This is a brief guide for those who organize a trip to Russia yourself, if instead you opt for a trip organized by a travel agency, it is very likely that it is the agency itself that takes responsibility for obtaining a visa and you will be asked only for documentation .
The visa is necessary for entry, stay or passage in the territory of the Russian Federation.
If you are Italian, the visa for Russia is mandatory.
Given that there are 7 different types of visas to enter Russia. I will explain how to get the most commonly used one: the tourist visa. It is the most common visa and is issued for a maximum of 30 days.
We dedicate a small parenthesis to the transit visa. For those who take a plane to a destination and have a stopover in Russia, a transit visa
is necessary if you wish to leave the international area.
The visa can be requested from the Consulates of the Russian Embassy in Italy (in Rome, Genoa, Milan and Palermo), or in the Visa Center for Russia, an independent company that collaborates with consulates and in addition the city of Verona.
Option 1: Consulates of the Russian Federation in Italy
The visa obtained through the Consolatati is a bit cheaper than the Visa Center for Russia, in fact a normal request costs 35 euros.
Important: Before presenting to the Consulate, make sure you have all the documents required and filled in the best, otherwise you will have to come back and make a new appointment!
Option 2: The Visa Center for Russia
It is an agency that acts as an intermediary between the applicant and the consular section, receiving the documentation and sending it to the consular section for its management. As you pay a management fee, there are more advantages than the normal visa application through the Consulates. Expectations for appointments are shorter and if you have forgotten to photocopy or complete a sheet, additional services are offered for a fee.
But how much does it cost to get a Russian visa?
The price of the visa application is 35 euros for a normal visa (which is issued in 4-10 days from the date of delivery of the documentation) or 70 euros for an urgent visa (which is issued in 1-3 days). In the Visa Center for Russia, at this cost, 30 euro management costs are added.
In addition to the visa fee, the following documents must be added:
- The invitation letter or visa support (confirmation of tourist reception) is mandatory. In the case of a tourist visa, the hotel provides it and can cost 15-17 euros
- Health insurance, also mandatory. The price can be around 10 euros
Having said that, if you don’t want to pay for an urgent visa, I strongly recommend that you submit the documentation about 6 weeks before departure.
Documentation required for visa application:
- Visa application form filled in electronically (you will need to print it, sign it and attach a photo of the identity card)
- Passport (the original must be presented) with a minimum validity of 6 months from the end date of your trip in Russia and with at least 2 free pages
- Invitation letter
- Health insurance
IMPORTANT: The visa must include the dates of entry and exit from the country, so it is very important to make airline tickets before applying for a visa. In addition, the visa application form must include the cities you will be visiting and the hotels where you will be staying.
How to get the invitation letter?
- Ask it directly to the hotel that can send it to you by fax or email. The cost varies from hotel to hotel which could require 40 euro for you to be able to grant it for free.
- Request it on your behalf through companies: the advantage is that you are not obliged to stay in the hotel that you have included in the letter but can be changed. The cost goes from 16-18 euro. The sites to be used are: iVisa (17.90 euro), Russia Support (16.90 euro) and HotelsPro (1.200 rubles).
Health care insurance
For all foreign nationals of the Schengen area (Italy is included) it is mandatory to present valid travel insurance covering any repatriation costs for health reasons, health care costs for the entire period of stay in Russia. The minimum coverage amount is 30,000 euro.
This insurance can be obtained with an Italian (or Russian) insurance company that has coverage in Russia.
Option 1. Medical insurance can be purchased in the Russian Visa Center in Italy (Milan / Verona / Rome office) with the Russian insurance company Lexgarant. The cost is around € 4 per day. Lexgarant should be noted as an insurer on the visa application form.
Option 2. Insurance companies accredited by the Consulate General of the Russian Federation. In some of these companies it is possible to purchase insurance online. This insurance has a coverage of 50,000 euro for medical treatment and you simply need to print and sign. 7-day travel insurance is free.
Once you have all the information regarding dates, income / expenses, a valid passport, health insurance and invitation letter, you will now need to complete the visa application form. You can fill it directly online.
Once the form has been completed, it must be printed, signed, dated and a passport photo must be attached.
Well my dear travelers! After these procedures to obtain a visa you are ready to leave for Russia!
Now you can think about what to bring in your suitcase and how many mini bottles of vodka and matrioske you want to bring to your friends.
Once in Russia there are 2 additional practices:
the immigration card and visa registration vis-à-vis the authorities responsible for immigration.
The immigration card:
Once in Russian territory you will have to fill in the immigration card, although in practice it is done at the time of passport control directly at the airport. Once completed, 2 copies are issued, one for the border police and one for you that you MUST ABSOLUTELY keep as you will be asked to do so when you leave the country.
For tourist visas there is an obligation to register in front of the authorities responsible for immigration within the first 7 working days from your arrival.
ATTENTION: Registration must be made in each of the cities where you will be staying. However, it is not your obligation but the hotel where you will be staying or who is staying in your apartment.
It was simple, right? Tell us about your visa experience! Did you request it yourself or did you run for cover and use a travel agency?