There are stories about how difficult it would be to apply for a visa to Russia. But it is actually not that difficult at all! It just takes at most a little more paperwork and time than normal, but that too can be solved partly by oursourcing your application to an agency. We explain step by step how you get your Russian visa.
#1 Apply for your visa up to 3 months in advance
It takes some time to apply for your Russian visa, but you should not start too early. You can apply for your visa up to 3 months in advance. You should expect a processing time of approximately 10 days. That may be longer due to public holidays.
#2 Choose the right visa
You can choose from multiple types of visas. As a traveller you probably won’t need a work visa. The multiple entry visa will probably not be your choice either. Most travelers opt for the tourist visa for up to 30 days. This visa costs around € 30 (in the Netherlands).
#3 Get your paper work
You need quite some documentation for a visa for Russia:
- An (original) passport that is still valid for at least 6 months upon arrival.
- At least two blank pages in your passport next to each other for the Russian visa.
- A passport photo in colour.
- An invitation letter from someone in Russia. You can request this at your hotel or hostel. A booking confirmation itself is not sufficient. Make sure that the number of days on the letter corresponds to your full stay. Your full name and passport number must also be correct.
- An statement in English of your health insurance (note: not your travel insurance). Ask your insurance company for a Russia declaration and they know what you need.
- A visa application form (see below).
#3 Make two appointments at the Russian embassy or outsource the application
You can arrange your Russian visa yourself by making an appointment at the Russian embassy. You can make the appointment at the embassy in the Netherlands by first filling in the application form via this link. You will also have to make a second appointment to pick up the visa. Tip: an application can also be made for someone else. My mother arranged the visa for both herself and me in one go at the embassy.
You can also skip that trip to the embassy by outsourcing your application. Then simply hand in your paperwork at an (online) visa office and let them do the work. For fellow Dutchies: the Dutch travel organisation ANWB provides this service in the Netherlands. Some agencies can also arrange your invitation letter.