Russian business visa for foreigners
Getting a business visa to the Russian Federation for foreigners
A business visa to the Russian Federation for foreigners is a popular choice, as it opens up more opportunities compared to tourist or private visas.
We issue business invitations in two ways:
- Through the Department of issuing invitations to foreign citizens at the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation on behalf of our company accredited with the department;
- By assisting the client’s company in obtaining registration with the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation, followed by issuing invitations directly on its behalf.
Invitations issued in any of these two ways are guaranteed to be accepted in all Russian consulates abroad as the grounds for a business visa.
The costs and terms of a getting a commercial invitation for foreigners.
Business invitations for citizens of the countries with a low immigration risk
List of countries
Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan (Republic of China), the Netherlands, USA, Vatican.
|Telex MIA||URGENT Telex MIA|
|Single or Double entry|
|1 month||17-20 business days||8-9 business days|
|3 months||17-20 business days||8-9 business days|
|6 months||17-20 business days||13-14 business days|
|1 year||17-20 business days||13-14 business days|
Business visa application
Business invitations for citizens of countries with high risk of immigration
Category 1 countries (telex)
List of countries
Albania, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Brunei, China, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Georgia, Grenada, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jamaica, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Marshalls Islands, Oman, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, UAE.
|Single or double entry|
|1 months||17 business days
8-9 business days
|3 months||17 business days
8-9 business days
|6 months||21 business days
13-14 business days
|1 year||21 business days
13-14 business days
Get a business invitation
Validity periods of Russian business visas
The main advantage of getting a business visa to Russia is its validity period – it can be issued for a period of up to one year, but has a standard restriction: the actual period of stay of a foreigner on the territory of the Russian Federation can be no longer than 90 days within a 180-day period. In addition, an important parameter is the possible number of entries during the period of validity of the visa. The business visa can be:
- Single-entry valid for 1 month or 3 months;
- Double-entry valid for 1 month or 3 months;
- Multiple entry valid for up to 1 year period.
You need a business visa to Russia if:
- The purpose of a trip is a business visit to the Russian Federation – negotiations, contracts signing, participation in exhibitions, conferences or other meetings and events of a business nature;
- Foreign specialists are being invited as consulting experts when installing or maintaining imported equipment installed on the territory of the Russian Federation;
- A foreign citizen who already has a business visa has to take their family members with them;
- You are a foreign citizen who plans to stay on the territory of the Russian Federation for more than one month, or simply wants to be able to enter the territory of the Russian Federation more than once. It is possible to issue a commercial invitation, even if the foreigner does not yet have an invitation from a company in the Russian Federation, since we can also arrange the invitation on our own behalf.
Getting a business visa to the Russian Federation
Overall, the process of obtaining a business visa to Russia is not very different from the procedure for obtaining other types of Russian visas, and consists of the following steps:
Step I. Getting a business invitation
A business invitation to Russia is a mandatory document for obtaining a business visa. A business invitation to the Russian Federation can be issued in electronic form (telex). Unlike the hard copy, a digital invitation or a telex does not require sending any documents by mail, instead, it is sent directly to the consulate in electronic form as soon as all checks are completed and it is ready. Upon sending the electronic invitation, we will send you an e-mail with the information about the telex, which will contain the telex number and the date when the telex arrives at the consulate. This information must be included in the form for obtaining a business visa.
Step II. Applying for a Russian business visa at the Russian Consulate.
You have to consult the consular office of the Russian Federation or their official website for the full information about the necessary documents, the time of processing a visa, and the size of the visa fee. In order for to receive a business visa to the Russian Federation, the following set of documents must be provided:
- business invitation issued by a company located on the territory of the Russian Federation;
- completed application form from the official website of the consulate;
In addition, at the consulate, when issuing a business visa, documents such as a cover letter issued by the inviting company may be requested. It is not uncommon for foreigners to apply for a business visa to Russia in a country that is not the country of their citizenship. Remember, that a foreign citizen has the right to apply for a Russian business visa at any Russian consulate outside the Russian Federation. In this case, however, in a number of countries, they would be required to provide a documented permit for continued residence in the state of application for more than 90 days.
Sample commercial (business) visa to Russia
Stage III. Register your business visa upon entering the Russian Federation
After obtaining your business visa, you need to take care of the registration. Under the current law, foreign citizens are required to register at the place of their residence within 7 working days, not counting the entry day. It is important to note that if you have a multiple-entry business visa, you will have to register every time after you cross the border.
A business visa to Russia for foreigners is the most convenient type of visa to obtain, because it has a wide range of features. We make different types of invitations for obtaining a business visa to the Russian Federation for foreign citizens and assist them in the registration.
Visa to Russia from Belgium
Do Belgians need Visa to Russia?
A person who is a Belgian national must present a visa, executed by the Consulate or Embassy of the Russian Federation located in Belgium, in order to be able to enter Russia legally.
How to Get Russian Visa from Belgium?
To do that, the completed application form and the package of documents must be submitted at the Embassy or Consulate and the consular fee paid. It is also necessary to present a letter of invitation, prepared by the inviting party located in Russia, and send it by mail to Belgium.
There are many types of visa allowing to enter the Russian Federation. They vary based on common purposes of the trip. Most frequently, foreign applicants seek these basic types:
- Tourist visa is intended for those who travel for tourism and wish to see sights.
