Visit to Russia - migration and visas

Foreign citizens need to obtain a Russian visa prior to the entry into the territory of the Russian Federation. For the purpose of business travel, a business visa is issued. Business visa may be single-entry or double-entry. Single-entry allows the foreign citizen a one-time entry in the Russian Federation, double-entry allows the foreign citizen to enter an exit the Russian border of no more than times, whereas multiple entry allows multiple entries (more than two times)  into the Russian federation.

Single-entry of double-entry tourist visas are issued to foreign citizens whose purpose of travel is tourism.

A single-entry visa is issued for a specific period not exceeding 1 month, the visa is nonrenewable. A double-entry visa is issued for a period not exceeding 2 months. A double entry tourist visa is issued for a period not exceeding 1 month. A multiple-entry business visa is issued for up to 1 year. US citizens are now able to obtain a 3-year multi-entry visa and EU citizens may obtain a 5-year multiple-entry visa.

A multi-entry visa allows for unlimited entry into the Russian Federation for business purposes, however the period of stay in Russia should not exceed 90 days total with the period of six months.

A double-entry or multiple-entry visa can be prolonged to 10 days if the total period of stay in Russia is not exceeding 90 days within a period of six months.

Nationals of some foreign countries may enter into the Russian Federation without visa in accordance with international treaties.  A visa is issued directly on the border of the Russian Federation, normally for 90 days. In particular, such a regime is effective for the citizens of Turkey, Israel, Thailand, the Philippines, Mongolia, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Venezuela, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Uruguay.

Citizens of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Ukraine may stay in Russia permanently, regardless of the purpose of stay.

How to obtain a visa

To obtain a visa you need to have an official visa invitation.  An invitation may be issued by local authorities, legal entities, Russian citizens, foreign citizens or stateless people staying in Russia. An application for visa invitation is issued by the offices of the Russian Migration Service.
Visas may be obtained in special visa centers in Russia; in the Russian embassy or consulate or specialist companies personally or through an official representative. Depending of the purpose of visit, visas are issued in no more than 14 days.

The following documents are required to apply for a Russian visa:

• ID document recognized by the Russian Federation;
• Fully completed application form with a photograph;
• Photograph, 3x4 sm;
• Visa invitation;
• Health insurance policy, unless otherwise provided by the international treaties to which Russia is a party.

Certificate of No HIV is required to apply for a visa for three months or a longer period.

Consular fees for a Russian visa are determined on a mutual basis. For EU citizens consular fees for a visa is 35 Euro, in case of urgent visa (up to three days) the amount of fees will be increased twice.

Migration registration in Russia

Foreign citizens arriving in the Russian Federation must complete a migration card indicating visa information and submit it to the migration service.
Migration card consists of two parts one of them is submitted to the border guards and the second one is kept by the foreign citizen until his departure from the Russian Federation.

There are three categories of foreign citizens staying in Russia:

• foreign citizens who are temporarily staying in the Russian Federation – foreign citizens staying in the Russian Federation on a visa or a visa-free basis;
• foreign citizens who are temporarily residing in the Russian Federation – foreign citizens with temporary residence permits valid for not more than 3 years;
• foreign citizens who are permanently resident in the Russian Federation - foreign citizens with permanent residence valid for 5 years.

Migration registration of foreign citizens is maintained at the place of stay and is notification based. A foreign citizen must notify the Federal Migration Service if the period of stay in Russia is more than 7 days.

However, the foreign citizen is not required to appear to any authorities, the inviting party is responsible for migration registration based on the passport and migration card provided by the foreign citizen. The inviting party submits copies of the passport and migration card to the Federal Migration Service. The local Federal Migration Service puts an acceptance mark on the card and returns the detachable section to the inviting party, who, in his turn, hands over the detachable section, which is a confirmation of migration registration, to the foreign citizen.