Russia Visa Policy

Check the visa policy of Russia and discover the travel requirements for your nationality.

Visa Policy for Russia

On this page you can find the visa policy to travel to the Russian Federation and the necessary requirements to visit the country depending on nationality.

The visa policy for Russia is a set of laws, rules and regulations that indicates whether a traveler is eligible to enter the country, and the type of visa they need depending on the purpose of visit and duration, as well as the documentation they must provide.

Although citizens of approximately 50 countries do not need a visa to enter the country, Russian immigration policy states that a visa is required for other nationalities that are not on the list of visa-exempt countries.

A visa for Russia can either be obtained through the nearest embassy or consulate or, for certain Russian regions, through a simple E-visa application. A visa on arrival is not available for the Russian Federation.

Eligible foreign citizen can obtain an electronic visa through an online application for a short period of stay in select Russian territories in an easy and comfortable way, without having to apply in person for an embassy visa.

An E-visa may be issued as either a tourist visa, business visa, transit visa, or as a visa for humanitarian purposes.

Travelers who wish to visit Russia for another purpose not listed above, for example to work or study, or visit another region of the country not permitted with an E-visa, must obtain a visa at a Russian government diplomatic office.

Find further information about the different types of visa for the Russian Federation below.

Tourist Visa Policy for Russia

Non visa-exempt foreign citizens who want to visit the Russian Federation for touristic purposes must obtain a visa at an embassy or consulate or apply for an electronic visa through an online application, depending on their nationality and the region of Russia they wish to visit.

Citizens of around more than 190 countries and territories around the world are required to apply for either a tourist E-visa or an embassy visa for tourism from a diplomatic office in order to visit Russia for leisure.

In both cases, the applicant must fill out a form with personal data and passport information. Additional supporting documentation is usually required for an embassy tourist visa application to be approved.

Foreign citizens who are eligible to obtain an online visa can complete an internet application in minutes to receive an approved tourist E-visa for Russia sent via email.

The E-visa eliminates the inconvenience of having to travel to a Russian diplomatic mission in person, and greatly expedites the application for a tourist visa.

An online travel document is issued as a single entry for a specific region of Russia depending on the traveler’s destination, which must be indicated during the online application.

The period of stay allowed in the relevant Russian territory is 8 days with an E-visa.The validity of the visa is 30 days to enter Russia from the date of approval.

Foreign tourists who wish to visit Russia for longer tourist stays, or travel to regions not available with an E-visa, must apply for a tourist visa at the nearest embassy or consulate of Russia.

Find below further information about Russian tourist visa requirements for your nationality.

E-visa

An E-visa for Russia is an a electronic visa which allows eligible citizens to visit a certain territory of Russia for a short stay.

There are currently around 55 countries that can obtain an E-visa to travel to Russia. The type of E-visa required will depend on the territory of Russia the applicant wishes to visit.

All of the different types of Russian Visa are single entry electronic visas and permit a total stay of 8 days in the relevant region. An approved Russian online visa is valid for 30 days to enter the designated region from the date of issue.

The Russian visa policy states that all foreign citizens eligible to obtain an electronic visa must fill out a simple online application form with basic personal, passport, and travel information, to receive an approved E-visa sent by email.

In order to apply, the traveler’s passport must be valid for at least 6 months from the intended date of arrival and contain between one or two blank pages.

If the traveler meets all the requirements set by Russia, the visa will be approved in between 2 and 4 business days. The copy of the approved E-visa sent by email must be printed and used to board transportation for Russia, alongside the same passport used to complete the online application.

An approved Russian E-visa functions as either a tourist visa, business visa, a visa for humanitarian reasons, or a visa for transit purposes.

If the traveler requires a longer period of stay or wishes to visit a Russian territory not served by the online application, they must apply for a visa at the nearest government diplomatic office of Russia.

Below you will find a full list of all the nationalities for which an E-visa for Russia is available.

Russia eVisa Types

There are currently 3 types of Russian E-Visa available for foreign citizens, each of which permits a short stay in a different territory of Russia during its validity.