- Electronic visa – for example: short-term trips;
- Private visa is good for visitors who would like to meet Russian friends (however, it is recommended to apply for the tourist visa instead as it is a more easy and reliable way to take a trip to Russia).
- Business visa suits the foreign applicants who are concerned in exploring business opportunities of Russia.
- Work visa is necessary for the citizens of foreign countries who seek to endeavour in career and professional development in Russian enterprises.
Where to apply for a Russian visa in Belgium ?
You can obtain a visa to Russia in any of the Consulates of the Russian Federation located in Belgium . See the list of Russian Consulates in Belgium, along with their phone numbers and location indicated on this page below.
Russian visas quick comparison
|Type of Visa||Duration||Purpose|
|Tourist visa||1-30 days||Sightseeing, visiting friends in Russia|
|Business visa||30-90 days (up to 5 years)||Search of business partners, attending conferences, long trips, long-term visits of friends in Russia|
|Electronic visa||8 days||Trips for a short period of time|
|Private visa||30-90 days||Official visits to meet with friends in Russia (Not recommended! See why)|
|Work visa||1-3 years||Employment in Russia or permanent residence|
Russian Tourist Visa from Belgium
Tourist visa to Russia is the easiest to obtain for a Belgian national. This type of invitation to visit Russia for Belgians can be made within 1 working day. In order to have the invitation letter issued, citizens of Belgium should contact a local travel agency that is registered with the Russian immigration authorities and assigned with an individual reference number.
This kind of invitation usually comprises a tourist voucher and a confirmation of acceptance of a foreign citizen. The letter may have any desired format as this paper should printed on the travel company’s official letterhead. When issuing an invitation letter, the company’s official name and reference number must be indicated as well as the traveller’s passport information, his/her route description, duration of the trip and number of entries the foreign citizen intends to request when filing his/her visa application.
Availability of invitation letter for tourist visa does not automatically ensure issuance of visa. The Embassy officials will perform a check to see if the applicant has been abiding laws of the Russian Federation during his/her prior visits.If it is revealed that he/she has been deported from Russia in the past, his/her visa application will be refused.
Upon the positive decision, made after the documents have been reviewed at the Consular office, a tourist visa valid for up to 30 days will be issued. It may allow a single or double entry.
Get a Tourist Invitation to Russia from Belgium
Russian Private Visa for Belgian citizens
If a Belgian citizen intends to enter Russia to visit his/her relatives or friends, he/she is required to have a private visa available. Letter of invitation is among the documents necessary for obtaining that type of visa. The letter must be prepared and sent over mail by the person (or legal entity) residing in Russia.
The party who offers invitation must contact a local office of the FMS at the place of his/her residence (or registration) to file an application with a copy of the Belgian citizen’s passport attached to it. The application will be considered within 12 days (if the applicant intends to enter once) or 17 days (for a double-entry visa) and returned with either a letter of invitation or rejection note stating the reason why the foreign citizen’s application has not been approved. The applicant may face refusal if he/she has been deported from the country earlier, convicted in the court of law on his last visit or is still liable to penalties or fines imposed by Russian laws. I n case the letter of invitation has been successfully issue , it should be sent via priority mail service to Belgium.
Due to the fact that the visitor visa requires longer handling process, many foreign applicants opt for tourist visas instead.
Private visa can be issued with a validity period of up to 90 days allowing a single or double entry in Russia.
Get of a Private (Visitor) Invitation to Russia for Belgian citizens
Russian Business Visa from Belgium
If a Belgian citizen intends to visit Russia for business-related or commercial purposes such as engage in negotiations or participate in auctions, he/she should have a business visa prepared in advance.
The business visa invitation letter can be obtained by either of these ways:
An organization, offering invitation to a Belgian resident to come to Russia, may write a letter requesting that the Consulate of the Russian Federation grant a visa to the particular individual (not just any company is eligible to make that request).
Our company recommends the citizens of the EU, the United States, Japan and China to choose the invitation letter issued by an organization, because:
- Issuing an invitation letter is cheaper than arranging an invitation by Telex or at the FMS.
- It can be issued online in 5 minutes and will be sent to you by email immediately after payment.
- Also, it is not required to submit the original invitation to the Consulate, which saves you the money you will otherwise have to spend on postal services for sending the original invitation.
- A 3-year visa invitation and visa can be obtained with this type of invitation if the applicant has previously held two or more Russian business visas.
Consider taking these three simple steps:
- Step 1:Fill out the form
- Step 2: Pay €49 by credit card or via PayPal
- Step 3:Receive your invitation on your email instantly after payment
Invitation letter for business visa can be issued on a special form (upon request from the inviting party and only after the Belgian citizen has been examined to determine if he/she has been involved in offences on the territory of the Russian Federation in the past. Telex invitation is a directive sent from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MID) of Russia by means of a special channel of communication (essentially, it is an instruction to grant a visa to the particular person).
Invitations in form of a paper letter will can be issued within 1 day. The process of obtaining a ‘business’ letter prepared on the official form requires from 12 to 17 working days. A Telex invitation can take several days.
Invitation in form of a Telex letter is the most convenient way to apply for visa as it does not require sending the original document via mail. Following the procedure, the applicant will receive a specific number which he/she must indicate at the Embassy or Consulate.
