Visa policy of Russia

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The Government of the Russian Federation allows citizens or residents of specific countries/territories to enter Russia without having to obtain a visa, based on bilateral or multilateral agreements. Citizens of other countries must obtain a visa from a Russian embassy.

General Rules[edit]

The principal law pertaining to the visa policy or Russia is the Federal Law No.114-FZ On the Order of Exit from the Russian Federation and Entry to the Russian Federation. The law establishes that as a general rule all foreign citizens and stateless persons need visas for entry and exit from the territory of Russia. It also establishes a number of exceptions addressing certain groups of travelers.[1]

According to the Russian Constitution, international treaties of Russia override the domestic legislation. Russia has concluded a number of bilateral or multilateral treaties on visa abolishing or simplification and is seeking to negotiate new such treaties.

Visa policy map[edit]

Visa policy of Russia
  Russian Federation
  Visa-free entry (unlimited stay)
  Visa-free entry for all purposes (90 days)
  Visa-free for tourism (90 days)
  Visa-free for tourism (60 days)
  Visa-free for tourism (30 days)
  Visa-free for tourism (14 days)

Visa[edit]

Russian visa

The Russian visa is a machine-readable document, which is placed in the passport. It contains a transcription of the name in the Cyrillic script and all fields are indicated in Russian and English. The indication of nationality and entry requirements however is only written in Russian. The machine-readable strip contains the name based on romanization of the Cyrillic name, and does not necessarily reflect the name as it was written in the Roman script (example in the figure: Christoph --> (Cyrillic) Kpиcтoф --> (transcription; roman) Kristof). Contrary to guidelines for machine-readable documents, the issuing country abbreviation (RUS) not is shown at the positions 2-4 (e.g. starting V>RUS), and the surname starts immediately in the second field: VSURNAME>>GIVENNAME.

Types of visa[edit]

There are several types of Russian visas - travel visa that usually lasts for 30 days, business visa and homestay visa that applies when a person is staying at their friends or relatives home.[2]

Applying for visa[edit]

All types of Russian entry visas are received through Russian embassies and consulates. Provided all the documents are ready, the process usually takes no more than 3-10 workdays for Russian travel visa.[3]

Russian Tourist Visa requirements:[4]

  • Original passport
  • One photo (colour, passport size photo)
  • Tourist invitation
  • Russian Consulate Application Form

The Russian Consulate requires the visa application form to be printed on A4 paper with right and bottom margins of 5mm. A failure to meet these requirements invalidates the form.

Costs for visa[edit]

Some Russian embassies and consulates, but not all, require visa applications to be submitted in person to visa processing centres instead of directly to the consular section. Costs differ per administration center.

Visa-free Entry[edit]

The citizens of the following 34 countries and territories are eligible to visit Russia with a valid passport and without obtaining a visa in advance.[5] These rules generally apply to holders of ordinary passports, rules for holders of diplomatic passports and other travel documents may differ.

As of 2014, citizens of the countries, except Belarus, who have the right to a visa-free entry to Russia must not stay longer than 90 days per every 180 days. Resetting the allowed period by leaving and re-entering the country is no longer allowed. Overstaying is punishable by a three year entry ban.[6][7]

Unlimited period[edit]

90 days[edit]

All purposes[edit]

Stateless persons

Stateless persons who were citizens of the Soviet Union and now reside in the following countries are visa-exempt:[21]

Tourism purposes[edit]

60 days[edit]

30 days for tourism purposes[edit]

1 – if holding a letter of invitation or a tourist voucher.

15 days for tourism purposes[edit]

  •  China (Only for group tourism organized by accredited Chinese travel agencies)[46]

14 days for tourism purposes[edit]

Visa-free agreement allowing stays of up to 14 days was signed with  Nauru in September 2014, but it is yet to be ratified.[48][49]

Recent Developments[edit]

Russian government has instructed the Foreign Ministry to sign an agreement on visa-free regime with  El Salvador. [50][51]

Diplomatic passports[edit]

Holders of diplomatic passports only of the following countries may enter Russia without a visa:[52]

Visa on arrival[edit]

3 days for Kaliningrad visits[edit]

Citizens of Schengen states, United Kingdom and Japan may visit the Kaliningrad region as tourists and obtain a 3-day visa at the border check points of Bagrationovsk, Mamonovo and Khrabrovo Airport if travelling through one of the approved travel agencies.[54]

There is a plan to expand the program to other cities.[55]

Mode effective until 1 January 2015[56][57]


Cruise ship passengers[edit]

Since May 2009 international tourists have been able to stay in Russia visa-free up to 72 hours when entering Russia through the ports of Anadyr, Kaliningrad, Korsakov, Novorossiysk, Sevastopol,[58] Sochi, St.Petersburg, Vladivostok, Vyborg by ferry. This applies only to persons who travel within an organised group and do not intend to explore the cities on their own.[59] In 2014 it was proposed to extend the policy to tourists arriving by train.[60]

