Excerpted from the Russia Career Guide
The Russian government maintains a restrictive and complicated visa system for foreigners who visit, travel to or reside in the Russian Federation. Russia issues personal/private visas (for visits to relatives or friends), work visas, business visas, student visas, tourist visas and transit visas. Depending on the type of visa requested, a letter of invitation or tourist voucher is also required. Only foreign nationals with valid work visas and permits are eligible to work. Students are not permitted to work.
Applications and Fees
Applicants apply for a Russian visa at the consulate or embassy that serves the country where the applicant holds legal permanent residence or citizenship. In some cases, the applicant may be able to apply for a visa while residing in or visiting another country, but it will depend upon the policies of the local Russian consulate or embassy. Applicants who intend to apply for Russian visas outside their home country are advised to contact the Russian diplomatic mission of the country they are visiting prior to submitting an application.
Visa applications require the applicant to furnish numerous details in addition to supporting documentation, and therefore, foreign nationals should submit their applications well in advance of their planned travel dates.
Visas for students are valid for three months and allow only one entry. Once a student has arrived at his/her destination in Russia, the sponsoring school can assist in obtaining an extension for the visa to last the duration of the period of study. The extension process may also include the option of changing the visa to allow multiple entries rather than only a single entry/exit.
As the visa process is long, applicants should begin the process at least three months prior to their intended travel dates. Student visa holders are not allowed to work in Russia and may only participate in internships associated with enrollment in a Russian educational institution.
A business visa is issued to foreigners who wish to enter Russia temporarily for business purposes, as representatives of foreign governments, as members of official delegations, cultural or as sports exchange visitors.
The following documentations are generally required:
- A valid passport with at least two clear visa pages
- One passport-size (1 3/8" x 1 3/4", 35 x 45 mm) photo of the applicant, which should be glued to the marked space on the application form.
This is just a sample of what you'll find in over 100 pages of information in the Russia Guide.