Business visas can be valid for a period of up to 5 years. They may allow a single, dual or multiple entry.
Get a Russian Business Invitation from Belgium on the letterhead of an accredited company
Issuing of a Business Invitation to Russia for Belgian citizens on the FMS form
Get a Business Invitation to Russia for Belgian citizens by a Telex
Work visa for Belgian citizens
Preparation of work visa is a painstaking process requiring plenty of time (1.5 months, on average). It is impossible to apply for that type of visa without the support of the Russian employer. First, the employing company must obtain a work permit in order to be able to hire workers from abroad. Before going further, its representative should apply for a permit allowing to employ a particular citizen of foreign country. After that, a letter of invitation should be issued. These documents must be sent by mail to Belgium, where the job seeker should file an application for a work visa at the Embassy of the Russian Federation.
Within the period of three months, he/she should move to Russia. First thing that needs to be done is notify Russian immigration authorities. Next, the foreign employee must extend his/her visa for the period until his/her work permit expiry date. After that, he/she should undergo the migration registration procedure and obtain a permit to stay in Russia until the end of his/her visa validity period.
The employer is obliged to to take care of the worker’s legal status on the territory of Russia and make sure he/she follows all regulations. Work visa can be extended as many times as needed for the period of one year every year.
The first-time work visa will be valid for 3 months. After arrival, the holder must renew it by extending its validity for a period of 1 year.
Get Work Visa to Russia for Belgian citizens
Russian Electronic Visa from Belgium
An electronic visa (hereinafter referred to as “e-visa”) is a new type of a visa document. A visa invitation to Russia is not required for obtaining an e-visa. To obtain an e-visa to Russia use our “E-visa to Russia” service.
An e-visa can be only single-entry. The permitted stay in Russia on an e-visa is up to 8 days from the date of entry within its validity period.
The validity period and/ or permitted stay on an e-visa cannot be extended. To obtain an e-visa a foreign citizen needs a digital passport photo and a completed application form containing full and valid data at the official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.
Russian consulate in Belgium:
Belgian citizens may obtain Russian visa in these Consular centers of the Russian Federation:
Who can travel to Russia in 2022?
In accordance with Annex №1 of the Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation №635-R of March 16, tourists from the following countries may come to Russia:
United Arab Emirates
Citizens of Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Ukraine residing in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions are also allowed to visit Russia.
There are 2 main rules for travellers who are going to visit Russia:
— You must be a citizen of these countries or have a residence permit (or any other document proving the right of permanent residence).
— You have to enter Russia by plane and only from the territory of your country.
As for other countries, there are certain categories of citizens that can enter Russia. See the full list on the Federal Security Service website (available in Russian).
These categories are:
— diplomats and their family members;
— drivers, captains and pilots of international flights;
— foreign nationals who are family members of Russian citizens
— citizens who need to take care for their closest relatives (e.g. husbands, wives, children, mothers and fathers);
— citizens who have a residence permit for Russia;
— migrants who participate in the governmental programme;
— citizens who come for medical treatment (the documents should be issued by the Ministry of Health);
— citizens entering due to death of a close relative (death certificate and a document confirming the degree of kinship are required);
— highly qualified specialists. See the instructions for such specialists on the Federal Agency for Tourism website (available in Russian);
— residents of Baikonur and employees of companies working in the space industry.
What documents are needed for entry to Russia?
Negative COVID-19 PCR test — provide it at the customs. You must make it no earlier than 72 hours before departure.
You do not need to stay in quarantine if you have a negative test result.
A passport valid for 6 months from the date of travel.
Application form for those who are on flights to the Russian Federation for border crossing. It is to be completed prior to arrival in Russia.
Visa (citizens of 58 states are eligible for visa-free travel. See the list of these countries at the Federal Agency for Tourism website).
You must apply for it at the nearest visa application centre of your country: electronic visas to Russia are temporarily suspended.
Visa application form.
Sample for British nationals.
Sample for citizens of other countries.
Medical Insurance (Russian abbreviation: DMS). It must be valid across the whole territory of Russia and cover possible COVID-19 infection.
Proof of accommodation. Required for citizens who are nor eligible for visa-free travel to Russia.
Things you need to foresee before travelling to Russia
You need to be tested for COVID-19 in 72 hours before your arrival. The fastest way to get a test result is to do express tests. Keep in mind that they might be more expensive. The certificate must be in English or Russian. You may request a Russian translation at the clinic.
If you will show signs of fever or any other symptoms of an illness, you may be asked to re-do the test upon arrival. Set aside some cash on that — on average, the test costs 3,000 rubles (approximately 34 EUR). If the result is positive, you will have to stay for treatment.
Rules and recommendations you should follow while travelling in Russia
— be sure to wear gloves and a medical mask in public places: shops, transport, public institutions and museums;
— maintain at least 1,5 meters between yourself and people around;
— avoid crowded places;
— take a taxi instead of public transport.
How not to get COVID-19 — basic rules
Precautions The World Health Organization advises to follow:
— wash your hands thoroughly with soap, use alcohol-based hand rubs;
— wear a mask and gloves in public places. The mask must cover your nose and mouth;
— cover your mouth with a tissue if you feel like sneezing or coughing. After that, dispose the tissue immediately;
— avoid touching your face.
Stay at home if you feel unwell. If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, call 103 immediately.
