Applying for a visa to travel to Russia from Australia, US or UK, whether for work, business, study or tourism, is not as complicated a process as it may seems. In this article, I’ll explain how to gather all of the documents you’ll need to apply for a visa from your computer in a way that is quick (less than 1 hour) and cost-effective. I also explain the additional requirements for Covid-19. Despite the the war in Ukraine, consulates issue visas to travel to Russia.
Updated November 29, 2022
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I’ve had to apply for tourist visas to Russia for family and friends on several different occasions. The process for obtaining a visa to Russia is an extremely bureaucratic one and thanks to this, many companies have taken advantage of the opportunity to do business related to it.
Hundreds of internet articles explain the process for obtaining a Russian visa, but I haven’t found any that clearly explain each step of the process in detail or explain how to complete the process yourself without relying on outside help or intermediaries.
It’s for this reason that I’d like to explain in detail how an Australian citizen can obtain a visa to travel to Russia in an easy and inexpensive way without having to contact intermediary businesses who only add to the overall price of the visa. If you also want to get the visa to China, you can read this detailed guide.
- If you will be traveling to Russia on a trip organized by a travel agency, the agency will likely take care of the entire visa process and simply ask you for the necessary documents. If this is the case, the price will be significantly more than if you file for the visa yourself.
- This article gives a step-by-step explanation of how to obtain a visa on your own from Australia, but the process in New Zealand is very similar.
- For citizens of United States, Canada and United Kingdom, the detailed process is explained in these articles:
1. INTRO QUESTIONS
Before going into detail about the Russian visa application process, it’s important to answer a few questions in order to better understand the procedures.
1.1. What is a visa and who should request one?
A visa is an authorization for a citizen of a foreign country to enter, stay in, or pass through the territory of the Russian Federation. It is a document that adheres to one of the pages of your passport. Here is a real example:
Below you can see what the different sections of a Russian tourist visa mean:
If you are from Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Europe, UK, Japan, China or India, you will need to obtain a visa in order to travel to Russia.
However, people from about 40 countries that have bilateral agreements with Russia are exempt from needing to obtain a visa (see map). For example:
- Those with passports from ex-USSR states like Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Ukraine, etc. are allowed to enter Russian territory using ordinary passports from their respective countries.
- Most South American and Central American countries are exempt from needing to obtain a Russian visa.
Source: Visa policy of Russia – Wikipedia. Updated info about visa exemptions on the official website of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs through this link (Russian).
Also, note that tourists from all over the world on board large cruise ships have the right to stay in the Russian Federation without a visa for up to 72 hours provided living on board of a ferry or within a territory defined by the group tour program. They have the right to leave the ship and come back on board of the ship only as part of an organized tourist group and within the defined program.
- All the information about Russian visa exemptions in this article: Is it possible to travel to Russia without a visa?
1.2. What types of Russian visas are there?
Depending on the purpose of the entry, the Russian Federation issues 7 types of visas:
- TOURIST. This is the most common visa and as the name indicates, it is issued for stays that are for tourism purposes. They are issued for a maximum of 30 days. You will need a letter of invitation from a Russian Licensed Tour Operator. It can be obtained in 5 minutes (below I explain how).
- PRIVATE VISA. These are issued to guests of Russian Nationals who reside within the territory of the Russian Federation. If you are staying in a private apartment with a Russian friend or family member, you can process a private visa, although the process is slower and more complicated:
- If your stay is for a maximum of 30 days, it is easier to process a tourist visa. Simply include random hotels in the invitation letter and once obtained the visa you can stay where you want.
- If your stay is more than 30 days (and 90 days maximum), then you must ask your Russian friend or relative to get you a private invitation letter to process a private visa. It may take 2-3 weeks. It must be requested through the Ministry of the Interior of the Russian Federation.
- BUSINESS. This type is for trips to Russia that are professional in nature and have a commercial purpose or are used to do business. The period of validity of the business visa can be 30, 90, 180 or 365 days (even more in certain cases).
- It is a kind of visa that is also usually requested by people who do not have business in Russia but want to visit the country for a period of more than 30 days (maximum allowed by the tourist visa). It must be kept in mind that in essence the business visa is not addressed to these travelers, but the Russian authorities have always been permissive with this practice (maybe one day it will change).
- STUDENT. This is issued to those who are studying in the Russian Federation.
- WORK. Visa that permits a person to work in Russia.
- HUMANITARIAN. Issued for stays with for the purpose of cultural exchange, sporting events, scientific/technological, socio-political, religious or humanitarian missions.
- TRANSIT. Used to pass through the Russian Federation in order to reach another country.
- This visa is not necessary for foreigners who have a layover in an airport given that they don’t leave the international area or for those who fly over the territory without a layover. More info about transit visa in this article.
Latest Russian visa statistics:
- 53,2% of visas issued in 2016 were for tourism, 26.1% for business, 7.2% for humanitarian reasons, 5.6% for private visas, 4.2% for work and 1.4% for studies.
- Germany, China, France, Finland, Italy, the United States and Great Britain accounted for 53% of visas issued by Russia.
- Behind these countries stand out by number of visas issued: Estonia, Latvia, Spain, Japan, Lithuania, Poland, Switzerland, India, Netherlands, Turkey, Austria, Czech Republic, Turkmenistan, Georgia, Belgium, Vietnam, Sweden and Iran.
Source: Visa statistics 2016 – Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia
In general, all types of visa are processed in a similar way. The only difference worth mentioning is the obtaining of the so-called letter of invitation that, in the case of a tourist visa, is issued by a Russian tour operator or, in the case of a business visa, must be issued by a Russian company that has invited you to visit and in the case of a student visa, must be issued by the Russian educational institution where the person will be attending.
1.3. Where is the visa processed?
Until not long ago, you could have your visa processed at the Consular section of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Australia in Canberra or at the Consulate General of the Russian Federation in Sydney.
However, since March 20, 2019, to meet the increasing demand of Russian Visas, the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Australia outsourced its Visa Application Processing to a private company (Interlink Service Ltd). Thus, at present this company manage and process Russian visas through the Russian Visa Application Center in Sydney (opened on March 20, 2019) and Canberra (opened on April 8, 2019).
- Russian Visa Center Website: https://interlinkservice.world/australia/
The Russian Visa Center Application acts as an intermediary between the applicant and the consular section by receiving documents, verifying they are correct and complete, and sending them to the consular section to have them processed. However, the final decision to approve or deny a visa application still comes from the Consulate.
All other websites that offer Russian visa are NOT AUTHORIZED AGENCIES but simply private companies that act as intermediaries and make the final cost of the visa a lot more.
- Business Hours: Monday – Friday. Application Submission 9am – 3pm. Passport Collection 9am – 4pm. Saturday, Sunday, Australian Public Holidays – closed
Russian Visa Center Sydney
Interlink Service Australia Pty Ltd
Shop 2/209 Harris St,
Pyrmont NSW 2009, Australia
- Telephone: +61 426 577 736 (available during business hours)
- E-mail: [email protected]
Russian Visa Center in Australia offer additional services for an extra cost: photo services, postal services, filling in of an application form, etc. Everything is set up so that you don’t have to come back on another day (and of course do business since they are additional payment services).
In exchange for better service, the price of the visa is greater and a cost of $43 AUD per visa is added (service fee or administrative cost).
1.4. How much does it cost to get a visa?
The cost for processing a visa is divided into three quantities:
- The actual visa consular fee: AUD$120 for a tourist single entry visa (processed within 4-10 business days) or AUD$240 for an expedited Visa (processed in 1-3 business days). Double-entry (or multiple-entry) visas are more expensive.
