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.
Table of contents:
- Comparison of guest and tourist visa
- Visa validity period and the cost of issuing an invitation
- Differences of obtaining an invitation to Russia
- Differences of submission of visa documents to a Russian Consulate
- Registration of a foreign citizen or migration registration
- Summary: is it worth using a private visa?
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.
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.
|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!
|Guest invitation||Tourist invitation|
Befor forward a guest invitation for you, an inviting party must do the following:
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:
In some cases tourist invitation allows you to obtain 6-month and 3-year visa.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
If you have any questions ask them in the comments to this article. I will try to answer them all.