How to get Visa to russia from Belgium in 2022
Is it necessary to have visa to Russia for citizens of Belgium?
Yes, citizens of Belgium have to get visa if they want to visit Russia.
Visa is a document for foreigners which allows to cross the border of Russia legally.
For getting visa to Russia you need to get an invitation for visa and health insurance. These documents must be submitted to the Russian Consulate abroad.
Information on this website is available in the following languages:
For getting visa an Belgium citizen should know:
Short list of steps-to-do for Belgian:
- To have valid passport
- To get an invitation to Russia
- To get a medical insurance
- Fill in the form on visa.kdmid.ru and print it
- Paste your photo 3,5х4,5 cm in form
- Pay consular (visa) fee ≈ 40$ (35€)
- Bring or send documents to the Russian Consulate (passport, invitation, insurance, application form, receipt)
- Wait for 1 to 20 calendar days and get a passport with visa
You can get a visa by applying to the Russian Consulate in Belgium. List of consulates, their phone numbers and location map you may find in the end of this article. Before visiting the Consulate, you need to get an invitation, medical insurance for a visa and complete the online form on the website of the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
There are the following visa types and purposes to visit Russia:
- tourist visa (tourism, sightseeing);
- business visa (to spend time with friends or relatives living in Russia);
- private visa (taking part in a conference, business meeting);
- work visa (official employment in a Russian company);
- e-Visa (for short-term visits).
Comparison of length of stay and price of visa:
|Type of visa||Length of stay||Full processing price|
|Tourist||from 1 to 30 days *||≈85$|
|Business||from 30 days to 5 years **||from 125$|
|Private||from 30 to 90 days||≈165$|
|Work||from 1 to 3 years||from 1220$|
|Electronic||from 1 to 8 days||≈17$|
* – for Belgium citizens is possible to issue a tourist visa for 6 months!
* – visa can be valid up to 5 years, but it is possible to stay in Russia continuously for no more than 90 of 180 days
Cost example of visa for an Belgian
Cost example of single tourist visa to Russia for 14 days (2 weeks) for Belgium citizen:
The cost of visa is always calculated individually. Using this example, you can calculate the cost of your visa.
|Invitation to Russia||≈15$ (≈13€)|
|Medical insurance||≈1,5$ per day * 14 days ≈ 17$ (≈15€)|
|Photo 3.5 x 4.5 cm||≈8$ (≈7€)|
|Consular fee||40$ (≈35€)|
|Postal services (optional)||5$ (≈4€)|
Consular fee for tourist visa
(the main expense)
The visa fee has a fixed value and depends only on the multiplicity of the visa issued.
The size of the consular fee depends on the multiplicity of the issued visa to Russia:
|Ordinary *||Urgent **|
|Single||40$ (35€)||80$ (70€)|
|Double entry||40$ (35€)||80$ (70€)|
|Multi-entry||40$ (35€)||80$ (70€)|
* Normal processing time – from 4 to 20 working days
** Urgent processing time – from 1 to 3 working days
Tourist visa to Russia for Belgian citizens
Tourist visa is for those Belgians who want to visit Russia to sightseeing for a period which is not exceed 30 days. In order to issue such a visa you need a special tourist invitation, which can be obtained in every tourist agency registered in the Unified Federal register of tour operators of the Russian Federation.
Advantage of the tourist invitation is that it can be issued in 5 minutes online. Therefore, such invitation consist of two parts:
- Tourist voucher indicating that you have bought a tourist ticket to Russia.
- Confirmation of tourist admission — the Consulate is requested to issue a visa to a foreign citizen.
Reference number, travel agency’s name, tourist’s passport data, cities which are planned to visit, hotels, where tourist is going to stay, planned travel dates and visa multiplicity, dates of arrival and departure are indicated in a voucher. In a confirmation all the information is duplicated.
Tourist visa to Russia for a citizen of Belgium can be issued for up to 30 days. It can be single or double-entry.
For citizens from Belgium is possible to get tourist visa to Russia for 6 months!
Business visa to Russia for Belgian citizens
Business visa is for those citizens of Belgium, who want to visit Russia to take a part in an auction, hold a meeting with business partners, expand business ties or sign a contract. In order to obtain a business visa, you need a business invitation, which must be issued by an inviting party.
Besides business trips, such a visa is great for a longer period (up to 90 days) of continuous stay in Russia. Business visa has no disadvantages of private visas and also you can continuously stay under such a visa 3 times longer than by a tourist visa.
In order to obtain a business visa, you need a business invitation to Russia. There are several types of business invitations for the Belgians , all of them have its advantages and disadvantages:
A letter from a Russian organization
Invitation letter from an organization is an application to the Consulate of Russian Federation in Belgium for a business visa to a certain citizen of Belgium. Only organizations which are accredited at the Ministry of internal affairs have a right to issue such invitations.
I recommend to issue business invitations to the citizens of Belgium in a form of letter from an organization because it is much cheaper than Telex or the MIA letterhead and you will receive it to your e-mail right after a payment. Besides, in a presence of at least 2 business visas to Russia, Belgian citizen can obtain a multiple-entry visa for 5 years using such a letter (there is simplified visa regime between the EU and Russia).
