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Business/Commercial visa

  1. Invitation letter for business/commercial visa
  2. Obtaining Russian business/commercial visa
  3. Crossing the Russian border
  4. What to be done on arrival to Russia ("migration register" procedure)

1. Invitation letter for business/commercial visa

In order to obtain business/commercial visa an applicant should get invitation letter first. Invitation letters can be of two types: original invitation letter issued by the Federal Migration Service and invitation letter issued made by the Russian legal entity’s representatives on the letterhead of the company.

Invitation letter for business/commercial visa can be issued for the period from 1 to 12 months and can be of single, double and multiple entry type. 

Multiple entry invitation letters can only be issued for the period of 6 or 12 month and give a foreign citizen the right to stay in Russia not more than 90 days within each 180 days.

Invitation letter on the letterhead of the inviting company is usually enough for EU citizens to get visa at the Russian Consulate abroad. It is processed by the authorized persons in Russian representation within 1 working day and sent to an applicant by fax. 

In order to get a business invitation an applicant should send to his contact person scanned copy of the passport (pages which contain personal information and photo).

If close relatives (only spouses and children) are traveling with an applicant they can apply for a family member invitation letter and a corresponding visa for the same period as the applicant’s one. 

Please, note that according to the Russian legislation the applicant’s passport should be valid within 6 months after an invitation letter expires.

*NB: The invitation letter does not give an applicant the right to enter Russia. It is only a document necessary to get a Russian visa at a Russian Consulate. An applicant should get the visa and can cross the Russian border only on the basis of a visa granted by Russian Consulate authorities.

2. Obtaining Russian business/commercial visa

Before applying for a business/commercial visa please contact the nearest Russian Consulate (their list and locations are available here) to check the following information:

  • The way of documents submission
  • Operating days and hours of the Consulate
  • Documents necessary to apply for the visa 
  • Visa processing period
  • Consular fees and the ways of payment 

The standard procedure of obtaining Russian business/commercial visa is as follows:

The documents for visa can be submitted to the Consulate in person or through a travel agency or by a courier mail service.

To be granted with business/commercial visa the following documents should be submitted to the Consulate:

  • Copy or original invitation letter
  • Duly completed visa application form (Form #95) available at the Consulate or at a specialized travel agency (should be free of charge)
  • Passport with at least 2 blank pages (some Consulates demand 3 blank pages). The applicant’s passport should be valid within 6 months after visa’s expiration.
  • One recent passport size photo (black and white or in colour).

Some Consulates may demand an introductory letter from an applicant’s employer giving full details of the traveler, destinations, period and purpose of visit, indicating a person or organization financially responsible for the applicant’s stay in Russia.

*NB: In some cases Russian Consulates may demand additional documents, for example:

Citizens of the EU and Israel should enclose their medical insurance certificate valid in Russia for the whole period of the trip. 

US passport holders are required to fill up an additional application form.

Citizens of France should also enclose copies of their bank statement for the last three months, travel insurance valid in Russia and a copy of their return tickets. 

  • Any Consulate has the right to invite an applicant for an interview or refuse to grant visa without declaring reasons.

There are variations of the Consular fees and ways of payment depending on the Consulate location, type of visa, applicant’s citizenship and the time for visa processing. 

Once the visa is received it is necessary to check immediately whether all the information is correct. Omissions in the applicant’s visa cannot be corrected after applicant’s arrival to Russia and may cause serious difficulties when crossing the border. 

3. Crossing the Russian border

Before ordering tickets to Russia, please check the starting date of your visa. It is not possible to pass the passport control before this date. Every foreign traveler entering Russia should complete a Russian Migration card which is usually available on all planes flying to Russia or at the Russian boarder authorities. Complete both parts in English or in Russian and present it to passport control officials together with the passport.

The Migration card consists of two equal parts: one should be left at the boarder control when entering Russia. The second part you should keep while staying in Russia. After passing the passport control please make sure that the officer left you one part of the migration card and put correct current stamps on both of the visa and migration card. Your part of the migration card must be returned to the passport control official when leaving Russia.

4. What to be done on arrival to Russia ("migration register" procedure)

Those who come to Russia with business/commercial visas for more than 7 working days should be put on “migration register” by a hotel or a host company.

If a foreign citizen stays at a hotel, the hotel should take care of the “migration register” procedure and provide the traveler with appropriate documents and instructions.

If a foreign citizen stays at rental or somebody’s appartment the host company should put him on “migration register” in the following way:

Within 5 working days upon arrival to Russia a foreign citizen presents to his contact person in a host company the copies of the following documents: 

  • informative pages of the passport; 
  • visa; 
  • migration card. 

A host company will complete appropriate documents and process them through the Federal Migration Service or a post office. Federal Migration Service Department puts a stamp into the "notification of arrival" and returns the appropriate part of it to a host company.

A host company transfers then the tear-off part of the "notification of arrival" or a copy of it to a foreign citizen who keeps it up to the last day of his stay in Russia. 

A foreign citizen is automatically considered to be put from migration register while crossing the Russian border.

A foreign citizen should go through "migration register" procedure every time he arrives/departs from Russia. If a foreign citizen moves inside Russia for the period of more than 7 working days he/she has to go through "migration register" procedure too.

Those who fail to follow the procedures can be fined up to 5000 RUR for the violation of the Russian migration law. This may cause also difficulties in obtaining Russian visa next time a traveler is going to visit Russia. The host company’s authorized person will also be fined  for up to 50000 RUR moreover the host company can be fined up to 800000 RUR for the violation of the Russian immigration law by a foreign citizen.