The Skinny on Russia’s Phat New Visa Policy
The U.S. Embassy in Moscow welcomes President Putin’s signing of an historic U.S.-Russia visa agreement on July 30th, 2012. This agreement brings our countries and people closer together by allowing qualified tourist and business travelers from the United States and Russia to receive visas with longer validity periods. These travelers are now eligible to receive, on a reciprocal basis, visas valid for multiple entries during a period of 36 months. The agreement will facilitate travel and establish stronger ties between Russia and the United States, as it will benefit the largest segment of travelers in both our countries: business travelers and tourists (information above obtained from the State Department website, travel.state.gov).
This is really good news if you are trying to obtain a Russia visa, the process has become easier, and you won’t have to apply as frequently for visas. Here is the Breakdown:
New Russia Tourist Visa Requirements
- Russia Visa Application and printed declaration ID and Password
Click here to complete the application: visa.kdmid.ru Check out the most up to date Russia Visa Application Guidelines for help completing this application
- Tourist Voucher: obtain this yourself from the hotel you are staying at in Russia, or have SPS obtain one for you in minutes for $30
- 1 Passport Photo: must be 2 inches x 2 inches with a white background
- Your Passport: (physical passport, not a copy). Passport must be valid 6 months past your intended return date from Russia and have at least 2 blank facing visa pages.
- Non US Citizens: Proof of medical insurance (travel insurance with medical coverage or regular health insurance). A paper copy of the policy or a copy of the insurance card will be accepted. A copy of your green card or proof of other legal status is required.
- Former citizens of USSR, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Lithuania, Moldova, Latvia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Armenia, Turkmenistan, or Estonia: provide proof that you are no loger a citizen of that country. For example, expired passport from the country you formerly held citizenship, Israeli visa, Emigration stamp for “Postoyano mesto Zhitelstva” before 1992 February, etc. We also need a copy of your naturalization certificate.
- Minors: Please include a copy of your birth certificate and a copy of each parents’ passport. If either parent has a Russian passport, please contact us for more instructions.
- Addition Requirements for 3 year visas: Please write a personal letter of introduction addressed to the Consulate General of Russia. It should state the purpose of your trip, dates of the visit(s), cities you intend to visit, and request a 3 year multiple entry visa. Please sign this letter and include detailed contact Information
- Recommended Supporting Documentation for 3 year visa requests: The Consulate may ask for the following documents if you are requesting a 3 year visa. Providing them for the initial submission reduces the risk of delays
- Please write a Personal Letter of Introduction following the format here.
- Proof of financial ability- copy of a recent bank statement showing that you have over $2000 in a bank account. Your name and address should be on the bank statement, feel free to black out our account number for privacy purposes.
- Letter from you employer on company letterhead stating your wages for the last year. If you are self-employed, a letter of incorporation/business registration document may be requested.
Additional Items for New Russia Business Visa Requirements
- Letter of Invitation: It takes approximately 8-15 days to obtain a business invitation. Once we have your business invite, we can start processing your visa application. Click on the “Russian Letter of Invitation” in the Swift’s Russia Visa checkout more information on how we can help you obtain a business invitation.Note: Processing time is measured in business days and does not include holidays or weekends.
Please make sure you contact us if you have any questions regarding the new changes as we all adjust to this!
**Photo Courtesy of The Telegraph
Rob Lee is co-founder of Swift Passport and Visa Services. Originally from Michigan, Rob is an avid fisherman and SCUBA diver who enjoys adventure travel.