How to get Russian visa

If you are a foreigner and decided to visit Russia one of the first questions you will have is HOW TO GET RUSSIAN VISA? We made special post with all information about that process, hope it will help you. Please share this information with your friends if you know it can be helpful to them as well.

To begin with here is General information:

1) There are countries that can enter Russia without visa, for example Brazil, South Korea, South Africa and approx 15-20 more countries. If you are lucky most probably you know that)) 

2) Unfortunately most of the countries in the world, including all European countries, UK, USA, Canada, Australia, India, etc. need visa to enter Russia

Standard tourist visa is 30 days long, can be single or double entry. With USA its an exception, standard tourist visa can be 30 days or 3 years as well. But that is the only such exception that we know. If you need more that 30 days for your trip most common way is to apply for business visa, it can be 90 days, 180 days, 365 days and even 3-5 years. Single, double or multi entrance. 


There are many other types of visa, but that's not applicable to us (to motorcycle travelling we mean). You can apply for a visa 3 months before you plan to visit Russia. So if its 1st of June when you are coming its 1st of March when you can apply. 

The list of necessary documents for Russian visa:

- Invitation (from Russian tour company)
- International passport 
- Visa application form 
- Color photo of 3,5х4,5 cm 
- Medical insurance policy

Most tricky question with documents is how to get invitation letter. Its easy if you buy 7500 Euro tour from a travel agency with flights, hotels, excursions and all included and they take care of that, but for motorcycle riders, especially if you ride alone, that is not possible. In previous years people used online web sites that for 20-50 Euro sell such invitations, but there were no guarantees its not fake. Since several years ago we started doing motorcycle tours in Russia and as we are official Tour Operator we can do such invitation letters.

If you travel to Russia and visit one of our events, for example Horizons Unlimited Russia (, rent a bike with us or take a guided or self-guided tour for sure will make you invitation letter. We need copy of your passport, dates you plan to enter and leave the country, route and number of entries.  

If you travel on your own and don't buy anything with us don't be upset. We are ready to provide all motorcycle riders with such invitation letters for free. At least now, maybe in the future, if hundreds of requests will come everyday and it be necessary to cover administrative costs, we will take 10-20 Euro for this paper work.

All written above is related to standard tourist invitation, we can do this for free. If you need visa for more than 30 days you need business invitation. We can't do this for free, but we have partners that for approx 100 Euro can make you such invitation. Prices depends on duration of visa (90 days or 365 days, single or multi), country and processing time, but in general its around 100 Euro and 14 days process. In some counties you will need to have original copy when you apply for visa so consider also 3-5 days DHL/Ponny Express delivery or 2-4 weeks by regular post.

With other documents there are not many questions as a rule. Application form must be downloaded or filled online at Russian Embassy website or at Russia Visa Center web site. We give you addresses below. With photo it must be clear. With insurance - usual travel insurance with 30000-50000 Euro coverage for the travel in other counties. You can buy it with local insurance company with the duration just for your trip. 


Where to apply, what should I do after I have invitation letter?

You have two options, apply directly to Embassy or use special visa centers in your country. There is no difference where to apply, just choice what is located close to you and be sure Embassy works with applications for tourist visas. Sometimes they don't work, only with business, migration, diplomatic visas, etc, delegating tourist applications for visa centers.  

Regarding visa centers we want to give you just a bit more information so that you understand how it works. They were created approx 7-10 years ago all around the world as the number of people travelling was constantly growing and Embassies were not ready to handle so huge number of applications. So governments of all countries were happy to delegate application process to few commercial companies that offered their services.

These two companies that maintain/manage visa centers all around the world are VHS and VFS. Very close names. Most of the world visa application process is divided between them. 

If you go here, you can look for your countries that are served by VHS


If you go here you can see counties that are served by VFS


Applying for a visa through VHS or VFS is fully legal, they are simply hired by governments in different counties to help people travel. In such countries as Italy, Germany, USA there are 2-3 Embassies and 3-5 visa offices located in different places around the country. Choice which is closest to you and apply there.

Is it necessary to visit visa center or Embassy personally? Yes, but if there is a company of friends it can be just one man with all passports. No need for everybody to go personally. Just give him letter of attorney that he can apply on behalf of you. Or you can use visa agencies, local companies that take your passport and for 70-150 Euro they help you fill application form and bring documents to Embassy. It make sense if visa center or Embassy is located in 250-300 km from your home and such visa agency is next street. You will spend more on fuel to go there and back plus time, than paying local company for helping you. 

Last, but not least. Getting visa takes around 10 days. Sometimes 3-5-7 days, but usually 7-10 days. If you apply through visa center they can send you passport by mail, so add extra 3-5 days by mail delivery.


We hope this information helps. If there are still questions left - feel free to contact us as at

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