- The service fee charged by the visa center: AUD$43
- You must also add the cost of the letter of invitation or visa support (also called tourist confirmation letter). The cheapest are around AUD$25 (later I’ll explain how to get one for this price in a PDF format in a few minutes).
In total, the cost of processing the visa is:
- AUD$120 for the consular fee
- AUD$43 for the service fee
- AUD$25 for the letter of invitation or visa support
- Total: AUD$188
1.5. When should I start applying to get a visa?
Applying for a visa and gathering the necessary documentation can take some time, so I recommend beginning the process about 3 or 4 weeks ahead of time. Although, if you already have a passport and electronic copies of your documents, as I explain in this article, it is possible to get through the process in less than 2 weeks.
IMPORTANT: Applicants can apply for a visa up to 6 months before the date of travel to the Russia.
2. STEPS TO APPLY FOR A RUSSIAN VISA
When applying for a visa, you must provide the following information:
- The electronically completed Visa application form (One per person). You must print, sign, and glue a passport-sized photo (the photo must be glued on the form strictly at reserved place).
- Original Passport (must be the original) with no less than 2 empty pages for visas, valid for 6 months from the visa expiry date.
- Copy of the data page of the passport (the page containing personal data and photograph of the holder, passport number, issue and expiry dates);
- A copy of high quality or original tourist confirmation letter (“Podtverzdeniye”) or letters (if your stay in Russia is arranged by 2 travel companies/hotels) issued by an authorized hosting Russian travel agency or Hotel, authorized to invite foreign citizens in the Russian Federation and registered in the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
- A double-entry tourist visa is issued to a foreign citizen only if according to the documents during the stay in the Russian Federation he/she plans to visit a third country and to return through the territory of the Russian Federation. In addition, a detailed travel itinerary should be included in the package tour description (or in the confirmation of acceptance of a foreign citizen issued by a host Russian organization).
- If you are not an Australian citizen you must check the additional requirements for your country in this link.
Next I’ll explain the step-by-step process of obtaining your visa. Remember that the visa application form must be filled out with information from your tourist confirmation letter and must clearly state the dates of your visit and which cities you will be staying in. Because of this, it’s better to gather your documents and complete the form once you have all of the information you need for the visa application.
Step 1. Have a valid passport
To apply for a visa, you must have a valid international passport (or another ID recognized as such in the Russian Federation) that is valid for at least six months after visa’s expiration date stated in the invitation. You should also have at least two consecutive blank pages available.
Remember that you must have an original passport as the visa is an adhesive document that you have to stick inside the pages of your passport.
You must also submit a copy of the data page of the passport (the page containing personal data and photograph of the holder, passport number, issue and expiry dates).
Your passport must not present any type of deterioration such as being torn on the cover, be stained or having broken pages. In these cases it is better to renew the passport before applying for the visa, since in the consulate they are usually very strict and they won’t approve the visa if the passport is damaged.
Step 2. Set your itinerary: Cities and Hotels
Your visa must include your entry and exit dates meaning the first and last date that you will be in the country. This means you will need to know the dates of your trip before applying for your visa.
You do not have to buy tickets in order to get a visa but you should take the following into account:
- If you apply for a visa before buying your tickets, it’s possible that you won’t be able to find flights for the exact dates for which you applied or they may be more expensive. Remember that the earlier you book your flights the cheaper they will be.
- It is possible that you will purchase tickets in advance (if you’ve found a great deal or good price) and then not receive your visa (although I don’t know anyone who has been denied).
Once you know your entry and exit dates, you should outline your itinerary and plan out the cities you want to visit and the hotels or apartments where you’ll be staying:
- On the visa application form, you have to include the cities you are going to visit as well as whether you will be making multiple entries. The most common type is a single-entry visa but you may also want to visit Finland and then return to St. Petersburg or visit a country that borders Russia like China and Mongolia by taking the Trans-Siberian railway. You may also want to visit Latvia, Estonia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan or Georgia. If so, you need to be very clear about where you will be going and what dates you will be entering or exiting the country.
- IMPORTANT: Double-entry tourist visas are granted only if the following conditions are met: 1. In between of entries into Russia a foreigner is visiting only a neighboring country (including the EU Shengen countries); 2. The purpose of travel to this country is tourism.
- There is nothing wrong with requesting for a visa that includes days prior to those when you will actually be visiting. Just make sure that your exit and entry dates are included within the date range that is listed on your visa.
- To get a letter of invitation or visa support (later I’ll explain in greater detail what this is), you will need to know which hotels or apartments you will be staying in. However, once you arrive, it doesn’t matter if you end up staying in a different hotel or Airbnb apartment (say you find one that’s cheaper or better quality) as long as you are still staying in the city that you are visiting.
To book accommodation I always use Ostrovok, a Russian booking platform in which you can find wide variety of accommodation and very good deals. Other good option is Booking.com
Many people ask me about hotels to stay in Russia. Well, I made a short list of hotels I recommend as value for money is very good:
- Ibis Moscow Centre Bakhrushina (3 stars)
- Novotel Moscow Centre (4 stars)
- Novotel Moscow City (4 stars)
- Radisson Royal Hotel (5 stars)
- Ibis St Petersburg Centre (3 stars)
- Novotel St Petersburg Centre (4 stars)
- Park Inn by Radisson Nevsky (4 stars)
- Radisson Royal Hotel (5 stars)
Note. If you’re going to stay in Airbnb apartments and you sign up on this platform through my personal link, you will automatically have a coupon of $55 AUD for booking accommodation.
More info about accommodations in Rusia in these articles:
- Accommodations in Russia: How to choose and where to make a reservation cheaply
- Organizing a Trans-Siberian Train Trip
A typical example itinerary for a trip to Russia:
- Trip Dates: July 21-30, 2019 (10 days)
- Stay in Saint Petersburg from July 21-24 in Novotel St. Petersburg center Hotel.
- Travel on the Red Arrow night train from Saint Petersburg to Moscow during the night of July 24 (I recommend that you get tickets for the train electronically through the RZD Russian trains website instead of using a third party).
- Stay in Moscow from July 25-30 in Cosmos Hotel.
Step 3. Get a letter of invitation or visa support
The letter of invitation (also known as the visa support letter or tourist confirmation letter) is the most important document but also the most controversial. The letter of invitation should not be confused for a hotel reservation. They are not the same. It is not necessary to have a hotel reservation in order to get a visa.
This document is needed to apply for a visa and must be issued by a Russian person, institution, hotel, or business who has invited you to visit them. A Russian family member, university you’ll be attending, a business or a hotel where you will be staying can provide you with the letter.
Visa support is the most common support received when getting a tourist visa. This document is issued by the hotel in which you’ll be staying and is printed on an A4 page. It is divided in two separate but similar parts:
- The Tourist Services Contract (tourist voucher) is the document that states that you have hired a Russian hotel service. This part will show your personal information, the cities you will be visiting, as well as the services you will receive from the hotel and the proof that you have paid for a reservation.
- The Foreign Tourist Reception Confirmation (confirmation letter), as the name indicates, confirms you will use the hotel during your visit. It also includes personal information and the accommodations you’ll be provided with during your stay. The visa support includes 4 things that you will need when filling out your visa application form. Take a look at the example of the real visa support shown below to see the 4 things which are marked in red:
- Name of organization: Visa Centre, LLC
- Address: 10, Bolshaya Konyushennaya st, 4th floor, St. Petersburg
- Reference number: 007612
- Confirmation number: 3856
I included this screenshot of an actual letter of invitation but blurred the personal information so that you can see the important pieces more easily:
How do you get visa support for a tourist trip? There are two options:
- Option 1. Ask for it directly from the HOTEL, they can either fax or email it to you. While the document should be free in theory, the hotels usually charge a fee (between AUD$30 and AUD$60). If you stay in two or more hotels, you will need an invitation letter from each hotel.
