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Visa types

Russian Visas are classified according to:

Russian visas are classified according to the following:

Number of entries:

A single-entry visa permits ONE entry to Russia within the specified period of time.
A double-entry visa permits ONE or TWO entries to Russia within the specified period of time.
A multiple-entry visa is valid for several visits to Russia overa period of 3, 6, or 12 months.

Purpose of travel:

Tourist visa

1.    Cheapest and easiest to obtain.
2.    Best visa type for short visits.
3.    Single or double entry visas available for a maximum stay of thirty days.
4.    Issued on the basis of an invitation and voucher provided by an authorized Russian tourist company.
5.    Non-extendable – if you wish to prolong your stay in Russia, you must leave the country and obtain a new visa.
6.    Often recommended instead of a private or homestay visa, which is much more difficult to obtain.

Business visa

1.    Issued for foreigners who enter Russia for business purposes, (e.g. representatives of foreign governments, members of official delegations, cultural or sports exchange visitors, etc.). Tourists who intend to stay in Russia for more than 30 days often use this type of visa.
2.    Issued on the basis of a business invitation from a Russian company authorized by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The invitation normally takes 20 working days to issue. The original invitation is required to accompany the visa application.
3.    Valid for up to 12 months with single, double or multiple entry visas available. However, visitors are restricted to a maximum of 90 days in a 180-day period when using a multiple entry visa.
4.    An original HIV Certificate showing a negative result is required for stays of over 3 months.

Private or homestay visa

1.    An option if you have friends or relatives in Russia who can host you during your trip.
2.    Requires the original personal invitation letter from your Russian host, obtained at the local Visa and Registration Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (OVIR).
3.    Single or double entry visas available for a maximum stay of 90 days.
4.    Extremely time-consuming –it can take anything from 45 days to four months to obtain your visa with a private invitation.
5.    Granted solely for visiting the city where the invitation has been issued.

Transit visa

1.    Required when you are travelling through Russia on your way to another country without staying in Russia.
2.    No invitation required.
3.    A copy of the air, rail, or other ticket with ‘confirmed’ status and a visa to the country of destination (if necessary) is required.
4.    For travellers with flight connections in Russia a transit visa is issued for 72 hours. For transit by car the maximum validity of a transit visa is 10 days. The precise period of validity is determined by the ratio of the shortest transit distance and daily run equal to 500 km.
5.    Not necessary if you are passing over Russia on a direct flight to another country.

Student visa

1.    Granted to students enrolled on academic or language courses in Russia.
2.    Issued on the basis of an invitation and contract of study with an educational institution.
3.    Valid from three months to one year in the first instance, but extendable depending on how long you will be studying in Russia.
4.    An original HIV Certificate showing a negative result is required for stays of over 3 months.

Employment visa

1.    Granted to foreign employees of Russian companies.
2.    Valid from three months to one year with multiple entries.
3.    Can be issued on the basis of a Russian work permit, an employment agreement, and an official Russian visa invitation. The company must also be in possession of a licence to employ foreign nationals.

Other types of Russian visa

There are other types of Russian visa for very specific cases (diplomatic visas, refugee visas, visas for humanitarian and religious purposes, etc.).

Don’t forget:

•    The validity and type of visa should be strictly adhered to. Once in Russia, you cannot change your visa status (i.e. from tourist to business, from business to educational,or vice versa). The only to do so is by leaving the country and applying for a different visa.
•    If the visa type is non-extendable, you must also leave the country within the expiry date specified in order to apply for a new Russian visa, which can be of the same type or different from your original visa.

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