Why it is not profitable to use a private visa?

If you want to visit your relatives or friends in Russia or just visit our country for some other reasons, you need to obtain a visa to Russia. It is considered that you need to get a private visa under an invitation from a Russian citizen. This is a misconception, in this article we will review all 3 reasons not to use a private visa.

Information on this website is available in the following languages:
Russian Russian, English English.

Table of contents:


First of all, most people confuse private visa with other visa types, for example, with tourist visa. Private visa is called so not because you are a private person but because an inviting citizen of Russia gets a private invitation for you.

Issuance of a private (guest) visa requires long document collection while business or tourist visa is cheaper and faster to obtain. That’s why many foreigners who want to visit their relatives or friends and also just visit Russia, apply for a tourist visas. It decreases visa processing term and rid your friends or relatives living in Russia of bureaucratic procedures.

Comparison of guest and tourist visa

If you want to visit your friend or relative in Russia, you need to apply for a visa to a Russian Consulate or Embassy, pre-plan dates of entry and departure from the country. Visa type is determined by a visit purpose. Each visa type require its own invitation.

In order you obtain a guest visa, an inviting person who lives in Russia need to spend approximately a month waiting for issue of private invitation or refusal. While tourist invitation is issued in just 5 minutes (online) and after that you can immediately apply for a visa to a Russian Consulate.

Visa validity periods and cost of invitation

  Validity period Invitation cost
Guest visa up to 90 days 13$
Tourist visa up to 30 days 15$
*Business visa up to 5 years from 25$

*Business visa added to this table for understanding the difference between visa types. Read more about business visa. Business visa along with a tourist and guest refers to a most common visa types used to visit Russia.

As you can see, the price of private invitation is lower and allows you to increase a period of stay in the country. Meanwhile business invitation for 3 months costs 40$ and can be obtained in 5 minutes online!

Differences of invitation receiving processes to Russia

Guest invitation Tourist invitation

Befor forward a guest invitation for you, an inviting party must do the following:

  1. Collect a pack of documents, which contains:
    • Copy of your passport;
    • Copy of inviting party passport;
    • Inviting party income statement;
    • Guarantee letter (in which an inviting party must take a responsibility to provide you a residence, financial support and medical care);
    • Request to issue a guest invitation;
    • Receipt of state fee payment.
  2. Submit application and pack of documents to a division of Federal Migration Service at the place of residence.
  3. Wait 20 business days. If an invited person is a citizen of migration risk country, it is necessary to have an interview with FMS officer.
  4. On the specified day, come back to the FMS, wait in line and receive a guest invitation. In some cases, the FMS refuses to issue such an invitation (refusal is justified in writing).
  5. Send the original invitation to you via one of international delivery services.

You may avoid problems of sending the original invitation by applying for electronic invitation from the MIA but in any case you need to wait 20 business days. Read more about private invitation.

In order to obtain a tourist invitation you need to spend no more than 5 minutes online!. To do so you need:

  1. Complete an application online on the website of tour company which provides such service.
  2. Pay 15$ for issuing a tourist invitation.
  3. Get the invitation via your e-mail right after the payment.
  4. Your relative or friend living in Russia can issue such invitation as well as you (doesn’t matter where are you), if there is Internet access.

In some cases tourist invitation allows you to obtain 6-month and 3-year visa.

Read more about tourist invitation

Differences of submission of visa documents to a Russian Consulate

In order to obtain a Russian visa, you need to collect all the necessary documents (the list should be specified in advance in the Consulate or on its website). After you get all required documents (invitation, tickets, insurance etc), you need to complete the application form, pay the consular fee and submit all these documents along with a receipt of consular fee payment. After that, you need to visit Consulate again at a specified time. If all the documents are good and there are no reasons to deny your entry to Russia, you will be granted a visa but in some cases you may be denied.

Step-by-step guide to get a Russian Visa

After you enter Russia, don’t relax. If you are going to stay in Russia more than 7 days, right after crossing the Russian borders you must register at the migration service.

Registration of a foreign citizen or migration registration

Let’s compare migration registration procedures of bearers of guest and tourist visas to Russia.

Guest visa Tourist visa

The obligation to register a foreigner is a responsibility of a homeowner inviting a foreign citizen. In order to do so, homeowner need to visit the FMS division in the business hours, wait in line and submit the following documents:

  • copy of your passport;
  • homeowner’s passport;
  • migration card (completed);
  • written consent of all proprietors of habitation for temporary reregistration of you as a foreigner;
  • copy of the certificate confirming the right of ownership to housing;
  • document proving the state fee payment for the registration;
  • completed application form for registration.

If a homeowner temporary residing you doesn’t register you due to any circumstances, he will be fined for 40-80$.

If you order a tourist invitation from a company, an inviting company takes responsibility to register you. You need to contact a company which provides you an invitation for this. It can help you to register. You will need a copy of your passport and completed migration card to register.

Summary: is it worth to use a private visa?

From the above we can conclude that issuing a tourist invitation is more profitable compared to a private invitation.

  • Speed of the issuance of an invitation
  • Price is pretty similar
  • Help of a travel agency with registration

Private visas has advantages in the possibility of a longer stay at a lower price. I would like to say again that it is a supposed advantage because the main expense of obtaining a visa is consular fee and insurance. There are much more problems issuing documents via state authorities than at travel agencies. It is easier and cheaper to obtain a business visa.

I hope that it was helpful! If you still have any questions, ask them in the “Q&A” section.

Get a tourist invitation!


If you have any questions ask them in the comments to this article. I will try to answer them all.

Ask a question


0 thoughts on “Why it is not profitable to use a private visa?

  • Моим друзьям 45 лет
    Я хочу, чтобы они были со мной год или больше в России, какая виза для них подходит?

  • Ирина says:

    Хочу оформить супругу гражданину Танзании долгосрочную визу РФ на год,
    руководствуясь распоряжением №2741 от 23.10.20.
    Пожалуйста, сообщите пошагово, что для этого необходимо сделать.
    Заранее благодарю.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.