Please note: if the hotel makes you a free invitation letter you must stay at the hotel since if you cancel the reservation after obtaining the free invitation, the hotel can invalidate it or charge you a supplement in your credit card.
- Option 2. Getting a letter of invitation on your own through an authorized RUSSIAN TOUR OPERATOR. If you simply want to do things more quickly without having to call or email each individual hotel, there are different travel agencies that can quickly provide the visa support online in 5 minutes for about AUD$25. With this option you can include the hotels or apartments in which you are going to stay, but with the advantage that later you can change the hotels after obtaining your visa (you may find a cheaper hotel, or Airbnb apartment or one that you simply like better than the original hotel or apartment). You can get an invitation in 5 minutes in PDF format and you should print it in color. The three best options that I used to get an invitation letter are:
- iVisa (20,50 USD)
- Russia Support (19.90 USD)
- HotelsPro (1.200 rubles)
If you have booked your accommodation through Airbnb (or platforms such as Wimdu, Tripping, CouchSurfing, Interhome, HomeAway, VRBO, HomeStay, etc.), you can get an invitation through iVisa, Russia Support or HotelsPro. In these cases, in the invitation request forms (Hotel section) specify “apartment + address”.
Let’s see how to obtain an invitation letter with these Russian tour operators:
iVisa is one of the best systems currently available to obtain an invitation letter to travel to Russia. The system of issuing visa support is fully automated. You receive the invitation letter immediately after paying (in PDF format ready to print). You can pay by credit card or Paypal. Currently, the price is about 20,50 USD each visa support.
The automated process of purchasing visa support can be done through this link:
The form is simple to fill. Here is an example:
3. Payment: PayPal or credit card
4. Download Invitation
After payment you can download the invitation letter in PDF format. You will also receive the invitation in your email. An example of a visa support:
The information you need to fill out the visa application form:
- Name of organization: Visa Centre, LLC
- Address: 10, Bolshaya Konyushennaya st, 4th floor, St. Petersburg
- Reference number: 007612
- Confirmation number: in the above example is 3856 but note that it is different for each visa support.
Another excellent system is that used by Russia Support, an agency specializing in the issuance of invitation letters. The form is very easy to fill out and allows you to get the invitation letter, ready to print and to present along with the rest of the documentation. The price is cheaper, it costs 19,90 USD. They usually send the letter of invitation quickly (in minutes), although sometimes it may take a few hours.
The process of purchasing visa support can be done through this link:
The form is simple to fill:
The information you need to fill out the visa application form:
- Name of organization: VOYAGE EXPO, Ltd
- Address: Russia, 109382 Moscow, 129 Lublinskaya st
- Reference number: 017740
- Confirmation number: in the above example is 166407 but note that it is different for each visa support.
They are a registered tour operating business. A letter of invitation costs 1.200 rubles. Once you have paid they will send you the letter by email in a few minutes. The price is the same for both single and double entry visas and can be much more expensive through other providers.
To get the letter, head to the reservation form: http://russiau.com/hotelspro-visa-support/
You’ll see a form that you can fill out in English. It’s divided into one part where you fill out the type of visa (single or multiple), the dates of your visit and your itinerary. If you plan to visit more than one city, just click “Add city”. In the example below, I’ve put the random hotels that I included on the last visas I applied for but you can select whichever ones you’d like (either where you have reservations or different ones).
The second part of the form includes personal information of the travelers. To add additional travelers, just click “Add traveler”. Make sure that you correctly enter your email and then mark that you accept the conditions and click “Get invitation”.
Note: It should also include the address of the hotel, in the section of the city. For example:
- City: MOSCOW, Novoslobodskaya Street 23.
- Hotel: NOVOTEL CENTER
Next, you will have to make the payment with a debit or credit card:
Below you can see the screenshot of the email they’ll send you once your letter of invitation is available to be downloaded and printed in PDF format. I’ve marked in red the information from the letter of invitation that you will need to include in your visa application form:
Step 4. Fill out the Visa Application Form
Once you have all of the information you need as far as dates, entries/exits, a current passport, and your letter of invitation, you are ready to fill out the visa application form.
The form can be filled out electronically by visiting:
The application should include your personal information, the purpose of your visit (tourism, business, study, etc.), your itinerary and dates, your insurance policy information and other information that I’ll show you here.
When you go to fill out the form for the first time, you should select your country (Australia) and the language you would like to continue in. Also mark in the box that you have read the introductory information. Next, click Complete new application form.
Important things to keep in mind:
- It must be filled out online and printed out double-sided from PDF format.
- One application per person (adults and children).
- No blank spaces must be left. If a question does not apply, type “N/A”. If the answer is none, write “None”.
- Ensure that the dates of your entry and exit, as entered in the application form, match with or fall within the period specified in the invitation or visa support.
- The form should bear the original signature of applicant. Application form of children under 18 must be signed by one of the parents.
- Question no.25: 30 entries is sufficient.
Let’s see how the form is filled out:
You can leave your form incomplete and come back another day but make sure to write down the code you are given in reference to your account since you will need it, along with your last name and answer to your security question, in order to log back in to your account. If you forget your code, you will have to fill out a new application. Example of password: ma12345678
The first information they will ask on the application under the “Visa details” section are:
- If you had USSR or Russian nationality at some time
- Purpose of visit and visa category and type
- Number of entries (single or multiple)
- Date of entry into Russia / Date of exit
Once you have filled out this information, click the Next button:
On the next page, you should input your personal information in capital letters as it appears on your passport:
- First name
- If you have ever had other names: maiden names, pseudonym, holy order, etc.
- Date of birth
- Place of birth
- You must specify whether you were born in Russia
- Marital status
On the next page, finish entering the information from your passport:
- Type of passport
- Passport number
- Date of issue
- Date of expiry
- The name of the authority your passport was issued by (Australian Passport Office – Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade)
In the section that says Visit details, you should include the following information from your visa support that I mentioned earlier:
- Travel company (in the case of tourist visa)
- Name of organization
- Reference number
- Confirmation number
Note: If you have more than one visa support, you only need to fill out the information for the visa support from the first city that you will be visiting.
You should also include information from your itinerary (cities you’ll visit) as well as the name of your insurance company and policy number if you have travelers insurance. It’s always recommended that you have traveler’s insurance (for example, Cherehapa insurance). Be aware that it will not let you include commas or periods in the boxes.
Next, you need to indicate who is paying for the trip to Russian as well as the hotels you will be staying in including the name and address (these should coincide with those listed in your visa support).
To continue, you will need to answer a series of questions, the answer to most o which will be “no” except for the question that asks if you have personally completed the application to which you should answer “yes”.
On the next page, mark whether you have attended any educational institutions, excluding secondary school. Also mark if you have ever changed your place of employment before entering the current job.
On the next page, mark whether or not you have received a Russian visa in the past, if you lost your passport, or if it has been stolen as well as the other countries that you have visited in the last 10 years which will probably take some difficult remembering (I can hardly ever remember them all).
To continue, you will need to enter family information (name of your father and mother, your contact information, and the company where you work or school where you study. The required fields are marked with a red asterisk. If applicable, you should indicate whether your parents are from Russia.
Lastly, select the place where you will be processing your visa application: Russian Visa Center in Sydney or Canberra.
Once you have finished entering all of the information, a summary will appear in case you would like to change something. If all of the information looks correct, click the Save button.
On the next page, you’ll see that you can download the completed form as a PDF. Simply click on the A4 Print button.
Example of PDF form:
Step 5. Print the form, sign it, and glue the required photo
After filling the Electronic Visa Application form online, you must print a copy of the application form, sign and date it, glue the required size photo to it.