In order to issue a business invitation in a form of invitation letter, you need to complete an application form and make a payment by credit card or via PayPal. Invitation will be delivered to your e-mail in 5 minutes.
The form of Ministry of Internal Affairs
Invitation on the letterhead of the MIA is issued as follows: representative of an inviting organization submits an application with a pack of necessary documents to the MIA office. After that, MIA employees check if you are banned to visit Russia. If there are no reasons to refuse, inviting party gets an invitation on the state letterhead and forward it to an invited foreigner. Issuance takes from 7 to 21 business days.
Electronic invitation from Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Telex)
Electronic invitation from the Ministry of foreign affairs is very convenient type of invitation because you don’t have to send any paper or electronic documents, just Telex number. Issuance takes from 7 to 21 workdays. Advantage of such invitations is that they are not required to be sent via post.
Private visa to Russia for Belgian citizens
In order to apply for a guest visa to Russia, Belgian citizen needs to preliminary obtain a guest invitation. Your friend or relative living in Russia should apply for this document for you. In order to do so, a person interested in your visit should contact territorial office of the Ministry of internal affairs of Russia and submit a pack of documents and an application requesting to issue a private invitation.
After that you need to wait until you’ll be checked for the absence of unpaid fines earned in previous visits to Russia and whether he had previously been deported from the country. If there’s no such violations, then your invitation will be given to the inviting party on the appointed day. In order to apply for a visa this invitation should be sent to Belgium via international post. If you are banned to visit Russia, issuance of the invitation will be refused.
Citizen of Belgium can obtain a guest visa for up to 90 days. Guest visas to Russia can be single or double-entry.
Work visa to Russia for Belgian citizens
If Belgian citizen found an employer in Russia who is ready to issue a work permit for him and work invitation, he can get a work visa to Russia. If there is no such employer, you need to visit Russia under a tourist visa to find a company, which is in need of highly qualified employee, who is moreover a citizen of another country.
Russian company, which agrees to hire a foreigner must not only issue all the necessary documents but hereinafter monitor that a foreign employee doesn’t violate visa regime. Advantage of the work visa is that it is issued for 90 days at first and then prolonged for the whole period of work permit validity. You can stay without a break in Russia under the work visa during the whole validity period (1 or 3 years). Herewith it can be prolonged without leaving country.
E-visa to Russia for Belgian citizens
Belgians wanting to stay in Russia for a short period of time can apply for the electronic visa. It is visa type which allows Belgian citizens to visit Russia for a period from 1 to 8 days.
This visa type is experimental. In order to obtain it, Belgian citizens don’t need an invitation, just digital photo and completed on the MFA website application. Under the electronic visa you can visit only Kaliningrad oblast (St. Petersburg will be added on this list from 1 October 2019).
Russian consulates in Belgium
Russian consulates in Belgium are located in the following cities:
|Address||avenue Emile de Mot 19/21, 7th floor, 1000 Bruxelles – temporary accommodation (from February 25, 2009)|
|Business hours||Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday — from 09.00 to 12.30 (on Thursday consular section works only in the mode of issue of ready-made documents to Russian citizens).
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday – visa issues (for foreigners).
|Emergency phone number||+32-2-375-39-18 — round the clock|
|Address||Della Faillelaan 20, 2022 Antwerpen, Belgium|
|Telephone||(8-10-32-3) 827-04-64, (8-10-32-3) 829-16-11|
|Business hours||Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday — from 10.00 to 12.30 (only Russian citizens receive documents on Tuesday).|
|Emergency phone number||+32-47-966-07-13 — duty telephone of the foreign institution|
If you have any questions ask them in the comments to this article. I will try to answer them all.
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Who needs a visa to Russia?
- For African citizens
- For Australian citizens
- For Austrian citizens
- For Belgium citizens
- For Bulgarian citizens
- For Canadian citizens
- For CIS citizens
- For Chinese citizens
- For European Union citizens
- For German citizens
- For Hungary citizens
- For French citizens
- For Indian citizens
- For Italian citizens
- For Spanish citizens
- For Stateless
- For US citizens
- For United Kingdom citizens
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Who can travel to Russia in 2022?
International tourism is currently going through difficult times, but the borders are gradually opening with certain restrictions. Russia is resuming air traffic with many countries and is beginning to issue tourist visas again.
Who can enter Russia?
Denis Grishkin/Moskva Agency
The main document that regulates entry to Russia during the pandemic is the Government Decree No. 635-r (March 16, 2022) that is regularly upgraded.
According to this document, only certain categories of foreigners can visit Russia, regardless of citizenship: diplomats, pilots, Russians’ family members, athletes to participate in competitions and specialists by invitation and foreigners with a residence permit in Russia. They can enter with any kind of transport.
Residents of the partially recognized republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia can also enter Russia via land and railway checkpoints, regardless of the trip purpose. The main thing is that the entry must be from these republics.
Andrei Nikerichev/Moskva Agency
However, no restrictions apply to Russian citizens: holders of Russian passports can freely return to the Motherland. Before registering for a flight, they need to fill out a special electronic form and upon arrival in Russia, they need to pass a PCR test for COVID-19 within three days and upload the results to the state services website. If they have a certificate of vaccination with a Russian vaccine, then the test is not needed. Note that foreign vaccines are not yet recognized in Russia.
Can a tourist visit Russia?
