Visa requirements and formalities

In this page you will get information about the following themes:

  1. The rules of obtaining the Russian visa
  2. Entry – filling of migration card
  3. Registration
  4. Solving possible problems

Let’s start from the beginning

1.  The rules for obtaining the Russian visa

(Here you can read about  conditions of entrance for the foreign citizens to the Russian Federation with diplomatic, official, special, or regular all-civil passports)

Procedure for obtaining visas for entry is regulated by Government of the Russian Federation dated June 9, 2003 № 335  “About Approval of the provision on establishment of visa forms, procedure and conditions of its registration and issuance, its extension, restoration it in case of loss, as well as the order of cancellation of visa”.

The authorized state authorities which are entitled to issue, to extend the validity of the visa, to reestablish or cancel a visa are the following:

  • 1 – Diplomatic agency or consular office of the Russian Federation,
  • 2 – Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation,
  • 3 – Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation and its territorial authorities in the Russian Federation.

There is the state fee established by the legislation of the Russian Federation for visa registration, including for extension of term of its action and restoration.

The following documents are submitted to an authorized government body:

  • 1. Valid foreign (office, ordinary) passport;
  • 2. Completed visa application form with one photo;
  • 3. The health insurance valid for the stay in the territory of the Russian Federation (in reality it is not usually required);
  • 4. The certificate on absence of HIV from the foreign citizen if he applies for a visa for more than 3 months.

A tourist visa is provided for the foreigners who are going to visit Russia for the purpose of tourism for a period of less  than 1 month. Obtaining a tourist visa requires that the tourist submits an invitation from a Russian “host”. The voucher or so-called invitation is issued only by the tourist companies, that have accreditation by the Department of Consular Service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it also includes  confirmation example-of-visa-invitationon reception of the foreign tourist by the organization which is conducting the tour operator activities or an invitation (the hotels mentioned in invitation letter  are the only form of confirmation of the tourist’s reception). There you can easily get such an invitation for business or tourist purposes.

The example of a tourist voucher is on the right.

It takes about 20 working days from the date of referral to the consulate to issue of the visa.

2. What to do upon arriving in St Petersburg

At the entrance to the Russian Federation, you must obtain and fill out the migration card, which affirms the right for a temporary stay in the country. Migration cards are given free of charge by officials of border control services or representatives of the organizations rendering transport services to foreign citizens, driving to the Russian Federation. The form of the migration card should be completed with Russian letters.  It is permitted to use the letters of the Latin alphabet according to the data specified in an identification document.

Front page.example-of-migration-card-front

Back. example-of-migration-card-back

3. Visa registration

You need to notify the local office of Federal Migration Service (UFMS) about your arrival within 7 days from the date of entering St. Petersburg, otherwise you will need to pay a fine and also have some restrictions for the future visits of Russia.

Tourist organizations are offering this service for an extra fee. You have to provide the company with identification document (passport), the migration card and the visa (usually the copies are enough). Territorial governing body of the Federal Migration Service of the city of St. Petersburg and Leningrad region, or a post office, who accept the notice of arrival, put down a mark in a detachable part of the form about receiving the notice.

This mark is a confirmation of a foreigner’s accomplishment the responsibilities of the registration at the place of stay. The detachable part of the notification with the mark on it is given to the foreigner and should be kept safe till the departure from the Russian Federation. At departure you return detachable part of the notice to the officials of boarder control services.

4. What should the foreigner do if he has lost his passport with the visa and migration card?

a) Go to any nearest police station with the statement of loss / theft of the document

b) Take the Statement of Loss to his country’s consulate in St. Petersburg, where he receives a “Certificate of homecoming.” If there is no consulate of his country here, the foreign citizen must go to the embassy in Moscow. The police certificate is enough to buy a train ticket. (If for some reason this reference is not enough, the foreigner may apply to the Federal Migration Service (Rimsky-Korsakov Avenue, 39, Monday-Friday: 10:00-17:00 (13:00-14:00 Lunch ), Saturday 10:00-13:00) for the accompanying document, with which it is possible to buy the ticket to Moscow)

c) For the citizens of the European Union, Norway, Israel and Montenegro, two documents are enough: the certificate about the loss of the document given by the police and the certificate from the consulate / embassy.

d) It will be necessary for the citizens of countries other than Norway, Israel, Montenegro or those in the European Union, to restore the Russian visa.

In order to restore the visa, the foreigner should contact the nearest place of the Department of Visas and Registration (usually the schedule of those places is the following: Monday-Friday: 10:00-17:00 (13:00-14:00 lunch, Saturday 10:00-13:00, Wednesday and Sunday – days off).

The state duty for recovery of the visa – 300 rubles (as it was stated on the 2014)-may be  paid in any Sberbank branch of the Russian Federation. Term of recovery of the visa: 7-20 days. Information for this section was taken from the information portal of St. Petersburg

If you are going to travel on your own, without the tourist group, I would recommend that you use the services of a verified multilingual company (mentioned there) in order to pay for the right documents.

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