cyprus

Embassy of Russian Federation in Republic of Cyprus
Ag. Prokopiou street
Engomi, Nicosia 
Phone: (3572) 46-4622, 47-2141, 47-2142 
Fax: (3572) 46-4854 
E-mail: transl@cytanet.com.cy
Consular department 
Phone: (3572) 47-6832

Denmark

Embassy of Russian Federation in Denmark
Kristianiagade 5
2100 Kobenhavn
Phone: (45) 314-25-585, 314-25-586 
Fax: (45) 314-23-741 
E-mail: emb.ru@get2net.dk
Consular department 
Phone: (45) 313-82-370

Finland

Embassy of Russian Federation in Finland
Tehtaankatu 1 b
00140 Helsinki
Suomi 
Phone: (35-89) 66-1876, 66-1877, 60-7050
Fax: (35-89) 66-1006 
E-mail: rusembassy@co.inet.fi
Consular department 
Phone: (35-89) 66-1449

Consulate General in Turku
Address: Vartiovuorenkatu 2, 20700 Turku, Suomi 
Phone: (35-82) 233-6441 
Fax: (35-82) 231-9779 
E-mail: rusconsul.turku@co.inet.fi

France

Embassy of Russian Federation in France
40-50, Boulevard Lannes
75116 Paris 
Phone: (331) 45-04-0550, 45-03-4020, 45-04-4030 
Fax: (331) 45-04-1765 
E-mail: rusembfr@club-internet.fr
Consular department 
Phone: (331) 45-03-0407 
Fax: (331) 45-04-4409

Consulate General in Marseille
8, av. Ambrois-Pare
Marseille, 13008 
Phone: (334) 91-77-1525, 91-76-2679 
Fax: (334) 91-77-3454 
E-mail: consrus@aix.pacwan.net

Consulate General in Strasbourg
Address: 75, allee de la Robertsau, 67000 Strasbourg 
Phone: (333) 88-36-7315 
Telex: (42) 891006 COGERUS 
E-mail: iouri.maiorov@wanadoo.fr, gkrfstbg@wanadoo.fr

Germany

Embassy of Russian Federation in Bonn
53177 Bonn
Waldstrasse, 42 
Phone: (49-228) 31-2085, 31-2086, 31-2087 
Fax: (49-228) 31-1563 
E-mail: rusbot@t-online.de, gogen@t-online.de
Consular department 
Phone: (49-228) 31-2083 
Fax: (49-228) 38-4561 

Embassy of Russian Federation in Berlin
10117 Berlin
Unter den Linden, 63-65 
Phone: (49-30) 220-2821, 226-6320, 391-8807 
Fax: (49-30) 229-9397 
Consular department 
Phone: (49-30) 229-9469, 229-1207, 832-7004 
Fax: (49-30) 229-0035 

Consulate General in Leipzig
Address: 04105 Leipzig, Kickerlingsberg, 18 
Phone: (49-341) 564-9528 
Fax: (49-341) 564-9589 
E-mail: rusgenkon_leipzig@t-online.de

Consulate General in Rostock
Address: 18057 Rostock, Thunenstrasse, 3 
Phone: (41-381) 492-2742 
Fax: (41-381) 429-2743

Consulate General in Munchen
Address: 80335 Munchen, Seidlstrasse, 28 
Phone: (49-89) 59-2503, 59-2528, 55-7657 
Fax: (49-89) 550-3828

Consulate General in Hamburg
Address: 22085 Hamburg, Am Freenteich, 20 
Phone: (49-40) 229-5201, 229-5301 
Telex: (41) 211927 UDSSR D 
Fax: (49-40) 229-7727 
E-mail: general.konsulat-hamburg@metronet.de

Italy

Embassy of Russian Federation in Italy
Via Gaeta, 5
00185 Roma
Italia 
Phone: (396) 494-1680, 494-1681, 494-1649, 494-1683 
Fax: (396) 49-1031 
E-mail: ambrus@flashnet.it
Consular department 
Phone: (396) 442-34149, 442-35625 
Fax: (396) 442-34031

Consulate General in Milano
Via Sant'Aquilino, 3
20148, Milano 
Phone: (392) 400-92113, 487-06041 
Fax: (392) 400-90741 
E-mail: consolato.russo.mi@iol.it

Japan

Embassy of Russian Federation in Japan
1-1 Azabudai 2-chome
Minato-ku
Tokyo 106-0041
Tel: 03-3583-4224, 03-3583-5982 
Fax: 03-3505-0593 
E-mail: rosconsl@ma.kcom.ne.jp

