A quick guide to understanding the Russian business visa
The Russian business visa has become a popular choice in recent years, and it's not difficult to see why. While the tourist visa allows travelers to stay within Russia for a maximum of 30 days, the business visa doubles that, allowing you to stay in the country for up to 90 days.
This visa may have the word “business” in the title, but tourists seem to be taking advantage of the flexibility that this visa has to offer, making it the ideal option for anyone eager to discover every corner of Russia or looking to spend more quality time with friends and family.
Unfortunately, while there are plenty of advantages to getting a business visa to the Russian Federation, you won't simply be able to walk into a Russian consulate and ask for this visa. Thankfully, we've got you covered.
Below we discuss what you'll need to consider before applying for a Russian business visa and what you may need to ensure that your application is successful.
Reasons for obtaining a business visa - Russia
Because this is a business visa, your reason for a stay should be business-related (more on how tourists can take advantage of this a little later). This is not a work visa/work permit, so you can't earn a salary while staying in Russia.
The primary purpose behind the business visa is to ensure that individuals have the opportunity to conduct negotiations and develop any business activities that they may have within Russia. If you're someone who conducts business regularly and you're looking into getting this visa, here's a complete list of what this visa allows:
– business contacts with foreign partners, or conducting negotiations with them;extension or conclusion of business agreements;
– marketing research;
– involvement in auctions, exhibitions, and other similar events;
– installation, maintenance, or repair of imported equipment in Russia.
Unlike with the tourist visa, you'll be able to enjoy the views of Russia a little longer. You can stay for a maximum of 90-days with a business visa, which can be a single, double, or multiple entry business visa into Russia.
Who is this business visa for?
The business visa is perfect for foreign nationals who are looking to do business in Russia. While this may be the primary function of this particular visa, it is usually requested by travelers or tourists who have no business in Russia (other than travel).
It's the ideal choice for anyone who's looking to stay a little longer than the designated 30-days offered with the tourist visa.
There are lots of possible reasons why travelers are eager to stay longer (gorgeous views, incredible culture, love), but here are just a few examples of travelers that this visa may extend to:
– Foreigners who need a multi-entry visa as they travel in and outside the borders of Russia.
– The tourist visa only allows a maximum of two entries, so this is perfect if you'll be re-entering Russia on multiple occasions.
– Travelers who are visiting family or friends and are interested in staying longer than 30 days.
– Or simply tourists who are looking to travel to Russia and explore this beautiful yet enormous territory.
As you can see, the business visa to Russia is a popular alternative to the Tourist visa. It's especially convenient for those looking to return to Russia regularly since this type of visa allows for multiple entries.
How long a business visa is valid for can differ, but it can usually be 30, 90, 180, or 365 days (and up to five years in some cases). The number of entries you get will also depend on the length of your business visa (the validity period), but this can usually be one-entry, double-entry, or multiple entries.
This means that even if you have a business visa that's valid for one year, you can't stay in Russia for more than 90-days within the period of 180 days.
It doesn’t matter if you stayed in the country 90 days in a row or were leaving and coming back multiple times - always check that for every 180 days you didn’t spend in Russia more than 90 days (or that you spent at least 90 days outside of Russia).Despite this limit, it is still a good option if you plan on visiting Russia regularly.
How to apply for a business visa?
If you're ready to apply for this visa, then it's time to get all of your documents ready. Before you visit the Russian embassy or consulate you'll need to make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months after the Russian visa expiry date. Along with this, you'll need to gather and submit the following documents:
– Passport: Make sure that you submit the original as they do not accept a copy.
– Official business invitation letter: You will need to obtain an official business invitation confirming your reason for traveling to Russia (more on this later).
– Visa application form: An electronic visa form is filled out, printed, and signed. You will also need to paste a passport-size image of yourself.
– Medical assistance insurance (only for citizens of European countries). It must cover the validity period of the visa, that is, either one month, three months, six months, or one year, irrespective of whether the official period of stay in Russia is less.
Visiting your nearest Russian consulate or embassy is the easiest way to submit these documents. You won't be able to obtain this visa while in Russia, so make sure you apply before traveling.
A huge advantage when submitting documents at your local consulate is the consular fees. The visa process can sometimes be an expensive one, so you'll be saving a bit of money by submitting documents yourself. On the other hand, you can only do this face-to-face and with a scheduled appointment, which could cost you more time.
How much does a business visa cost?
The price of a business visa varies and will depend on your nationality. Unfortunately, if compared to the tourist visa, you will be paying more. Here are a few factors that may influence the total cost of getting a business visa:
– Consular fees: nationality, duration of visa, processing time, and the number of entries contribute to the total price. Generally, for foreign nationals in Europe or the United States, these fees will be a bit higher. A great way to check how much you can expect to pay is by visiting the official website of the Russian consulate or embassy located in your country.
– Business invitation letter: These fees may depend on the length of stay and the inviting organization. However, you can expect to pay between $39 - $195 (again, this depends on the length of stay and type of visa - single entry or multiple entry).
Business visa processing times
There are no standard processing times, so when you receive your visa will depend on the consulate's workload, the type of business visa (single, double, or multiple entry), and your nationality.
For example, EU citizens can expect to wait ten business days. For passport holders of other countries and US citizens, processing times should take a maximum of 20 business days. Thankfully, processing times for a business visa should not take any longer than 20 business days (but this can be less).
It's always a great idea to start this process as soon as you can to make sure that you avoid any unnecessary hiccups and stress. It's recommended that you begin the process 45 days in advance, or 90 days if you're looking to start the process as soon as possible.
Where to get a business invitation letter to Russia?
There's no getting around this, as you won't be able to receive your business visa without an official business invitation letter. However, there are two options available to you:
– A Russian company invites you: If the purpose of your stay in Russia is business, you will need to get in contact with the company you are conducting your business activities or negotiations with (host organization). They will then need to process a letter of invitation with the Federal Migration Service (FMS). The company should know what to do and handle everything, so don't stress too much about this step. Before, you could receive this letter in paper or electronic format, but now all invitations are coming in electronic form.
– Purchasing an invitation issued by a reliable company: Good news for tourists or travelers! There are a number of reputable companies that you can purchase an invitation from. This is usually the quickest (receive it in 5 minutes) and the cheapest way to get business visa support documents.
Hopefully, this article has helped to answer any questions you may have about getting your Russian business visa.
If you're looking for help with getting a business visa invitation letter, we'd be happy to help - please fill out the form below or check the contact information and we'll be in touch within 24 hours!