Photo requeriments. One photograph of 3.5 by 4.5 cm, in color taken against a light background (white or off – white). The photo needs to display a full frontal view of the face. The facial image must be sharp and clear. Sunglasses or tinted glasses are not permitted. Head coverings and hats are only acceptable due to religious beliefs, and in this case there shall be a similar photo with a head covering in the applicant’s passport. The photo should be glued (not stapled or attached using adhesive tape) to the specially marked place of the application form.
Step 6. Take all of your documents to the Visa Center of Russia in Australia
Now you have all the required documents: passport (and copy), invitation and completed form signed and with a photo.
It has not been difficult to get these documents, right?
The final step is to take everything to the Russian Visa Center that is nearest your place or residence: Sydney or Canberra.
You can make an appointment to submit your documents at the Visa Center of Russia in Sydeney or Canberra. If you were late or were unable to book an appointment in advance, your documents will be accepted on a first come, first served basis.
You can submit and collect your documents
- In person. When you come to submit your documents in person you will make a payment at visa center. All fees should be paid at the time of submission by debit or credit card only. Cash is not accepted.
- Through a representative by a proxy (power of attorney); or,
- Via Postal Service (additional service at the Russian Visa Center). Following these steps:
- Pack all the documents in a mailing envelope or package. Documents for a family or group of applicants traveling together should be sent in one package.
- Send a full set of documents to the Russian visa center in Sydney (or Canberra) by mail:Interlink Service Australia Pty Ltd
PO Box 482,
Pyrmont NSW 2009
- Once all correct documents received, the Visa Center will invoice you immediately. If the documents need additional information, be corrected or explained, they will send you appropriate request by email. As soon as they receive all necessary information, they will send you an invoice.
- You’ll have to pay the invoice within 3 days and email to the Visa Center the confirmation to [email protected]
- After payment, your documents will be sent to your postal address.
- The cost for mailed visa application is $105, which includes service fee, notification and return Express delivery
Visa fees. To know the current price of the visa you can enter the official website of the Visa Center of Russia in Australia: Fees and processing time schedules (tourist visa).
- In January 2020:
When filling out electronic visa application on website visa.kdmid.ru form you must choose place of submission – Visa application center Interlink Service (Canberra). For all POSTAL applications please choose the place of submission – Visa application center Interlink Service (Sydney).
Step 7. Collect and check your passport
You can collect your passport at the Visa Center. You will need to present the original receipt given to you during the submission which will be collected from you as a proof of delivery of your passport.
Also you can order a postal or courier delivery of your passport.
Finally, you must verify dates and check whether names are spelt correctly on issued visas immediately after collecting/receiving your passport (More info in this PDF document: How to Read Visa).
Step 8. Travel insurance (optional)
Australian citizens are not required to present traveler’s medical insurance in order to receive a visa though it is recommend that you have medical insurance that will cover anything that may happen during your trip (medical expenses, cancellation costs, etc.)
A very good option is the Russian company Cherehapa (Liberty insurances). You can buy and download the Policy directly online. To get a quote it’s very simple, just access the product page, select dates a number of travellers – automatically the system will provide the total price for the Medical Insurance Policy.
Example of travel insurance:
If you want to apply for a Russian visa in Australia on your own you can do it through the Visa Center of Russia in Australia with offices in Sydney and Canberra. The visa will cost you AUD$163 (single-entry).
If you already have a passport (remember that you have to take or mail the original passport and a copy), the rest of the necessary documents for the visa application can be quickly and easily gathered in less than hour through the Internet:
- The letter of invitation for AUD$25 from iVisa, Russia Support, or HotelsPro.
- Complete the visa application form for free through the website https://visa.kdmid.ru/PetitionChoice.aspx, which you can print, sign, and glue a photo to.
Once you have all the documents, take them personally or by post to the Russian Visa Center in Sydney or Canberra and in less than 10 business days your visa for your trip to Russia should be ready (1-3 days for expedited applications)
3. ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR COVID-19 AND WAR IN UKRAINE
Once you have obtained the visa and before boarding the plane, you must take into account the additional requirements for Covid-19 that must be met:
Every passenger must show a printed medical document (in English or Russian), confirming a negative PCR test for COVID-19 no older than 48 hours, at the check-in and then at the border of the Russian Federation. Since 4 September 2021 the 14-days isolation for those arriving to Russia is no longer required. As of October 21, 2022, a negative Covid-19 PCR certificate is no longer required for foreigners to enter Russia. As a consequence, you can enter Russia with your passport and valid visa.
- However, you still need to fill out a form that you can download on the website of the Federal Service for the Supervision of Consumer Protection and Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor): https://www.rospotrebnadzor.ru/files/news/авиаАнкета%20RUS.docx
- Despite the war in Ukraine, consulates issue visas to travel to Russia.
4. SUBSEQUENT FORMAL PROCEEDINGS AFTER OBTAINING THE VISA
Once you already have a visa you should bear in mind that there are two additional steps that must be done once you get to Russia: the immigration card and visa registration. The first thing is usually completed by the customs officer and the second the hotel where you will stay.
It is important to always carry both the passport and the immigration card while traveling, and the accreditation of the registry in case it may be required from you on the street by the police (it is rare for them to do so, though).
3.1. Immigration card
Once you enter the territory of the Russian Federation, you must fill out the immigration card, though in practice, at large airports, it is usually the immigration service which takes care of it (either digitally or manually). It is done during passport control.
The immigration card is a paper which consists of two equal parts that are the size of a passport page. One of the parts is kept by the border police and the second will be delivered to you. It is important that you keep this card as they will ask it to you when you leave the country. In addition, you will also need the immigration card to register the visa, as I explain in the next section.
In the following screenshot you can see how the immigration card looks, which usually comes in Russian and English:
More info about inmigration card in this article: Russian airports: Immigration card and customs formalities.
If you have applied for a tourist visa, you have the obligation to register within the first 7 working days of arrival (excluding weekends and holidays). Before March 2011, the registration must be done within 72 hours, but the new Russian law modified this term. If you are going to stay in Russia less than 7 working days, then you do not need to register.
The purpose of this registry (which comes from the communist era) is to notify immigration authorities of the place where you will stay while you are in Russia. The registration must be done in each of the cities that you are going to visit.
You will need to fill out another registration form. It’s not your obligation to register, but rather the hotel where you are staying or the host of the apartment where you are staying.
If you are staying in a hotel, when you arrive, the hotel itself will register your visa. They will ask you the passport with the visa and immigration card (the one you get at the border when you arrive to the country).
If you will not stay in a hotel, but in a private house, then the Russian host is the one required to register his/her guest at a police station or at the post office. You don’t need to be present in the registry but you must provide your host a copy of the first page of the passport, the visa and the immigration card. You may be charged a small fee for this procedure.
The accreditation registration is not required to leave the country, though the immigration card is required.
In the following screenshot you can see how this form looks. The tourist stays with the bottom part (from the dotted line):
More info about registration in this article: Registration in Russia: What it is and how it is done.
I hope this article has helped you apply for your visa to Russia from Australia!
If you’ve found it useful, please share. Thank you!
PD: If you also want to obtain the visa to China, you can read this detailed guide.
Hi Irena. Thanks for the great article. It will help make the application a lot easier than I had thought. My problem is that I will be in Europe for a few months before going to Russia. Can I still complete the application online and then get it processed in a visa centre in Europe or London? I will not have time before I leave Australia to do it here. Thanks very much
Irena. I am trying to get some clarification regarding the Invitation
Letter for a Private Visa. I have
been trying to contact Visa Centre in Canberra but getting no response.
