What is the Russian private (homestay) visa?
Private visa to Russia is a document required to enter Russia to visit your relatives or friends permanently residing in the Russian Federation. Also you may need a private visa, if you want to visit graves of relatives buried in Russia or get an emergency treatment.
In order to obtain a private visa you need a private invitation from a person living in Russia. However in some cases the private visa to Russia can be issued under a decision of a Consul without any invitations.
Brief description of the private visa:
|Validity:||from 1 to 90 days *|
|Average price:||≈111$ (≈98€) *|
|Processing term:||from 1 to 10 calendar days **|
* – For the EU nationals. It is 180$ (≈160€) for the rest (What does it consist of?)
** – For the EU nationals. It is from 1 to 20 business days for others
Don’t you want to delve into details? This simple step-by-step guide will help you:
With the help of this guide you can prepare all the necessary documents in 1 hour and you will only have to wait an issuance of a visa. So, what do you need?
- Bear a valid passport
- Get the Russian Private Visa Invitation
- Get a medical insurance
- Complete a visa application form on visa.kdmid.ru and print it
- Glue a photo 3,5х4,5 cm to your application form
- Pay the consular (visa application) fee
- Submit or send documents to the Russian Consular Office (passport, invitation, insurance, application form, receipt)
- Wait from 1 to 10 calendar days * and obtain your passport with a visa
* — For the EU nationals. It is from 1 to 20 business days for others
Detailed information about the private (homestay) visa to Russia:
- Period of validity
- Average cost
- How to get a visa?
- Visa multiplicity
- How does a visa look like?
- Special topics
Many people confuse a private visa with tourist and do not understand the meaning of the “private”. “Private” in this case don’t refer to a foreign citizen but to an inviting person. In most cases foreing citizens need a tourist visa, not a private. Read this article and you’ll understand the reasons of it.
Russian visa is a permit to enter the country. It is required for the citizens of those states, which don’t have a treaty on visa-free regime with Russia. There are several types of visas: diplomatic, service, transit, common, temporary resident visa. According to the “Visit purposes” list  used while issuing invitations to Russia, common private visa is intended for the following visit purposes:
- private (issued for the foreigners going to Russia on private matter under invitations from private persons, issued by territorial offices of the Ministry of Internal Affairs);
- guest (issued for the foreigners under an invitation from a legal entities);
- separate family (issued to the closest relatives of Russian citizens, if there are appropriate agreements between states);
- visiting the graves (issued to citizens of those countries, which have an agreement with Russia on visiting the burial of relatives;
- frontier exchange (issued to foreigners entering Russia under a frontier exchange to visit a certain region);
- special cases (issued to foreigners entering Russia for emergency treatment or due to a death of a next-of-kin).
Common private visa is issued for a period up to 3 months . Visa can be single and double-entry.
Typical private visa to Russia for a citizen of the European Union costs from ≈68$ to ≈191$ (from ≈60€ to ≈170€). The price for other countries is a little higher. Visa price consists of a paperwork cost, fees and services required to obtain a visa.
Sample calculation of a single-entry private visa to Russia for 14 days (2 weeks) for a citizen of the European Union:
|Invitation to Russia||13$ (≈11€)|
|Insurance for a visa||≈1.5$ per day * 14 days ≈ 21$ (≈19€)|
|Photo 3,5х4,5 cm||≈8$ (≈7€)|
|Consular fee||40$ (≈35€)|
|Post services (optional)||5$ (≈4€)|
|Total:||87$ (≈75€) *|
* — For the European Union nationals. For other countries price may be higher.
Price of the private visa to Russia consist of:
- Invitation to Russia
- Insurance for a visa
- Consular fee (bulk of the cost)
- Post services (optional)
Invitation to Russia costs 13$ (≈11€). Price doesn’t depend on multiplicity or the duration of an invitation. It means that single and double-entry invitation cost the same as well as 1-day and 90-day invitations.
Attention! You need to wait 20 business days!
Insurance for the private visa costs 1.5$ (≈1€) per day. Insurance pricing is complicated and depends on your age. Price range is from 1.5$ to 8$ (from ≈1€ to ≈7€) per day.
So, depending on a duration of stay (from 1 to 90 days), an insurance will cost from 1.5$ to 115$ for an ordinary adult.
Professional photo costs ≈
Consular fee amount for the private visa
(bulk of the cost)
Consular fee has a fixed value and depends on a multiplicity of a visa.
Consular fee amount due to a multiplicity of a visa to Russia:
|EU countries||40$ (35€)||40$ (35€)|
|USA||160$ (140€)||160$ (140€)|
|Other countries||80$ (70€)||128$ (115€)|
Fee doubles in case of expedited processing (except the USA, there is the common tariff):
|EU countries||80$ (70€)||80$ (70€)|
|USA||160$ (140€)||160$ (140€)|
|Other countries||160$ (140€)||256$ (228€)|
Due to a reciprocity consular fee amount may decrease or increase. For example, there is the Treaty on facilitation of visa regime between Russian and the European Union.
Precise amount of a consular fee you can find out on the website of a Consulate or by phone.