Denis Grishkin/Moskva Agency
According to the abovementioned decree, foreigners can come to Russia from those countries with which Russia has resumed regular flights, including for tourist purposes. It is important to come from that country where the visitor has citizenship or a residence permit. That is, a Turkish citizen must fly from Turkey, while a UK citizen – only from the UK. It’s forbidden to enter Russia via land or sea borders (with the exception of Belarus: citizens of this state can also enter by train).
As of July 2022, the countries from which a tourist can fly directly are: Austria, Azerbaijan, Albania, Armenia, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, UK, Hungary, Venezuela, Vietnam, Germany, Greece, Egypt, India, Iceland, Jordan, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Qatar, Cyprus, Kyrgyzstan, Korea, Cuba, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Mauritius, Maldives, Malta, Morocco, Mexico, UAE, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, North Macedonia, Seychelles, Serbia, Singapore, Syria, the U.S., Tajikistan, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Switzerland, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia and Japan.
To board the plane, you must provide a negative PCR test for COVID-19 (in English or Russian), made no earlier than 72 hours before entering Russia. Children under the age of two do not need to pass a test. There is no quarantine for holders of such certificates (anyway, you won’t be allowed on a flight without them). Also, those arriving need to fill out a special form (sample) and have a policy covering medical expenses in the case of COVID-19.
Citizens of the Eurasian Economic Union (Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan) (and from September 1, 2022, all CIS citizens) must install the mobile app called ‘Traveling without COVID-19’ to enter Russia (Google Play and App Store) and enter the test results in the application.
In Russia, it is still necessary to wear a mask in public places, including on any form of public transport and shopping malls. You are not required to wear one outside.
Russia has its own visa rules for each country, which can be found on the website of the Russian Embassy or the visa center of your country. If you already have a visa to Russia and you are included in the list of countries whose citizens are allowed to enter, then you can enter with this visa. If you need a new visa, then you need to apply for it at the visa center or the embassy in your country. Russia is once again issuing tourist, business and other types of visas, for countries with which it has resumed air traffic.
Note, a tourist visa will be given for up to six months, if a confirmed hotel booking is provided (the document is in Russian).
Meanwhile, citizens of 52 countries, including the EU, Japan and China, will be able to enter the country with an electronic visa, which can be issued in just four days, without the need for any documents confirming the purpose of the trip. Additionally, 72-hour visa-free entry to Russia for cruise ship passengers will, once again, come into force.
Important! In many countries, there are still restrictions on LEAVING for the purpose of tourism, so having a Russian visa does not even guarantee that you will get permission to leave your country. This should be clarified before making any trips.
All information is current as of July 23, 2022.
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A guide to Russian visas
To move to Russia you are likely to need to complete a Russian visa application form. This guide will provide you with advice on which Russian visa to apply for, how to complete the application forms, and the costs you can expect to pay.
Russian visa policy is complex, with stricter controls for issues such as illegal employment and criminality. There are different regulations depending on where you are from, procedures foreigners must carry out, and some areas visitors cannot travel to.
This guide to Russian visas and permits includes the following topics:
Who needs a Russian visa or permit?
Citizens of most countries need a visa to travel to Russia. You must get this before arriving in Russia. Although a European country, Russia is not part of the EU/EFTA; it does not grant visa-free travel to countries within the EU/EFTA other than Croatia and Iceland for stays of up to 90 days.
Russia allows visa-free travel to member states of the Commonwealth of Independent States (several countries that were formerly part of the Soviet Union) plus Cuba. Citizens of the following countries can travel to Russia without a visa: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Cuba, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.
Citizens of the following countries can enter Russia without a Russian visa but can only stay for periods of between 14-90 days and for certain purposes – Argentina, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Macedonia, Montenegro, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Peru, Panama, Paraguay, Serbia, South Africa, Thailand, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Further details on the length of stay and conditions are available here.
Citizens of all other countries will require a Russian visa in order to enter Russia.
Types of Russian visas
All Russian visas are issued by the General Directorate for Migration Affairs (GUVM). There are various types of Russian visa issued, depending on the purpose and length of visit. The visa length is usually between 30-90 days although many can be extended. The below types of visa are referred to as Russian entry visas.
Russian visa: Tourist
- This is the standard visa that allows entry as a tourist. It is valid for 30 days and cannot be renewed. To obtain a tourist visa, you must have confirmed accommodation for the duration of your stay in Russia.
Russian visa: Business
- This is a visa for those visiting the country on official or private business. The standard business visa is valid for 90 days. There is also a Multi Russian Business visa which is valid for a year and allows multiple entries into Russia. Business visas are eligible for renewal upon expiration, but this must be via the organization that provided the invitation for your business visa. Business visas can also be used for commercial visits such as attending events such as auctions.
Russian visa: Private
- This is a Russian visa valid for up to 90 days based on a private invitation from friends or relatives who live in Russia.
Russian visa: Humanitarian
- This is a visa valid for up to a year with multiple entries for those entering Russia for any of the following purposes:
- Cultural purposes
- Purposes related to science
- Political purposes
- Sporting purposes
- Religious purposes
- Charitable purposes
- Delivery of humanitarian aid
Russian visa: Work/Employment
- This is a Russian visa valid for 90 days with the possibility of extension, based only on a work invitation from a Russian company
Russian visa: Student
- This is a Russian visa valid for 90 days with the possibility of extension, based only on a student invitation from a Russian college or university.
