Visa and registration


Obtaining a Russian visa can range from a piece of cake to a complete conundrum! As you would imagine, it pays to be organised (quite literally, as visa charges are significantly higher for emergency processing!)

The first thing you need to do is check with your local embassy or consulate as to what documents you will need to support your application and find out processing times. As a general rule, you will need a completed application form with photo, an invitation from an organisation within Russia, visa fees and, if you are applying for a business or work visa, a covering letter. Work and multiple entry business visas also require a recent HIV test certificate. If you are self-employed you will also sometimes be required to provide bank statements for the last six months.

We can recommend Mellennium Travel agency which offers a full list of visa service to Russian and foreign nationals. Threre is 24 hour customer support. Don’t hesitate to call  +7 495 783 83 11 or email

Here is a summary of the most common types of Russian visas, their durations and numbers of entries or exits:







Tourism and leisure

Up to 30 days



Visiting friends or relatives

Up to 90 days



Studying at a Russian educational establishment

Up to 90 days*



Employment within the Russian Federation

Up to 90 days

Up to 3 years**




Transit through the Russian Federation where your stay on Russian soil exceeds 24 hours and/or you leave the airport transit zone

Up to 3 days



Cultural events such as science conventions, sporting events, religious festivals etc.

Up to 90 days

Up to 1 year




Conducting business in Russia

Up to 90 days

Up to 1 year

Up to 90 days

Up to 1 year

* This can be extended in Russia should the duration of your studies be longer than 90 days
** In most cases you will be provided with a 90 day single or double entry work visa in the first instance, which will then be extended for up to 3 years and converted to multiple entry when you arrive in Russia at the same time that your work permit is obtained

Visas for family members

If you are relocating to Russia for work and will be accompanied by a partner, spouse or children, you will need to make sure that your company apply for an Accompanying Spouse Visa or Visa for Dependents at the same time as they apply for your visa.

Migration cards

 On arrival in Russia you will need to complete a two-part migration card. One half of the duplicate will be retained as you pass through passport control and the other will be collected when you exit the country. This MUST be retained throughout your stay in Russia and is required for visa registration.

If you are flying in to Domodedovo or Vnukovo, this process is done by an automated system so you do not need to manually complete this form, only to sign it. Sheremetyevo currently still uses the manual system. If you are flying to Sheremetyevo, you should be offered a migration card by the cabin crew. If not, they are available before you reach passport control.


Every foreigner who comes to Russia should have his or her Russian visa registered within 7 working days of arrival, excluding holidays and weekends. The purpose of the registration is to notify the immigration authorities of where you will be staying while you're in Russia.

According to a new law issued in 2007, it is the responsibility of the accommodating party to register your visa once you arrive. If you are a tourist, the hotel or hostel where you are staying should do this for you. If you are on business or working, your company should be able to help.

There are also agencies within the city that can help register you should you run into any problems. Their charges are significantly higher but they can be a good option if you are staying in privately rented accommodation and your accommodating party are absent or unable to register you.

Please find the full list of visa support agencies here