I have been to Russia 3 times previously with my girlfriend, who is
Russian citizen. Each time was with a Tourist Visa, as we were there
less than 30 days. Next year we are planning to
go for at least 6 weeks, so I will require a Private Visa. We are
planning to visit 4 main cities & travelling by train between
cities, to see friends & family, staying with friends in 2 cities,
& hotels in the other 2. How do I go about obtaining the Invitation
Letter? Do I require one for each city, or am I able to obtain only one
that would cover my entire visit? Please can you assist. Regards. Rex
Hi Irena. I am trying to get some clarification regarding the Invitation Letter for a Private Visa. I have been trying to contact Visa Centre in Canberra but getting no response. I have been to Russia 3 times previously with my girlfriend, who is Russian citizen. Each time was with a Tourist Visa, as we were there less than 30 days. Next year we are planning to go for at least 6 weeks, so I will require a Private Visa. We are planning to visit 4 main cities & travelling by train between cities, to see friends & family, staying with friends in 2 cities, & hotels in the other 2. How do I go about obtaining the Invitation Letter? Do I require one for each city, or am I able to obtain only one that would cover my entire visit? Please can you assist. Regards. Rex & Lilia
Thanks for the full information on the tourist visa application process.
I have completed applications for my wife (NZ citizen living in Australia) and I (Australian citizen) to visit St Petersburg in September 2019.
The completed applications were sent, by registered mail, to the application centre in Sydney,and the Australia Post tracking system shows they were delivered on May 22, 2 weeks ago today.
The website says that as soon as they receive completed applications they send an email invoice for the relevant fees. I have heard nothing. No invoice or request for further information.
I have tried emailing the centre on
but my emails bounce back as “access denied”. I have tried calling both the mobile number quoted 0426 577 736 and landline 02 7966 7997 but both either ring out or go to voicemail, and I have not received any response to voice messages left.
So I have 2 questions –
Should I be worried about the lack of response? and
Is there any other way to contact the Sydney application centre to see if there are issues with the application?
Hi Robert, Did you get any reply from them yet? I’m a bit worried too as I haven’t been able to get onto the visa centre, and I leave for my trip in a month.
Robert I have a similar issue and have also emailed [email protected] which was suggested through another forum like this one.
My application was submitted at the end of April and I am yet to receive an invoice or any contact from them since I sent two emails and have called twice. My next approach would be to either travel interstate for a face-to-face visit, even if it’s to acquire my passport back so I can travel.
Sorry to that hear Dom, seems you’ve been waiting longer than I have. I’ve been told by someone in the travel agency industry that the alternative to the interstate travel for passport retrieval is to get on to the Australian Passport Office, explain you’ve tried everything and apply for a new passport. That would cost about the same as the interstate trip and would at least generate a passport rather than a confrontation with a locked door, but I haven’t checked the advice with the authorities. Let me know how you go if you try the visit to the processing centre. Good luck, Robert
Spoke to the Passport Office today and it seems you can get a concurrent passport if yours is stuck somewhere like an embassy. I then dialed the Russian processing centre number yet again, and to my delight it was answered by a helpful Stephanie Bruck, who said they were processing applications for August visas. I explained we were leaving Australia in late July, although not visiting Russia until September. Within minutes I had my invoice so my application is now on the move. So keep trying 02 7966 7997 and hopefully you’ll get through as well
I sent a letter to the Sydney Interlink office on Tuesday and received a phone call, email and invoice the next day. I was however warned that me sending a letter was not appreciated, but it did provide the result I needed. Now I am just waiting for the actual passport.
Thanks for that very complete explanation of how to obtain a Russian Visa.
I have completed Tourist Visa applications for myself – Australian citizen – and my wife – NZ citizen, and sent them by Registered Mail to the visa application centre in Pyrmont NSW (we live in Melbourne). The Australia Post system show the documents were delivered to the centre at 10:30 am on Wednesday May 22.
I expected to receive an email request for the processing fees shortly thereafter, but I have heard nothing.
I have tried emailing the application centre ([email protected]) but my emails bounce back as access denied. I have tried calling both the mobile number quoted 0416 577 736 and the landline on the centre webpage 02 7966 7997, but both either ring out or go to voicemail, and voice messages have not generated any response.
So I have 2 questions – Should I be worried that after nearly 2 weeks I have heard nothing? and Do you know of any other way to contact the centre to see if there is a problem with the applications?
Thanks, Robert Horden
Many thanks for your prompt reply and advice on the questions that I had raised earlier. Sorry, I have a little confusion though on one issue as detailed below.
Will there be any problem, if I put the visa entry/exit period as 6 days or more (as you advised in your reply to my Question No. 3 to be on the safe side for any unforeseen delays for exit from Russia) in the Visa Application Form and the Letter of Invitation (to be received through “iVisa”) , although the confirmed Tour Itinerary will specify only 4 days of stay in Russia? I understand the Tour Itinerary will also have to be submitted as one of the supporting documents for the Russian Tourist Visa. Regards.
It’s an excellent Article regarding obtaining a Tourist Visa for the Russian Federation. All aspects of the involved Procedures have been covered very extensively, rarely seen on the internet.
But obviously, depending on individual situation , requirements sometimes may vary. I have a few questions, as detailed below, which you may please help me with .
Please be informed that I am an Australian National and I am planning to visit Russia on a Tourist Visa sometime in September 2019, along with my wife who is a Malaysian National.
I have planned to undertake the above visit to Russia as part of a “Group-Tour” (as a “Tour Package” for 12 days in total to Russia and the nearby Scandinavian countries) being organised by a Malaysian Tour Company at Kuala Lumpur. The Russian part of the Tour would last for 4 days at the beginning of the Tour Schedule. The Tour will start from Kuala Lumpur and finish at Kuala Lumpur at the end of the Tour . All my “Tour-mates” who are Malaysian Nationals, except me, will take their Russian Tourist visas at Kuala Lumpur through the involved Malaysian Travel Company. I would, however, like to apply for a Tourist Visa (single entry) for myself of my own at the Russian Visa Centre in Sydney, Australia , as an Australian, to undertake the above visit to Russia,while the Tour Package starts from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
In view of the above circumstances, I have the following questions:
1. Can I apply for the Russian Tourist Visa of my own at the Russian Visa Centre in Sydney, Australia and obtain the “Letter of Invitation” online from the “iVisa” or “Russia Support” , as you advised in your Article, at my own cost instead of going through the Malaysian Tour Company who is organising the Russian-leg of the Tour (in association with a Russian Travel Agency )? This way, I feel it will be much easier and quicker for me to get the Russian Visa, if I apply in Sydney with supporting documents. Please advise.
2. Can I buy a Travel Insurance (which will usually cover medical emergencies and other events) from a Russian Insurance Company, “Liberty” online (as you suggested ) only for the Russian-leg of the Tour of 4 days’ duration, while I plan to purchase separate Travel Insurance for my tours to the Scandinavian countries from a non-Russian company? I believe Travel Insurance is optional for Australians for visa purposes but i would surely like to have the Travel Insurances for peace of mind. Please advise.
3. Since the Russian Tourist Visa label on the Passport will specify the exact entry and exit dates into/from Russia which should be the same dates as provided/confirmed by the “Tour Package”, what will happen, if the departure /exit date from Russia gets delayed by a day or two due to unavoidable circumstances? If I want a bigger range (duration of the visa) by adjusting entry/exit dates in the Visa Application Form and the Visa Support (iVisa) Application, these dates will then be contradictory to the confirmed dates of the “Tour Package” as well as the validity period dates of the Russian Travel Insurance. It appears that the problem will arise in case the exit date from Russia is delayed due to unforeseen reasons beyond my control. Hope not! How to overcome this problem? Please advise.
I would appreciate if you would please advise me on the above issues as soon as possible. Many thanks.
