How to Get a Tourist Visa for Russia

Russia Tourist Visa

Russia Tourist Visa

Going to Russia on tourism?  You will need to get a Russia Tourist Visa.  This visa is the easiest of all the visas to get and is normally issued in 1 to 10 days and will enable you to stay in Russia for up to 30 days (subject to the Russia Ministry of Foreign Affair’s discretion).

Many countries have bilateral agreements set up with Russia that enable visa-free travel (e.g. Israel, CIS states, Brazil, etc.)  However, if you are a citizen of the U.S., UK, or EU or other countries, you will need to get a tourist visa for Russia. Fortunately, the Russia Tourist Visa process gets easier with each passing year.

If you are applying from the United States, submit your visa application to Invisa Logistic Services, the company that the Embassy of Russia in Washington D.C. has outsourced visa processing to.

If you are applying from outside the United States, you can get your visa processed at any Russian embassy or consulate.

The first action item for getting any visa for Russia will be to secure an invitation from a sponsor.  Under Russian law, every foreigner who requires a visa for Russia must have a Russian-based sponsor.  This sponsor can be a tour agency, hotel, university, employer…it really all depends on the purpose of your trip to Russia.

I’ll break everything down for you below about how to go about getting the Russia Tourist Visa if you are applying from within the United States.

(For information on other types of visas for Russia, go to my Russia visa page.)

Visa required for U.S. citizens before you go to Russia:  Yes.
U.S. citizens need to get a visa for Russia well in advance of their trip.

Visa required for non-U.S. citizens before you go to Russia:  Check this list here to see if you are from a country that requires a visa to go to Russia.  There are a number of countries around the world that have signed bilateral agreements with Russia enabling visa-free travel.

Secure your Russian invitation

The tourist invitation is essentially a tourist voucher and a reservation confirmation that you will receive visa e-mail.  It can be issued by a travel agency in Russia recognized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  The whole process is pretty quick, with turnaround times being less than 24 hours.

The guys at Way to Visa (I have no affiliation with them at all) have been around the block and can issue you an invitation letter very quickly.

Gather documentation

This page here has the step-by-step required documents and fees that you need to gather for the visa.

Submit your documents to Invisa

You can apply by mail (expensive option) or make an appointment to apply in person (cheaper option).

Receive your visa

Congratulations!  You will receive your new Russia visa.

  • If you plan to spend more than seven days in Russia, you need to register your visa and migration card (which you will get upon arrival to Russia) through your sponsor or landlord.
Vaccination information

Don’t get sick!  Check vaccination requirements here.

Further Reading

About Addison Sears-Collins

Hey! I'm Addison Sears-Collins, the founder of Visa Hunter. You can learn more about me here. Connect with me by liking my fan page on Facebook, connecting with me on Twitter, or check out my website Automatic Addison where I build robots and embedded systems. accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever with regard to the accuracy of the information contained on this site. Please read the Visitor Agreement and Disclaimer. If you think there is an error in the information, please bring it to our attention so that we can correct it. Also, some of the links above could be advertisements or affiliate links, which means that I will earn a commission (at no additional cost to you) should you decide to click on the links and make a purchase. I recommend sites from time to time, not because I earn money or get a tiny commission if you click on the affiliate links and make a purchase, but because, I want you to focus on the places that will deliver you the most value and the best results. Good luck!