Russian Highly Skilled Migrant Visa
- This is a special visa for those in skilled professions who gain employment with a salary of over R1 million. This visa is valid for three years, enables the holder to bypass the temporary residence permit requirement and entitles relatives including spouses, children and parents to a visa.
Family Member of Russian Citizen Visa
- This is a Russian visa for spouses, children under 18 and incapacitated children who are family members of Russian citizens are entitled to a Family Member visa if the relative who is a Russian citizen signs a visa request form. This visa is valid for 3 months.
Russian Transit Visa
- A Russian transit visa is necessary if you are traveling to somewhere via a Russian airport(s) or through Russia by train. Transit visas are normally valid for a maximum of three days for air travel and 10 days for train travel.
- A Russian transit visa is not usually necessary if you stay in an airport transit zone in order to board a connecting flight within 24 hours of arrival. Check with your airline to see if you require a transit visa.
Russian Special Purpose Visa
- This is a visa valid for up to 30 days allowing you to attend special events taking place inside Russia.
Areas with restricted access in Russia
There are currently 18 regions in Russia that contain areas with limited entry for foreign nationals. These are:
- Kamchatka region
- Krasnoryarsk region
- Orenburg region
- Nizhny Novgorod region (permission to travel in transit)
- Republic of Mordovia
- Murmansk region and Karelia
- Arkhangelsk and Komi Republic
- Sverdlovsk region
- Chelyabinsk region
- Leningrad region
- Moscow region
- Kaliningrad region
- Volgograd region
- Astrakhan region
- Chukotka Autonomous District
- Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Area
- Republic of North Ossetia
See here for more detailed information.
Applying for a Russian entry visa
You must apply for a visa through the Russian embassy or consulate in your home country. A list of embassies and consulates worldwide is available here. It isn’t possible to apply for a visa inside Russia or at the Russian border.
Excluding the Tourist Visa and the Transit Visa, all visa types require an invitation from the GUVM branch in the area where you are staying. This is available via your visa sponsor (resident organization or individual who is inviting you to Russia). Your sponsor is probably best placed to sort this out, but a list of local GUVM offices can be found here.
For a tourist visa, you must provide a stamped tourist confirmation document from your travel agent or hotel. This confirms you have accommodation for the duration of your trip.
To apply for your visa, fill out a visa application form either online or at the Russian embassy. An English version of the form is available here.
You must also submit the following:
- copy of your passport
- a passport-size photograph not older than six months
- visa fees
- invitation from the appropriate GUVM branch (if applicable)
- medical insurance
- a certificate confirming the absence of HIV infection (if staying longer than 90 days)
- you may also be asked to provide bank statements to show proof of funds for the duration of the visit
You can find out full details of visa requirements from different countries, along with further information on how to get a visa here.
Some countries now require applicants to attend the Russian embassy in person for biometric scanning.
The processing time for a Russian visa is not long and can be as short as two days, although it is wise to apply a few weeks in advance.
Russian visa costs
Visa costs vary from country to country and depending on what visa type you opt for. In the UK, you can choose between a standard service (seven days) or a more expensive express service (two days). Russian visa costs in the UK start at £165.
Rules to remember regarding your visa
- All foreign visitors to Russia are required to register their stay at the local GUVM branch within 7 days of arrival. This will often be done by the organisation or individual who is sponsoring/inviting the visitor but it’s worth checking to ensure this is done. Failure to register with the GUVM can result in a fine and in some cases expulsion from Russia.
- The migration card is the identity document issued to all foreign nationals in Russia at the border and must be presented along with the passport whenever an identity check is required by Russian officials. If you lose your migration card, you need to report it to the nearest GUVM office and you will have to pay for a replacement.
- In addition to allowing entry into the country, your entry visa also serves as your exit visa. You need to specify the exact day that you will be leaving the country and if you miss this date, leaving Russia could be problematic.
- Visitors who overstay their visa by more than three days will need to apply for an exit visa to leave Russia, which can take up to 20 days to be issued. This can only be overturned if a valid reason (e.g., illness, stolen visa) is presented.
Visa application for a Russian residence permit
If you are moving to Russia, you will need to apply for a Russian residence permit at the local GUVM office either when you arrive in Russia or before your visa expires. All foreigners wanting to live in Russia, other than those from Belarus, refugees arriving from Turkmenistan and those arriving on a Highly Skilled Migrant visa, need to initially apply for a temporary residence permit, which is valid for three years (although it needs to be re-stamped by the GUVM every year).
Anyone who has legally entered Russia is entitled to apply for a temporary Russian residence permit. The Russian government operates on migration quotas and will prioritise applicants who meet at least one of the following criteria:
- born in Russia
- citizens of a former USSR country
- have a family member or partner who is a Russian citizen
- made a certain amount of investments in Russia (determined by federal law)
- served in the Russian military
- have had a child born in Russia
If you are working or studying in Russia for longer than three months, you will also have a strong case for being granted a temporary residence permit if you can present a letter of support from your employer/college to the GUVM.
Holders of a temporary residence permit cannot be absent from Russia for longer than three months and have to apply for an exit visa and a re-entry visa to travel away from the country.