1. Yes, you can apply in Australia. If you have residence in Kuala Lumpur, maybe you can also apply there with your Australian passport.
2. Cherehapa offers insurance with coverage in Russia, so if you also travel to other countries then I think it is better to take out an Australian insurance that covers you in all countries.
3. You can apply for the visa for a period longer than expected (for example, 6 days or more), but keep in mind that you must request the invitation for the same period you want to apply for the visa.
HI Irene I am having issues with getting in contact with the Visa Centre ( interlinkservice) in Sydney I was wondering if anyone else was having problems. I posted my tourist visa application registered post on the 30th April and haven’t heard anything to date. They have my passport so I very anxious as they say the turn around is 5 -10 business days. I have rung and left messages and sent emails but have had no confirmation or any replies to my request. I am not sure where to go from here. Can anyone you me?
Hi Deb, I’m just wondering if you have received any news of your visa since your post? I too am feeling anxious as it has taken much longer than what the guidelines say on the website.
Hi Kerrena they rang me last week to say my application is being processed. That was a month after i sent it off. 10 days have now passed and i still havent heard anything further so still waiting. At least i feel less anxious knowing they have received it and are now processing it. I think it just takes a lot of time which thankfully i have. Hang in there they will eventually contact you.
That’s great news, hopefully the wait isn’t too much longer for you!
Thank you for all your assistance with my Russian Visa. I clicked save and submit and printed it out but realise I left out some countries that I have visited. How do I edit this now or do I have to start all over again?
In that case, you must fill in a new form and print it again
Hi, im intending to apply for a visa in the next few days. With the money section, do i send the amount in the postal bag with the passport to the consulate? maybe in an envelope enclosed? or do you pay a different way? many thanks.
Hi Irena we are planning to travel to Vladivostok – shipping our car there in order to drive to Europe. If we use our double entry visa to visit Mongolia or another country on the border and come back into Russia does this time have to be included in our 30 days? Or does it restart when we re-enter Russia? Thank you
Irene, my wife and I are visiting St Petersburg with a cruise. Do we need a visa to do a hop on hop off around St Petersburg
Hello Brank, it’s explained here: https://russiau.com/visit-s…
Hi Irena (and fellow travelers), does anyone know whether I need hotel booking confirmations for the visa process, or just the detailed itinerary? Thanks!
No, you just need an invitation (as explained in the article)
Hi Irena, this article on getting a russian visa is excellent – thank you !
One of the most clearly written articles of its type that I have ever seen on the internet.
I am applying for a Russian visa now for me and my family and know exactly the process and what I need to do, thanks, Jeremy
Jeremy, may I please ask if your family has received their visas yet and if so, how long was the process from applying to receiving them?
This has been such a helpful article to prepare my trip to Russia. Thankyou so much!
Quick question: when putting together the itinerary to submit for the invitation (I’m going to use iVisa) and visa, does it matter if my itinerary changes later? Eg. I end up spending 4 days in Moscow instead of 3 days. My entry and exit dates/cities I enter and exit through will remain the same, and I understand through this site we can change our hotels later, but I’m wondering if it will matter if I spend slightly longer or shorter in one city? Thanks in advance 🙂
No problem, you can modify your itinerary, but you have to enter and leave Russia within the period established in your visa
That’s fantastic, thanks for your help Irena! And thanks for such a useful website!
Thank you very much!!!!
Thank you Irena, I followed the instructions on your website and got my visa in 2 weeks.
You are very helpful.
Thank you very much 🙂
Hi Irena. We are travelling as a group of 3. The Letter of Invitation will be organised by our tour company but we need to organise our own visa. Do you think we can send all passports and application in one bag platinum mail or should we use individual bags. Many thanks
thank you Irene for this great site, and thank you to ehkiwi also for assistance, I received my Passport/Visa back this morning, it took 13 days (including the postage time) so I am really pleased. I followed Irene’s advice (except cost $120, site updated now and Place of issue only put Australia). have great trips everyone
Hi Irene I realized once i printed the document that i had written that the place of issue for my current passport was ” Australian government” instead ofAustralian Passport Office Department of foreign Affairs and Trade.
How do i go about changing it on the original document…i cannot retrieve it. et
Hi Et. I just got my visa back today, I only put “Australia”,,, so I would not be too concerned about having to change the document, this was not a problem at all
Is there a simple way to check on the status of the application? I am really tight on my timelines and am moving from my current address and am concerned it will not get processed in time before I move out of my place.
Also, I am concerned that there will be additional documentation requested from me as I did not provide the following.
Insurance Policy DetailsS
Some form of Bank Statement
Credit Card Statement that shows available credit
Itinerary details aside from what was in the invitation letter
Proof of sufficient funds
How will the consulate get in touch with me to request additional documentation, phone or email, or post?
I appreciate any and all help you send through…thank you so much!!
Are there companies that can assist with a Visa application when the application is greater than 90 days from arrival date in Russia? Companies in Melbourne please.
Hi Irena. Will be posting tourist single entry application shortly but noticed on the Sydney Consulate info page that the single entry fee is $120? Unusual for fees to decrease. Am reluctant to proceed without clarification. Emailed Sydney Consulate and got a prompt reply which dealt with another query I had no worries but did not state the visa fee but included link to the web info page which shows $120. Can you clarify please. I’m thinking the web page hasn’t been updated to $135?
Hi Dennis,,, I did email Sydney with the cost being one of the questions, and got a reply:
The consul in Brisbane receives and checks visa applications but they are processed afterwards in the Sydney office. You may either apply there or post it to Sydney. In both cases credit card payment is not available.
The consular charge is $120
David Mamyan vice-consul Consulate General of Russia in Sydney
I also emailed Brisbane about applying there and will cost $80 per application and return postage. So just posted to Sydney.
Hope this helps. cheers roxane
Hi Roxanne. Thanks for that. I did see on another Russia tourist site that also does visa apps that it was $120. Will be posting to Sydney from Adelaide next week. This will be my second visa, no probs at all first time around. Cheers and thanks for passing on the info.
Hi Irena, Firstly congratulations on producing such a great guide for obtaining a Russian visa in Australia. It helped me immensely. We collected our visas today from the Consulate in Sydney. However there is no entry under the field “Invitation Number” (number 11 on your “How to Read your Russian visa” diagram. Can you advise whether this will be a problem when we enter Russia at Moscow Airport? Any guidance would be appreciated.
Hi Irena. i have just looked at the visa application form and it says I have to detail every overseas trip I have taken in the last ten years. As I travel extensively (overseas 5 – 10 times a year) it will take me forever to find the details. Do I have to provide all trips for the 10 years or is there an easier way.
Very helpful information.
My wife and I are doing a Viking cruise that will stay overnight in St Petersburg but not visiting any other ports. We may do a private tour not arranged by the ship. is this considered a single or double entry if we go ashore on the first day, return to the ship overnight, and go ashore the second day?
Robin,,, I am not the expert on this, and may be reading it wrong, but I believe the “single entry section” refers to entering and leaving Russia, not within Russia i.e. if you decided to take a trip to Helsinki (as it is close) that is leaving Russia. To come back to St Petersburg after that would mean a double entry visa required. Irena Domingo has covered this in “Step 2. Set your itinerary: Cities and Hotels” above. hope this helps,,,, roxane
Thanks for the awesome information. I am planning on doing the train from Vladivostok to Moscow in October and then onto England and then back again in December. Will I need to get two seperate visas before leaving australia or should I apply for the second whilst I am in England for the two months.
hi, can I clarify some things,,, firstly unless I am looking on the wrong consular website I cannot see anywhere that asks for “some form of Bank Statement, or Credit Card Statement that shows available credit to prove you have sufficient funds”.(I have already paid for the trip with APT) and other comments about an interview required, I live in Brisbane and sending my forms by post to Sydney, mm, how does that work? Thanks,,,, I am sure I will have more lol
Hi, We’re going to St. Petersburg in a few months and have booked an Airbnb. Will that be acceptable for applying for a letter of support and then applying for a visa or do we need to name a hotel, even though we won’t be staying at one? Thanks!