Luxemburg

Embassy of the Russian Federation in Luxemburg
Ambassade de Russie
rue des Hauts-Fourneuax - Château de Beggen
L-1719 Luxembourg
Tel: +352 42 29 29

Netherlands

Embassy of Russian Federation in Netherlands
Andries Bickerweg 2
2517 JP Den Haag
Holland 
Phone: (3170) 345-1300, 345-1301, 310-7506, 346-8888 
Fax: (3170) 361-7960 
E-mail: ambrusnl@euronet.nl
Consular department 
Phone: (3170) 364-6473 
Telex: (44) 34585 USSR NL 
E-mail: ambrucon@ambru.nl

New Zealand

Embassy of Russian Federation in New Zealand
Address: 57 Messines Road, Karori, Wellington 
Phone: (644) 476-6113 
Fax: (644) 476-3843 
E-mail: eor@netlink.co.nz
Consular department 
Phone: (644) 476-6742

Norway

Embassy of Russian Federation in Norway
Address: Norge, 0271
Oslo 2
Drammensveien 74 
Phone: (47) 22-55-3278, 22-55-3279, 22-44-0608 
Fax: (47) 22-55-0070 
E-mail: consul@online.no
Consular department 
Phone: (47) 22-60-3035, 22-60-5013 
Fax: (47) 22-56-5878

South Africa

Embassy of Russian Federation in South Africa
316 Brooks Street Butano Building
Menlo Park 0081
Pretoria, P.O. Box 6743
Pretoria 0001
Republic of South Africa 
Phone: (2712) 362-1337, 362-1338 
Fax: (2712) 362-0116 
E-mail: rusemb@iafrica.com

Consulate General in Pretoria
135 Bourke Street
Sunnyside 0132
P.O. Box 5715
Pretoria 0001
Republic of South Africa 
Phone: (2712) 344-4812, 344-4820 
Fax: (2712) 343-8636 

Consulate General in Cape Town
2-nd Floor, Southern Life Centre
8 Riebeek Street
Cape Town
Republic of South Africa 
Phone: (2721) 418-3656, 418-3657 
Fax: (2721) 419-2651 
E-mail: rusco@icon.co.za

Spain

Embassy of Russian Federation in Spain
Madrid, C/Velazquez, 155 
Phone: (8-1034) 91-411-2524, 91-562-2264, 91-411-0807 
Fax: (8-1034) 91-562-9712 
E-mail: embrues@arrakis.es

Sweden

Embassy of Russian Federation in Sweden
Gjorwellsgatan 31, 11260 Stockholm, Sverige 
Phone: (46-8) 13-0440, 618-5338 
Fax: (46-8) 618-2703 
E-mail: rusembsw@algonet.se
Consular department 
Phone: (46-8) 619-0470, 619-0405

Switzerland

Embassy of Russian Federation in Switzeland
Brunnadernrain 37, 3006 Bern, die Schweiz 
Phone: (41-31) 352-0566, 352-8517 
Fax: (41-31) 352-5595 
E-mail: rusbotschaft@datacomm.ch
Consular department 
Phone: (41-31) 352-0567, 352-0425

United Kingdom

Embassy of Russian Federation in the United Kingdom
Consular Section
5 Kensington Palace Gardens
London W8 4QS
Tel: (0207) 229 8027
Fax: (0207) 229 3215

Consulate General in Edinburgh 
58 Melville Street
Edinburgh
EH3 7HF
Scotland
Tel: (0131) 225 7098

United States

Embassy of Russia in the United States
2650 Wisconsin Ave., N.W.
Washington DC 20007
Tel: (202) 298-5700, 298-5772
Fax: (202) 298-5749
Visa Department:
1825 Phelps Place N.W.
Washington DC 20008
Tel: (202) 939-8907
Fax: (202) 939-8909

Consulate General in New York
9 East 91 St.
New York, NY 10128 
Tel: (212) 348-0926
Fax: (212)831-9162

Consulate General in San Francisco
2790 Green St.
San Francisco, CA 94123
Tel: (415) 928-6878
Fax: (415) 929-0306

Consulate General in Seattle
2323 Westin Building
2001 Sixth Avenue
Seattle, WA 98121-2617
Tel: (206) 728-1910
Fax: (206) 728-187


Please let me know if any of the addresses above has changed. Thank you in advance!

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