Foreigners visiting, transiting, or residing in the Russian Federation must obtain a visa from the Russian government. In the event of noncompliance with Russian visa laws, a U.S. citizen could be arrested, fined, or deported.
A U.S. citizen traveling to Russia with an expired visa won't be allowed to leave the country, effectively leaving them stranded for up to 20 days, until their local authorities grant them an exit visa.There are many types of regular visas available, depending on your purpose of travel, including tourist, business, private, student, transit, humanitarian, and work visas. Your application for this type of visa must be submitted no earlier than 90 days before your departure date at the Russian consulates or visa centers in your country. An invitation is required to obtain this visa.
Russian Visa Online ServicesThe Russian Federation issues seven types of visas depending on the purpose of the entry:TOURIST. As the name implies, this is the most common type of visa, granted for stays related to tourism. Tourist visas are issued for short periods of time, usually not exceeding 30 days, either as Single or Double entry. An official letter of invitation from a Russian travel agent is required. A visa that allows two entries is only issued for countries that are in the close vicinity (CIS states, Baltic states) or those that require transit through Russian territory in return (e.g., China, Mongolia, etc.).
PRIVATE VISA. The Russian Federation issues these to all guests of Russian Nationals living within its borders. Private visas are available for travelers staying in private apartments with friends and family members in Russia, although the process is more complicated:
A tourist visa is easier to obtain if you are staying for 30 days or less. When you receive the visa, you can stay at any hotel you like. Include random hotels in your invitation letter.
Your Russian friend or relative must write you a private invitation letter to help you apply for a private visa if your stay is longer than 30 days (90 days at the most). This process takes about two weeks. To obtain it, you must apply through the Russian Federation's Ministry of the Interior.
BUSINESS. A visit to Russia of this type is a professional one and has a commercial purpose. It is possible to obtain a business visa that is valid for 30, 90, 180 or 365 days (and even longer in some cases).
Also, this type of visa is requested by people who have no business in Russia but would like to spend a longer period of time there than 30 days (the maximum duration of a tourist visa). While this practice has been permissive (maybe one day it will change), it should be remembered that the business visa does not apply to these travelers.
STUDENT. These are issued to students enrolled in Russian universities.WORK. A visa that allows an individual to work in Russia.
HUMANITARIAN. Issued for stays associated with cultural exchange, sporting events, scientific and technological advancement, socio political campaigns, or humanitarian missions.
TRANSIT. Route used to go from one country to another through the Russian Federation.
For those who don't leave the international area during a layover in an airport or for those who fly over the territory without a layover, this visa is not necessary. More info about transit visas in this article.
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