Yes, read this article: https://russiau.com/visa-su…
Hi, my mother and I are intending to travel to Russia (St Petersburg & Moscow) in August 2019. With the visa application process I have to send it via post so would I be able to send both our passports together in the same shipping bag or would it all have to be done seperatley?
We are currently in Russia at the moment having traveled from NZ. We are a family of 4 and sent all passports and documentation in one Courier Bag. We also had to include a paid return Courier Bag with our application. Ironically the most stressful thing about travelling to Russia IS the Visa application process!! Once there everything is a breeze and the Russian people are extremely friendly, as long as you’re patient, polite and accept very few people on the street speak english, no matter what you’ve read.
With your Visa application you need to be meticulous, check every date on each Letter of Invitation 3 times and make sure every day of your stay in Russia is covered by either a single Invitation, or separate ones from each Accommodation. Also, to avoid stress, get you application in ASAP as you can only apply 90 days from your entry to Russia. Also, don’t be fooled by 10 working days, the 10 days starts from when they clear their Postal Box. Our Visa’s took 21 days to get back we couriered our Applications on overnight courier Thursday to arrive Friday, but the Consulate didn’t clear their PO Box till the following Wednesday, when the 10 working days started.
Make sure you read the On-Line Application on the Consulate Website verbatim, and included Insurance Policy Details, some form of Bank Statement, or Credit Card Statement that shows available credit as you need to prove you have Insurance and sufficient funds, your itinerary, and all you Support Documents. This all needs to be provided in full for each traveler.
Once sent off, 15-20 days later you should get your Passport back with Visa. Then kick back and relax as it is a breeze from there.
hello ehkiwi, great post with clear instructions… my husband and I are travelling with APT river cruise, from Moscow to St Petersburg, then on to Helsinki. I have been watching all the posts on here, but the questions I have haven’t been answered, I have started the online application, but need to write out any problems then come on here and post them, I do hope that you will check back again in the very near future. any help is great
Hi Roxane, the key thing is the Letter of Invitation. You should be able to get one through APT River Cruises, or whoever is the Russian Agent that organises the cruise. There are many that simply use a Russian based Authorised Travel Agent to provide the requisite Letter of Invitation that covers the duration of your stay in Russia. Make sure that the period covered is the full duration in Russia. Being rather skeptical of ‘3rd’ parties, I opted for the arduous task of obtaining independent letters of invitation from each accommodation, 2 Hotels, but the last an Apartment in St Petersburg where they did it for us but was a little dodgy, but still was OK.
So me, I’d contact APT River Cruises and ask for them to provide the Letter of Invitation, or recommend an Agent. The rest is just arduous process. The main thing being the on-line registration through the Consulate and then filling out the form. Don’t make a single mistake on the forms as that will delay the process 4-5 days. Include everything asked, Itinerary, Insurance Details, proof of Funds, and most importantly, that letter if Invitation. I found it a stressful process, especially when there was no feedback from emailed requests on an update after 15 days. I called the Embassy directly to followup and finally got assurances our application was fine and that we would receive our passports in 7 days.
So get your Visa request in on the 90 Day mark and limit the stress.
Thank you for providing this detail. I am now shitting myself because I did not provide any documentation showing:
Insurance Policy Details
Some form of Bank Statement
Credit Card Statement that shows available credit
Do you know if the Consulate will be trying to get in contact with me to request the additional paperwork, or do I have to inquire to see how the application process is going?
Also, I am moving from my current address and am wondering if all goes well with application, but there is a delay, how am I going to be able to locate the envelope with my passport?
Anyway, if you could shed any light on my situation that would be amazing!
We didn’t supply copes of insurance documents, just the policy number in the Insurance question on the form.
You should have provided an Itinerary as they check that against your Letters of Invitation. Can’t remember whether it was a requirement or not for bank statements, but we included those as when we were getting ready to send our info through I was speaking to friend whose husband was getting ready to go to Russia also, but had his application held up on a request for a financial position, so I was covering all bases. There seams no rhyme or reason for acceptance and time to return. We initial got an email from the consulate stating we were missing days on our invitations as one was filled in incorrectly by a Hotel, but I got back to the Hotel, had an updated Invitation & Voucher overnight which I emailed scanned copied to the Consulate which they accepted.
After about 18 days and nothing, also after several emails with no response, I called the Consulate directly to check if all was OK, and they confirmed it was, and Visas and passports would be returned in 5 days, and were.
So if nervous, which is fair enough call the Consulate to check if there are issues, emailing is a waste of time. They are pretty good at accepting electronic copies or scanned copies, so you should be OK for supplying any additional documentation they need via Email.
You also should have included a paid self addressed return courier envelope when you sent your application down for the Consulate to return your passport. Being Passport, I used pre-paid Courier Bags with Tracking to see delivery dates and dispatch dates.
Thank you so much Eugene! I have tried to call and they said send an email and hung up. I will try to send an email and see how that goes. Do you have any recommendations on how to go about managing the phone call? There is an option on speaking to a diplomat from the hours of 3-5pm on Wednesday, should I give that a try?
Again, any help is appreciated!
Yeah, they’re not know for their customer service. From memory there was a separate phone number for Visa Applications, or effectively the person who processes them and they were only available certain times of the day and certain days of the week, so you had to call then or you got someone, as you did, who couldn’t care less and hangs up. The NZ Consulate was something like 10am to 2pm, and I asked for the Visa Applications Officer.
If they asked for you to email, I’d do that, (flagging as important) detailing all you have stated. But I would front foot it and include electronic copies of your Bank Statement/Credit Card Statement, Itinerary and Insurance Policy, and anything else you think is missing. I hope you included a prepaid return method of returning your passports as that could be an issue.
But at least if you provide all the missing information you can then call for confirmation they received it, whether it’s acceptable, and if there is anything else missing.
Another question for you, and again that you so much for being this helpful already.
I tried contacting Embassy in Canberra and they said they do not have my application, which is correct, because I sent it to the Consulate in Sydney, which is what this blog was advising to do and I’ve done, and I’ve also sent viewed the Consulate website and they also advise to send it to Sydney. In any event, Consulate in Sydney is where I need to turn my attention to as they are the ones that have my application.
Do you have a contact number there or advice in dealing with them. I tried the calling them as per my message earlier on this board and had no luck.
Anyway, again, any help will be appreciated.
Hello Irena, I’m going to apply for a letter of invitation with ivisa, but I have a question….. I’m flying to Russia in March, for an 18 day holiday and have booked a hotel for 2 days in Krasnodar. After that point I have no set plans. I might travel to Sochi or maybe a train to Moscow. What should I put in my travel itinerary if I don’t know where I’ll be from one day to the next?
for invitation letter, dos it need two invitation letter for both city?
or just one invitation letter is enough?
i am gonna spend 1 week Moscow and 1 week St petersburg
Hi Irena, Thank you for your helpful website! We are about to send off our visa applications to Sydney for our trip after Christmas (my passport was just renewed so we will be doing an urgent application!). I have been on the consulate website in Sydney and found two separate pages that say the fees are $270 AUD (urgent) and one that says $165 AUD (urgent) for New Zealand citizens, we are both travelling on New Zealand passports but have resided in Australia for over 9 years. Also I read on their website that you need proof of residency, do New Zealanders need to provide this? and would you know what we should provide? What would you recommend we send with our application as New Zealand citizens?
