All visitors to the Russian Federation are required to have a valid visa, which must be issued in advance. The only exception is for citizens of other nations in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
Types of visas
There are two primary types of visas for the Russian Federation: business visa and tourist visa.
It is strongly recommended that all business visitors to Russia obtain a business visa. This gives you greater flexibility than a tourist visa and ensures you comply with Russian immigration law. Breaches of immigration law are a serious matter and the Australian Government can only provide limited consular assistance in such circumstances.
Several options for business visas are available and costs vary according to the type of visa:
- single entry
- double entry
- multiple entry
The Russian visa processing takes considerable time. Austrade recommends applying for a multiple-entry visa if you are likely to return to Russia within the next 12 months. It is also worthwhile applying for a longer visa then needed, as extending a visa in Russia can be difficult.
When to apply
As a minimum Austrade recommends applying for your visa at least one month in advance of your departure date. It is generally quite difficult and expensive to complete the process in less than two weeks.
Where to apply
Under Russian migration law, a person can only apply for a visa in a country where they have right of residence for more than 90 days. If you intend to apply outside of Australia (or you are not a citizen/permanent resident of the country where you are applying), please contact the Russian mission where you intend to apply in advance to confirm eligibility.
How to apply
To obtain a Russian visa, you first need a letter of invitation from an authorised agency in Russia. This letter can be arranged through a registered service provider in Russia and the process is usually straightforward.
To apply for a letter of invitation, the service provider usually needs the following documents:
- completed application form for each person
- legible copy of passport details page (ideally scanned and emailed or faxed)
- in case of credit card payment, completed authorisation form signed by cardholder.
Please note that Austrade is not authorised to issue letters of invitation.
Once you have your letter of invitation, you need to download and complete the electronic visa application form available from the website of the Russian Embassy in Canberra or the Russian Consulate in Sydney.
Once you receive your visa, check that all details are correct, as it is easier to correct any discrepancies in Australia than after you arrive in Russia.
For further information please contact your nearest Russian Embassy or Consulate prior to arrival.