Documents that need to be provided in order to obtain a Russian residence permit include:
- criminal record certificate
- two passport photos
- valid entry visa (if necessary)
- health certificate confirming absence of infectious diseases
- document confirming basic knowledge of Russian language, history and culture
Working with a Russian visa
It is possible to work in Russia if you have obtained a work permit through a Russian employer along with a valid work visa. This is valid for 90 days although it is possible to extend it for up to three years and get a temporary residence permit. See our article on Russian work visas and permits for even more information.
Studying with a Russian visa
You can come to Russia to study if you have obtained a study placement offer from a Russian college or university along with a Russian study visa. This is valid for 90 days although it is possible to extend it and get a temporary residence permit. See our guide to studying in Russia for even more information.
Getting a Russian visa to join a relative or partner
You can apply to join family or a partner in Russia on a Russian Private Visa if the family member invites you. Certain family members are eligible to apply for long-term residence under Russia’s family reunion laws. See our guide on Joining a relative or partner in Russia for more information.
Applying for a visa for citizenship or permanent residence purposes
You can apply for permanent residence in Russia after one year of temporary residence and for full citizenship after five years. See our guide to Russian citizenship and permanent residence for more information.
The New Russian E-visa Will Go Live in 2022 and Allow to Visit the Whole Country
In recent years, Russia has been testing new ways to simplify visa procedures and boost international tourism. This has seen, for example, visa-free entry for foreigners attending the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the launch of new region-specific electronic visas, and the improvement of airports and infrastructures in remote areas.
In February 2022, the Russian government announced they will take one further step for making the country more accessible to foreign travelers — the implementation of new unified E-visas for the entire Russian territory that are going live in 2022.
What Russian eVisas Were Previously Available?
In the past few years, destination-specific eVisas were made available for 3 Russian regions only:
- The Far East District
- The Kaliningrad Oblast
- The St Petersburg and Leningrad region
Electronic visas have been a huge success thanks to their convenience, affordability, and much shorter waiting times. That is why the government has now decided to launch a unified E-visa that extends to the whole Russian territory and allows its holder to visit all the Federation’s regions.
Other ways in which the government has facilitated international travel and communications include:
- The renovation and expansion of the airport network in the Far East region
- The opening of St Petersburg airport to low-cost airlines
- The improvement of internet connection across the country, with new free wi-fi hotspots in major cities.
What Is the Difference between Regional eVisas and the Russian Unified E-visa?
The application process for the unified E-visa is just as quick and straightforward as that for the previous region-specific electronic visas. The online visa requirements are also very similar.
However, there are 2 main differences that are likely to be well-received among travelers.
E-visa validity: more time in Russia
Although the regional eVisa validity is of 30 days, eVisa holders were only allowed a maximum stay of 8 days in Russia since the moment they first entered the country. As the Second Secretary of the Russian Embassy in the Philippines Denis M. Karenin commented, this is just “enough time to visit St. Petersburg and Kaliningrad”.
The new unified E-visa allows foreigners to stay in the country for up to 16 days. Moreover, it remains valid for 60 days from the day it is approved. This is especially helpful for those who wish to explore more than one city or/and arrive in Russia after a long flight from a distant country.
More territory covered: non region-specific visas
The regional eVisas for the Far East, St Petersburg, and Kaliningrad only granted their holder entry into a specific Russian region. Once they were done visiting, foreigners had to leave Russia from a border crossing point belonging to the same region they first entered. Had the foreigners wished to see another part of the country (for example, both St Petersburg and Moscow) they would have had to apply for another relevant visa.
The new unified E-visa applies to all cities within Russia. This gives tourists much greater freedom of movement. The only exception is represented by special restricted areas and facilities for which written permission is required.
The number of entry points eligible for the unified electronic visa has also been increased and visitors can leave and enter Russia from any of the relevant crossings.
How to Visit Russia with an E-visa
Using the new electronic visas for Russia is very easy.
Once the request is approved, the visa will be sent electronically to the holidaymaker. It is important to print out the confirmation or keep a digital copy on a mobile device before traveling to Russia.
Visitors will then need to carry the visa with them and present it at the border to the Russian immigration officers.
Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin approved a list of 29 eligible border crossing points to enter Russia with an E-visa. These include maritime, land, and airport crossings.
Are Russian Visas Free?
The vast majority of Russian visas require the payment of an application fee. This goes to cover the processing costs of the visa.
Fortunately, electronic visas are usually cheaper since the amount of both paperwork and manpower required to review applications is lower. However, fees apply to E-visas too.
Why Is Russia Launching New Visas?
Home to 23 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and famous for its unique architecture and stunning natural beauty, Russia is already the ninth most visited country in the world, with 33 million foreigners choosing it as their holiday destination in 2013.
However, the government is looking to expand the sector even further. Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced his plan to raise the annual tourism revenue of the country to $15.5 billion by the end of his presidential term in 2024.
As part of the national Digital Economy Program, different types of electronic visas have been launched recently to encourage foreign arrivals. The traditional paper tourist visa for Russia requires applicants to submit their papers in person at a Russian embassy or consulate. Moreover, travelers have to obtain an invitation letter from a Russian entity in order for their visa application to be considered.
The new electronic visas change things dramatically. Without having to queue at the embassy, eligible tourists can simply apply online in minutes from anywhere in the world. All they need is an internet connection and a few supporting documents like their valid passport.