The Silver Necklace of Russia

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There are six main types of visas issued depending on the purpose of entry into Russia: Tourist, Business (Commercial), Student, Work, Private, Transit.

  • Tourist visa. This is the most common type of visa. It is issued to enter the country with tourist purposes for a stay of up to 30 days. Applying for such a visa is the cheapest, easiest and fastest way. Tourist visa can be for a single or double entry.

  • Business visa (the other name – Commercial visa). This visa is issued for foreigners to enter Russia with commercial purposes of the visit or on business. For example: to sign a contract, to hold a presentation or an exhibition, to participate in business negotiations, seminars, exhibitions, to search for new partners or to exchange experience (do not confuse Business visa with Work visa!). With this visa you cannot be employed for work in Russia, but you can conduct business activities that will bring you profit. For example: you cannot be hired as an assessor, but you can come and give a lecture on evaluation and get paid for it under the contract. Business visa can be for a single or double entry with a valid term of 1 month and 3 months and for multiple entries (that is without limiting the number of visits) with a valid term of 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, 3 years, 5 years. Business visa allows you to stay in Russia for up to 90 days out of every 180. That is, for example, if you received a visa for a year from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018, then this visa is conditionally divided into two periods: from January 1 to June 30 and from July 1 to December 31, and in each of these periods a foreign citizen can stay in Russia for no more than 90 days in total. Business visas to Russia are issued for a period of 1 month to 5 years.

  • Work. Visa, with which you can officially find a job and work in Russia. It is issued for a period of 1 to 3 years. In order to get this visa your employer must officially invite you to Russia. To search for an employer, we recommend a business visa with a duration of 3 months or a tourist visa with a duration of up to 1 month.

  • Student (Academic) visa. It is issued for studying and receiving higher education in the Russian Federation. It is issued at the invitation of a higher educational institution. In order to get acquainted with the institution, we recommend a business visa with a duration of 3 months or a tourist visa with a duration of up to 1 month.

  • Private. Issued for foreign citizens who are invited by a Russian citizen. The invitation is issued under the responsibility of the inviting citizen of the Russian Federation and the address of residence is indicated in the visa - the apartment is owned by the inviting person. A lot of Russian citizens want to issue a private invitation, but it takes much longer than the issue of the tourist invitation, is not cost effective. Further, we will tell you why it is easier to make a tourist invitation to Russia.
    Read also: Why is it not recommended to use a private visa to visit Russia?

  • Transit. Visa for a transit to the country of destination through the territory of the Russian Federation (Attention! This type of visa is not required for foreigners who make a stop at the airport and are not going to leave the transit zone, as well as for those who make a non-stop flight over the territory of Russia).

On the whole, the process of issuing different types of visas is approximately the same. Main differences are the terms of issuing and the visa application forms. A significant difference is the obtaining of a so-called Invitation for a visa to Russia which depends on the type of visa. Let's compare visually all types of visas

Types of visas to Russia for foreigners

VisaValidityPurpose of entry
Tourist1-30 daysTourism, visiting friends or relatives in Russia
Business (Commercial)30-90 days (up to 5 years)Holding business meetings and negotiations, search for business partners, attending conferences, long-term tourism, long-term visits to relatives in Russia
Private30-90 daysOfficially registered visits to friends who live in Russia
(Not recommended! Find out why)
Work1-3 yearsEmployment in Russia or a permanent residence