Russian visa requirements for Americans are a little more complex than those of other nations. There are way too many rules and regulations to cover in one simple article, so this part 1 of a 2-part series. This article will focus on US citizen needs for traveling to Russia, with some discussion on employment visas into Russia for work. It’s important to note that I’m not an attorney but there could be significant legal issues if you make the wrong choices. You should always consult an experienced attorney.
A Russian visa is apparently a travel document issued by the government of the Russian Federation for the citizens of foreign countries. A visa to Russia permits you to enter the country and stay there for a specific period of time. The detailed information about Russian visas can be obtained from the Russian consulate or embassy which has jurisdiction over your place of residence. The travel document is a handwritten or printed paper with fields filled in with embossing. It is also an electronic permit containing data on visa holder and his/her children, expiration date, and other details as per your citizenship.
American tourist travel to Russia is becoming increasingly popular as the US dollar continues devaluating against the Ruble. Additionally, since the Russian travel industry heavily leans on tourism for its primary source of income, the country has become much more friendly towards foreigners in recent years. More than 400,000 American tourists traveled to Russia in 2012, up 30 percent from 2009.
Russian Visa For American
If you are not a US citizen but have a close relative living in the US, you can use their residency as the basis for your Russian visa application. Generally speaking, immigration processes are divided into two groups: family immigration and employment immigration.
What is a Russia Transit Visa?
A Russia Transit Visa is a Russian visa type that is issued to enter Russia and pass through its territory to reach another country. Those transiting through air and land are both eligible for a transit visa.
Who Needs a Russia Transit Visa?
Most of the nationals of world countries will need a visa to Russia, even for transit. The following are exempt from this requirement:
- Nationals of countries who can enter Russia visa-free for tourism or other purposes.
- Travelers flying over the territory of the Russian Federation without changing flights in the country.
- Travelers flying with an international airline and changing flights in the Russian Federation. There is one sole condition that this airport has a transit area.
How to Apply for a Russia Transit Visa?
The application process for a Russia transit visa goes as follows:
- Check if you need a visa to transit Russia.
- Complete the online Russian transit visa application form. You can find the form online at kdmid.ru. This is the official website of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MID).
- Collect the required documents for a Russian Transit Visa. Get the list of the required documents below in this article.
- Submit your Russian transit visa application. You will need to submit your application at either a Russian Consulate or a Russian Visa Processing Center. It all depends on how the Russian authorities have regulated visa admission in that particular country. The application must be submitted in person.
- Wait for the processing of your application. After the embassy completes the processing of your application, you will be notified on the decision. If the decision is positive, you will have a visa sticker in your passport when you collect it.
When you travel to Russia, you will be presented with an immigration card, at the port of entry. This card is a document that contains two identical parts. Complete both of them. The border police will keep one part, and the other one you will need to carry with you.
For a more detailed overview of the Russian visa application process, visit the article.
Required Documents for Russia Transit Visa
Though a transit visa is not meant for a stay in Russia, there are several documents one needs to submit. These documents prove that the traveler intends to transit and not to stay illegally in Russia. It is also a form to check the background of the person entering the country.
In addition to the required documents for any Russian visa, you also need to submit the following documents for a Russia transit visa:
- A valid visa (if required by that country) to the country you want to enter after leaving Russia.
- A copy of your confirmed ticket to and from Russia in case you are travelling by air/train/coach.
- Cover Letter. Explain in this letter the purpose of transit through Russia. If you will be transiting with a car, include the routes of journey. Attach a photocopy of the car registration certificate, stating the details of the owner and the vehicle.
Note that the Russian embassy can ask you for extra documents for your application. They may also ask you to sit for an interview, if they see it necessary.
Russia Transit Visa Fee
The costs for a Russia Transit visa depend on your nationality and some other few factors, as:
- The number of intended entries to Russia
- The processing time
The cheapest a Russia Transit visa can cost is 32.8 EUR. On the other hand, the most expensive Transit visa is 282.1 EUR. The Russian visa fees are nonrefundable. They can be paid with cash or a bank card.
Check our article on Russia Visa Fees to find out how much you need to pay for a visa for a trip to Russia!
How Long Does It Take to Get a Russia Transit Visa?
The processing time for a Russia transit visa application is from three working days to seven calendar days. Expedited processing is available for those in a hurry to get a visa. It takes one to three working days. Applicants that want to benefit from the expedited visa application processing will need to pay a higher fee.
Russia Transit Visa Validity
A transit visa for air travelers is valid for three days. On the other hand, a transit visa for road or rail travelers is valid for up to 10 days.
A Russia transit visa can be single entry or double entry. A double entry visa can be valid for up to 30 days. In case the travelers need to return to Russia a month after the first transit, he or she will need to apply for a second transit visa at the Russian Embassy/Consulate in the country in which they are currently staying.
Those transiting Russia by car are issued with a visa valid for the time required in order to complete the journey by the shortest routes.