Visa-free transit[edit]

Direct airside transit[edit]

Passengers travelling through international airports do not need a visa for a transit of less than 24 hours, provided a confirmed onward ticket is held and the traveller remains in the international transit area (without clearing passport control).[citation needed]

Only five Russian airports have an international transit area:

Saimaa canal[edit]

In accordance with a treaty between Russia and Finland, though there are passport controls at borders, a visa is not required for just passing through the Russian part of the Saimaa canal without leaving the vessel.[61]

Visa-free zones[edit]

  •  Latvia — in the area within a radius of 50 kilometers on both sides of the border residents may travel to the other country without a visa.[62][63]
  •  Norway — in the area within a radius of 30 kilometers on both sides of the border residents may travel to the other country without a visa. A certificate of the border resident are issued for three years, and give the right to stay for 15 days.[64]
  •  Poland — there is a visa-free regime between Poland and Kaliningrad Oblast.[65]

There are talks on establishing a border area visa-free zone with Estonia.

Closed cities[edit]

Several closed cities and regions in Russia require special authorization.[66]

Crimea[edit]

As of 2014 the disputed territory of Crimea is under Russian control and Russia enforces its visa policy there.[67] However, Ukraine requires that foreigners should comply with Ukrainian visa regime including obtaining a Ukrainian visa if one is necessary. Otherwise, it may entail sanctions for "support of the temporary occupation of the Ukrainian territory".[68]

In April 2014 Crimea’s Tourism Minister proposed a visa-free regime for foreign tourists staying at Crimean resorts for up to 12 days and a 72-hour visa-free stay for cruise passengers.[69] Visa-free access for Chinese citizens was proposed in June 2014.[70]

2018 World Cup[edit]

Russia plans to allow 2018 FIFA World Cup participants and fans to visit Russia without a visa right before and during the competition.[71]

Fingerprinting[edit]

