At the Consulate
If you have enough time and patience, you can make your Russian visa application yourself. If you don’t feel like standing in a queue at the embassy or consulate, you may use the services of an authorized Russian travel agent in your country. Whether or not you choose to use an agent, our STEP-BY-STEP EMBASSY/CONSULATE GUIDE will be invaluable.
- Russian consulates and embassies tend to have their own processing methods and fees, which differ from area to area. In addition, Russian visa rules and regulations are subject to change, so our advice is to locate your nearest Embassy/Consulate and contact them to obtain accurate and up-to-date visa information:
- Find out from the embassy/consulate what the processing period for a visa is, the consular fee, the possible ways of submitting your documents (by post, in person, etc.), what documents are necessary, and the payment methods available (credit card, bank transfer, cash, etc.)
- Prepare and submit all the documents, including the visa application form. Make your application in good time (but not normally more than three months before you plan to travel, unless you are applying for a settlement visa, for example, as the spouse of a Russian citizen).
- Pay the consular fee. This is non-refundable. Consular fees vary greatly from one embassy/consulate to another, depending on the type of visa, your citizenship, and the speed of processing. Faster processing costs more. Please contact your nearest Russian embassy/consulate to find out the exact amount that you will need to pay, together with available methods of payment.
- Collect the visa and any related documents from the embassy/consulate.
- Check your Russian visa. Make sure that all the information is correct before leaving the embassy/consulate, as this is the only authority which is allowed to make amendments. If you think there is anything wrong with your visa you should contact the visa department at the embassy/consulate immediately to inform them and allow them to rectify the mistake, as no mistakes in your visa can be corrected after you have arrived in Russia!
- Don’t forget:
- All paperwork, once submitted, cannot be changed during the visa processing period or during the applicant’s stay in Russia, and must be consistent with the information indicated in the invitation. If an applicant needs to makechanges in the submitted paperwork before the visa is processed, all documentation must be returned to the applicant for re-submission.
- In the event that an applicant requests a correction to be made to a visa for any reason other than a computer misprint, the applicant will have to re-apply for a new visa.
- The embassy/consulate will not be held responsible for any mistakes in visas which were not brought to its attention prior to the applicant leaving the embassy/consulate.
- A mistake in your visa can lead to problems when entering Russia, including refusal of entry, problems with registering your visa in Russia, police fines, deportation, or a return trip earlier than you planned –and all at your own expense! It is therefore vital to ensure that all the details in your visa are correct.
- There may also be an extra consular fee for citizens of other nationalities who do not apply in their own country – for example, if a British national applies for a visa in Finland.
- For applications made in person or via a courier service, consular fees are usually paid by cheque or cash. For postal applications, fees are usually paid by certified cheque or postal order.
- As with all other visa-related documents, it is important to avoid any disparities in the submitted documents. Inconsistent information in documentation is one of the most common reasons for an application being rejected(for example, if your visa application form states that you will be in Russia for tourist purposes, but your invitation states otherwise).
- If you use the services of an authorized Russian travel agent to process your visa, you are likely to receive – in addition to your visa – a copy of your invitation, together with a copy of your tourist voucher, information on how to register your visa, and contact details of your sponsoring company. Please keep all the documents you receive from your agency with you for the whole period of your stay in Russia.
- Please note that visas cannot be changed or extended. If your travel plans change after the visa has been issued, you must apply for a new one.
- Any visa applicant may be interviewed by a consular officer if necessary.
- Processing times, requirements, and fees are subject to change without prior notice.