Visa to Russia
If you need to get a visa to Russia for leisure or business, read this little guide first to avoid some common mistakes.
Citizens of most European countries, the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand need a visa to go to Russia.
According to my personal experience, it is usually better to get a visa to Russia with the help of a travel agency (rather than on your own) because it is time-efficient, such visas do not cost too much, and all your documents and formalities (like Russian registration) will be taken care of in a proper way. However, if you still decide to get a visa to Russia on your own, you need to know what type of visa to choose, what documents to take care of and how to do it right. Here are some important things you have to know:
You must have a passport to travel to Russia.
You can enter Russia if your passport will be valid for 6 or more months.
Every foreigner has to fill out a migration card upon arriving to Russia.
A migration card is as important as your visa or passport. So it should be filled out on board a plane or at the airport and later presented to passport control desk with your passport and visa. Do not lose it or throw it away. You will have to give the migration card to Russian officials when you leave Russia.
Upon arriving to Russia, you should get Russian registration within 3 business days.
The registration is obligatory in Russia, and it provides information about your location. If you don't have proper registration in 3 days after you are in Russian, you may be arrested and may have to pay a fine. Having to acquire Russian registration may cause a lot of trouble sometimes. For example, some travelers that come to Russia with a Tourist visa and travel to visit their relatives or friends already break the law because a Tourist visa assumes that you are staying in a hotel in a particular city, not in some other city with your relatives (a Personal visa would be more appropriate for the situation). If you go to another city to visit someone, you will have to have a local registration which the travel agency may not be able to provide you with. If you try to get such a registration, you may have to pay a fine because your visa type does not conform to the purpose of your travel.