From January 2015 visa applicants from the United Kingdom, Denmark, Myanmar and Namibia will be obliged to provide fingerprint scans. After a trial period it will be decided whether to expand this to other countries as well.[72]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Federal Law No. 114-FZ OF August 15, 1996 On the Procedure for Exiting and Entring the Russian Federation". Retrieved 2013-12-19. 
  2. ^ "How to get Russian visa". Moscow Russia Insider's Guide. 
  3. ^ "Getting your Russian travel visa - tips and tricks". Moscow Russia Insider's Guide. 
  4. ^ "Russia Visa requirements". SSCvisa. 
  5. ^ "Visa Information - Russia". Timatic. IATA. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  6. ^ Russia brings in new travel rules for nationals of visa-free countries, including Armenia
  7. ^ Visa-free stay in Russia limited to 90 days during 6 months
  8. ^ "Russia Visa Policy for Belarus Citizens". Timaticweb. Retrieved 2013-09-30. 
  9. ^ Соглашение между Правительством Российской Федерации и Правительством Республики Абхазия "O взаимных безвизовых поездках граждан Российской Федерации и Республики Абхазия"
  10. ^ "Russia Visa Policy for Armenia Citizens". Timaticweb. Retrieved 2013-09-30. 
  11. ^ "Russia Visa Policy for Azerbaijan Citizens". Timaticweb. Retrieved 2013-09-30. 
  12. ^ "Russia Visa Policy for Kazakhstan Citizens". Timaticweb. Retrieved 2013-09-30. 
  13. ^ "Russia Visa Policy for Kyrgyzstan Citizens". Timaticweb. Retrieved 2013-09-30. 
  14. ^ "Russia Visa Policy for Moldova Citizens". Timaticweb. Retrieved 2013-09-30. 
  15. ^ Соглашение между Правительством Российской Федерации и Правительством Республики Южная Осетия "O взаимных безвизовых поездках граждан Российской Федерации и Республики Южная Осетия"
  16. ^ "Russia Visa Policy for Tajikistan Citizens". Timaticweb. Retrieved 2013-09-30. 
  17. ^ "Russia toughens migration policy for CIS citizens". Russia Beyond the Headlines / Kommersant. 24 June 2014. Retrieved 19 August 2014. 
  18. ^ "Russia Visa Policy for Ukraine Citizens". Timaticweb. Retrieved 2013-09-30. 
  19. ^ "Ukrainians, Russians can cross border using internal passports - official Kyiv". KyivPost. 1 April 2014. Retrieved 19 August 2014. 
  20. ^ "Russia Visa Policy for Uzbekistan Citizens". Timaticweb. Retrieved 2013-09-30. 
  21. ^ "Указ Президента РФ от 17 июня 2008 г. N 977 "О порядке въезда в Российскую Федерацию и выезда из Российской Федерации лиц без гражданства, состоявших в гражданстве СССР и проживающих в Латвийской Республике или Эстонской Республике"" (in Russian). Garant.ru. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  22. ^ Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Argentinian Republic on visa-free trips of citizens of the Russian Federation and citizens of the Argentinian Republic (in Russian)
  23. ^ Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Federal Republic of Brazil on waiver of visa requirements for short-term trips of citizens of the Russian Federation and citizens of the Federal Republic of Brazil(in Russian)
  24. ^ Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Republic of Chile on the conditions of waiver of visa formalities for mutual trips of citizens of the Russian Federation and citizens of the Republic of Chile(in Russian)
  25. ^ Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Republic of Colombia on the conditions of waiver of visa formalities for mutual trips of citizens of the Russian Federation and citizens of the Republic of Colombia (in Russian)
  26. ^ Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Republic of Ecuador on the conditions of waiver of visa formalities for mutual trips of citizens of the Russian Federation and citizens of the Republic of Ecuador (in Russian)
  27. ^ [1]
  28. ^ Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Republic of Guatemala on the conditions of waiver of visa formalities for mutual trips of citizens of the Russian Federation and citizens of the Republic of Guatemala (in Russian)
  29. ^ Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the State of Israel on waiver of visa requirements for mutual trips of citizens of the Russian Federation and citizens of the State of Israel (in Russian)
  30. ^ [2]
  31. ^ Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Republic of Nicaragua on cancellation of visa requirements for mutual trips of citizens of the Russian Federation and citizens of the Republic of Nicaragua (in Russian)
  32. ^ http://mid.ru/brp_4.nsf/newsline/3C99248C0AFC3C47C3257DB2002CE2E3
  33. ^ http://mid.ru/brp_4.nsf/newsline/66F204C631B2FF8344257D6A00502327
  34. ^ Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Republic of Peru on the conditions of waiver of visa formalities for mutual trips of citizens of the Russian Federation and citizens of the Republic of Peru (in Russian)
  35. ^ Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela on waiver of visa formalities for mutual trips of citizens of the two states (in Russian)
  36. ^ [3]
  37. ^ [4]
  38. ^ [5]
  39. ^ [6]
  40. ^ [7]
  41. ^ http://mid.ru/brp_4.nsf/newsline/ED67738DF59D756544257D77005C879B
  42. ^ [8]
  43. ^ [9]
  44. ^ [10]
  45. ^ [11]
  46. ^ About the Group Tourism Visa-free Agreement between China and Russia(in Chinese)
  47. ^ [12]
  48. ^ http://www.mid.ru/bdomp/brp_4.nsf/e78a48070f128a7b43256999005bcbb3/5cdd89a6448a2c6e44257d5e0059a7ee!OpenDocument
  49. ^ <http://pravo.gov.ru/laws/acts/55/49505750451088.html
  50. ^ http://government.ru/media/files/41d4bcdec7278c54f710.pdf
  51. ^ http://ria.ru/world/20140206/993471760.html
  52. ^ [13]
  53. ^ "The Agreement Between the Governments of Russia and China on Facilitation of Travelling for Citizens (in Russian)". Retrieved 2014-09-19. 
  54. ^ Short-term visas – «tourism 72 hours»
  55. ^ Foreigners allowed 3-day stay in Russia without visa
  56. ^ http://kaliningrad.mid.ru/-/prekrasaetsa-vydaca-kratkosrocnyh-turisticeskih-viz?redirect=http%3A%2F%2Fkaliningrad.mid.ru%2Fmainpage%3Fp_p_id%3D101_INSTANCE_ylqmObxv3kYj%26p_p_lifecycle%3D0%26p_p_state%3Dnormal%26p_p_mode%3Dview%26p_p_col_id%3Dcolumn-1%26p_p_col_pos%3D1%26p_p_col_count%3D3
  57. ^ http://itar-tass.com/spb-news/1634333
  58. ^ http://en.portnews.ru/news/187193/
  59. ^ "New window to Russia: tourists could spend three days in St Petersburg without a visa". Telegraph.co.uk. 23 July 2010. Retrieved 6 January 2011. 
  60. ^ Russia Considers Waiving Tourist Visas for Train Passengers
  61. ^ Treaty between the Russian Federation and the Finnish Republic on leasing to the Finnish Republic of the Russian part of Saimaa canal and adjoining territory and on the conditions of navigation through Saimaa canal, article 6, paragraph 3.
  62. ^ More visa-free traveling in the Baltic
  63. ^ [14]
  64. ^ Visa-free zone between Norway and Russia
  65. ^ EU makes visa exception for Kaliningrad
  66. ^ "Russian Federation Country Specific Information - Entry/Exit Requirements for U.S. Citizens". Bureau of Consular Affairs, U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  67. ^ Foreigners need visas to travel to Crimea
  68. ^ Ukraine insists on right of issuing Crimean visa
  69. ^ Crimea proposes lifting visas for tourists
  70. ^ Crimea visits to be visa-free for Chinese travellers — Russia tourism chief
  71. ^ Russia to ease visa regime for World Cup fans in 2018
  72. ^ Russia to introduce fingerprint scanning for visa applicants in UK, Denmark, Myanmar, Namibia

External links[edit]