An approved St Petersburg E-visa allows eligible citizens to visit Russia’s St. Petersburg and Leningrad regions of Russia.

The Kaliningrad E-visa allows visits to the Russian Kaliningrad Exclave located on the Baltic Sea between Poland and Lithuania.

An approved Russian Far East E-visa permits the holder to visit any of the following regions in the Far Eastern Federal District of Russia:

  • Amur Region
  • Chukotka Autonomous Okrug
  • Kamchatka Krai
  • Khabarovsk Krai
  • Primorsky Krai
  • Republic of Buryatia
  • Sakhalin Oblast
  • Zabaykalsky Krai

Each type of approved Russian electronic visa allows the holder to enter the relevant territory at select air, sea, and land checkpoints in the region (Please see our Russia e-Visa FAQ for a full list).

A Russia-wide E-visa is also expected to be introduced by the Russian government in 2021. Please check this site periodically for updates about the implementation of this visa type.

Embassy or Consular Visa Required

Russian visa laws state that travelers from more than 135 countries are required to apply for an embassy visa to visit Russia, no matter the intended length or purpose of the stay.

The validity of the applicant’s passport must be at least 6 months from the intended date of arrival and must contain between one and two blank pages in order for an embassy visa to be approved.

In order for a foreign citizen to obtain a Russian embassy visa, they must request a consular appointment well in advance of the date of intended travel.

Russia embassy visa protocol usually requires the applicant to attend this appointment with a completed application form and supporting documentation depending on the type of visa required. It is also necessary to pay an embassy visa fee determined by the government of Russia.

Those who submit a Russian embassy visa application should be aware that it may take up to 2 weeks or more to be processed and approved.

By applying for an embassy visa, foreign citizen can also obtain a visa for purposes not available through an online application or for longer periods of stay, for example a student visa or work visa.

See the list below for nationalities that require a visa in advance from a Russian embassy.

Embassy or Consular Visa Required: Country list

Click on the links below to find out more about each country

Visa Not Required

Travelers who are nationals of the countries shown in the list below do not need a visa for Russia, provided the duration of the trip is within the visa exemption limit.

Currently there are around 50 visa-exempt countries for Russia. The majority of these nationalities can stay in Russia visa-free for up to 90 days, simply by presenting a valid passport upon arrival.

Since the beginning of 2009, Russia has stated that cruise and ferry passengers visiting the country for a maximum of 72 hours will be exempt from a visa as long as they stay overnight on board or in accommodation approved by the travel agency.

A visa exemption also applies to crew members who work for certain airlines, sea, river, and rail companies. Depending on the company with which the crew member works, they will be able to access Russia without the need to obtain a visa.

Additionally, some individual territories of Russia, such as the Kuril Islands, Sakhalin Islands, and Chukotka, have special agreements with certain countries where they permit their citizens to enter without a visa depending on the purpose of the visit and the period of stay.

However, visa-exempt citizens for Russia who wish to visit for periods other than the visa-fee stay permitted for their nationality will be required to obtain a visa to visit the country.

Find below a full list of the countries whose citizens do not require a visa to travel to Russia.

Transit Visa for Russia Not Required

Foreign citizens do not need a transit visa for Russia to pass through to another destination, if the transit period does not exceed 24 hours and the traveler does not leave the international transit area of the airport.

This exemption is dependent on the traveler having a confirmed onward ticket to their final destination.

However, if the traveler comes from Belarus or the arrival airport does not have an international transit area, it is mandatory to obtain a transit visa for Russia.

The following Russian international airports do not have transit areas, meaning a visa is required for all arriving transit passengers:

  • Irkutsk Airport
  • Khabarovsk Airport
  • Krasnodar Airport
  • Mineralnye Vody Airport
  • Rostov Airport
  • Sochi Airport
  • Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk Airport
  • Zhukovsky Airport

Furthermore, a transit visa is not required for travelers who are planning to pass through the Russian section of the Saimaa canal without leaving the vessel, due to a special treaty between Russia and Finland.

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