I have contacted the Consulate and am waiting for a reply but I am just a little worried about time running out.
Thanks for your help in advance,
Hi Irena, Thank you for your great website! We are travelling to Moscow and Saint Petersburg just after Christmas and I am just about to send off our visa application (urgent ones as I had to renew my passport late!). I am a New Zealand citizen but have resided in Australia for over 9 years, do New Zealanders need proof of residency as the consulate website implies for a visa application, if so what proof do we supply as we have no actual visa? Also I found two prices on the consulate website the one on the fees page for $270 urgent AUD and then one on another page of the consulate website that said $165 urgent AUD for New Zealander’s, which one is correct? I have emailed the consulate but am a little worried time is running out!
Thanks in advance,
Hi Irena. Travelling by train from Beijing to Moscow in June 2019 and will not be breaking the journey then staying in Moscow and onto St Petersburg. Do I need to include the time on the train in Russia in the itinerary on the visa invitation or just the hotels in Moscow and St/Pburg?
Hi Dennos, just the hotels, but keep in mind that the invitation letter should cover your entire stay in Russia
Thanks for that Irena.
We are currently in Russia at the moment and like you took the 24 train from Moscow to Sochi. We included the Train trip in Itinerary for clarification as obviously our first stay in Moscow ended on the 8th January and the our next started from the 9th being the check date for Rosa Khutor. We may have been OK as technically there is no gap 8th-9th although the night of the 8th we were on the Train. We only included our Train Journey because of the 24 hours, but did not need an invitation for Train section.
I have obtained a HotelsPro Invitation letter. I just noticed that the address for HotelPro is located in Moscow, however I am only visiting Saint Petersburg. Will this be an issue?
Also, should I officially refer to the company as ‘HOTELSPRO’, ‘HOTELS PRO’ or “HOTELS PRO LLC’ on my visa application, I notice this web page has used all three in various images?
I am staying in a private room at a hostel, Soul Kitchen Hostel: will having booked a hostel over a hotel affect my chances for applying for a visa?
Thank you for all your advice and help!
The address of the inviting agency is not relevant, it does not matter if it is in Moscow or in St. Petersburg. Once obtained the visa you can move freely through Russia. The name of the company is Hotels Pro LLC.
Thank you so much Irena! This is a big help!
I am currently in the US, however am an Australian passport. I am wanting to visit Russia before i go home. Do i need to send me passport to Australia to get the Visa or can I send it to a Russian Embassy in the US?
Hi Irena, firstly, thank you so much for all this information – it has greatly helped us to fill in the details. I am just wondering – we received our Russian Visa’s back (in the post) and noticed it is missing #11, Invitation number. Will this cause us a problem when trying to enter Russia?
Im planning to apply the Russian visa, but just wonder I can apply submit all applications for all my family. If I can’t, do we need to go together to submit our applications because we have one invitation letter which has all our names there.
Also, regarding about the travel history in last 10 years, what’s happened if I forgot some traveling date.
Thank you for the detailed information. If I am travelling on the overnight train, do I need a supporting letter for that night of accomodation one the train?
Do you think it matters if you send your visa application to the Russian Consulate in the ACT? Which I have done. I have not heard from them at all and I sent it in about three weeks. No activity on the return tracking post item. I’m hopping no news is good news
Hi Irena, the Russian Consulate website (Sydney) says that an Original (!) letter of invitation must be provided (as of 23/08/2018).
Will internet print outs do? I’m talking about Option 2. Getting a letter of invitation on your own.
As explained in the article, just print the invitation letter (the original document is not necessary)
Hello Irena. We will be passing though St Petersburg for 3 days at the end of a 4 month circuit of Europe. Therefore it will not be possible for us to apply for our visas less than 3 months before we arrive, because we will have already left Australia. Can you please advise me on what we should do. Many thanks.
Hi Irena. Thanks for the highly informative guide. Me and my partner are looking at visiting Russia. We are thinking of sending both visa applications in one envelope, but we have different addresses. Do you think it is advisable to submit two applications together and only include one return express post envelope addressing to one of our addresses? How about including a bank cheque totalling the cost of two normal application? Will this will cause confusion? eg. Consulate staff thinking one return envelope is missing, mistaken that the bank cheque is for an expedite application with the other applicant payment missing etc. Maybe I can just leave a note explaining that? Is it worth doing that or just do them separately?
I am applying in NZ this time – I followed your wonderful step by step instructions last time from Australia and had no problems – what do I need to know for the NZ application?
Thank you, Ingrid
I am australian. Currently in Ukraine and wish to embark on this journey next month. is this possible?
Thanks so much Irena. I’m headed to Moscow and St Petersburg in September 2018. Your advice really helped with filling out the online Visa forms.
I used Radisson hotels for my bookings so they gave me invitation letters included in the hotel price, and the embassy in Canberra were happy to have a copy of the train ticket between the cities to cover that night since the hotels had consecutive days on the invitation letters. I triple checked everything but I’m pretty proud of myself for being able to do it with just your instructions without having to pay a Visa service for help. I expressed posted on the 3rd of the month and received my Visa back on the 20th, 13 business days including postage both ways. I am convinced that your instructions helped me get it right and get it all done so quickly! Mini heart attack when the Invitation Number was blank, until I realised I’m a tourist and it was meant to be!!
Hi Kelli did you still have to post your passport with your visa application?
I posted an express post A4 sized envelope to the Embassy in Canberra.
In it I had
* an Australia Post Money order for $135
* a smaller sized express post envelope addressed to myself (I took photos so I would know the tracking number)
* My passport which I put in a cheap RFID blocking sleeve to keep it a little safer from bending.
* The application form double side printed with my photo and signature, my photo was identical to my passport one which was brand new.
* My confirmation letters colour printed, and because I was catching an overnight train a copy of that ticket.
* To prove I intended to leave the country I included copies of my flights to and from Europe and a typed letter that says “I have attached my letters of invitation for the hotels I will be staying at. In addition to this I will spend one night on the Grand Express train from Moscow to St Petersburg. I was advised in an email of June 5th 2018 that it would be acceptable to include a copy of this train ticket to account for the night of the (date). This has been included. I would like to travel by train from St Petersburg to Riga on (date) and then details I got about that train like it’s time and train number. However due to also needing to apply for other VISAs in countries I will visit after Russia I cannot wait until the opening of sales of these tickets to submit this paperwork.
I have attached a copy of my flight from (city) to (Australian city) at the end of my European trip as proof of my intention to continue travelling onwards from St Petersburg.”
Thank you so much Kelli that is very helpful information.
I am an Australian resident who travels on a New Zealand passport. The application form is very easy to understand, in fact once I type in New Zealand nationality, the length of the form reduces to one & half pages instead of 3 for Australian nationality. Thank you Irena for your excellent guidance
Hello Irena…my husband and I have applied for a Russian Visa each but we now realise that we only sent one invitation letter that had both names on it. Do it think it will be accepted? Thanks Karen
James O’ Neil
I have followed your instructions in applying for a visa for myself New Zealand citizen and my wife, Australian citizen. However when applying for mine the system did not allow me to answer the same questions as was done for my wife’s. The screens asking questions on marital status and parents names etc. did not appear and do not appear when printing the application. We have not posted the applications as yet but I am concerned mine will be rejected as incomplete. Any advice? Should I start mine gain to see if I can fix this? Or is it different for different nationalities?
James O’ Neil
I have just completed my application using your very good guide for my wife and myself. However when I did my on line application it was not as extensive as my wife’s, no questions about parents names or tertiary education. My wife is Australian and I am New Zealander. Is this the reason for the difference? Just concerned now that my application will be considered incomplete.