Post services (optional)
If you go to a Consulate by yourself, there will be no additional costs. If the Consulate is far away, you don’t have to go there in person. It will be enough to send documents by post. In this case there will be extra costs an amount of 10$ to 20$ (from ≈10€ to ≈20€) (it depends on a country).
In some cases, if you are from a migration risk country, you may be required the original private invitation. In that situation there will be extra expenses of obtaining such an invitation from an inviting party by a delivery service. Courier services may cost from 70$ to 100$ (from ≈62€ to ≈89€) depending on a country.
As you can see, it is not so difficult!
Private visa is issued under a pack of documents, among which must be a document proving your purpose of visit to Russia. It can be a homestay invitation from your close person residing in Russia, confirmation that your relative is on the deathbed and also some other documents.
- Which documents are required?
- Where to get an invitation?
- Where to get an insurance?
- Where submit documents to?
- Visa processing time
In order to obtain a private visa to Russia you need:
- private invitation from a Russian citizen
- international passport
- visa application form with a photo
- medical insurance policy
Passport must have at least 2 empty pages for visas. It must be valid for at least 6 month after date of expiry of a visa to Russia. However there are exceptions: if you obtain a private visa to get an emergency treatment or because of serious illness or death of your next-to-kin, then validity of your passport must expire not before the expiry date of a visa.
Basis of the issuance of a visa to Russia is an invitation to enter the Russian Federation. Homestay invitation can be issued under a request of an interested in your visit to Russia person who is a citizen or permanent resident of the Russian Federation.
In order to obtain a private invitation, an individual wanting to invite you need to apply to a territorial section of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and make a request to issue an invitation submitting a pack of documents (copy of an applicant’s passport, copy of foreigner’s passport, guarantee letter, income certificate) and also pay the state fee. Optionally it is possible to make a request online on Public Services Portal of the Russian Federation, in this case an invitation will be issued electronically, if there is no reasons for a refusal.
It may take about 20 business days to issue such an invitation, that’s why private visas are considered as impractical to use because it is much better to order a tourist invitation. If an inviting party has documents proving that a foreign citizen need to visit Russia immediately, then such an invitation will be issued in 5 business days according to the law. That is a lot in comparison with a period of issuing a contract of providing tourist services, which is 1 hour. That is exactly why you need to think twice when you want to visit Russia due to an urgent matter (such as funeral or a serious health condition of your next-to-kin) under a private visa.
An insurance, which is required to obtain a private visa, can be obtained at an insurance company.
Price of an insurance depends of your age, insurance program, insurance covering amount, fame of an insurance company. Such insurance usually costs up to 1 euro per day.
Important: Minimum insurance amounts of coverage are determined due to a reciprocity. For example, if some state demands Russian citizens to get an insurance with 30 thousands euro coverage, then citizens of that state will be demanded the same amount of coverage in order to visit Russia. Contact a Consulate of your country to know the minimum coverage amount.
In order to obtain a private visa you must apply to the Consulate of the Russian Federation situated in your country of residence. It is impossible to obtain the visa in Russia! At first you need to find out which documents are required to obtain a private visa. Then you should collect a pack of necessary documents and complete a visa application form. Thereafter submit all the documents to a Consular section in person or by post.
Standard visa processing depends on a workload of a certain consular office and cannot exceed 20 business days by the law. However, if there is a visa facilitation agreement, this period can be shorter. For example, it is just 10 calendar days for the EU citizens from a date of admission of the documents with 35 euro consular fee and just 3 days for 70 euro.
Common private visas can be only single and double-entry.
Private visa to Russia look like a coupon 120×80 mm pasted into your passport. It contains the following information:
- multiplicity of a visa (однократная «1» or двукратная «2»);
- ОЧ (which means common private visa);
- date of issue;
- dates of visa validity;
- amount of days, during which visa is valid;
- alphanumeric code indication place of issuance and serial number;
- name and surname in Latin and Cyrillic;
- passport number;
- date of birth;
- code of an institution which issued an invitation and invitation number (if it has);
- visit purpose;
- name of an inviting organization or full name of an inviting person;
- additional information.
Private visa are required for the foreign citizens, which plan a a trip to Russia to visit their close persons and in some other cases. You can’t really save your money issuing a private visa or significantly accelerate an issuance. При оформлении частной визы не получится сильно сэкономить или существенно ускорить ее выдачу. Let’s consider these situations.
- How to get a visa for free?
- Getting a visa under a burial certificate
- Getting a visa to visit funeral
- Separate family
You can’t obtain the private visa to Russia for free because you need to pay the consular fee and buy a medical insurance in any case. Private invitation, which is issued by an inviting party and send it to you also has a price (state fee is charged). If a decision to issue a visa comes from a Head of diplomatic representative or consular office, it may save your money for issuing a private invitation. However such decisions are made only in emergency cases, each of them is considered individually.
In a case when you want to enter Russia to visit a grave of a next-to-kin, private visa can be issued without an invitation. In order to do it, you need to present a burial certificate at the admission (issued by Russian competent authorities or the International Red Cross movement) along with documents proving your kinship with a person buried in Russia. In order to visit graveyard private visas are issued for a period up to 14 days.
If you need to immediately enter Russia to visit funeral of your relative, you should make a request to the Consular section of the Russian Federation and submit a document proving your kinship with a deceased person, certificate of death or international telegraphy of death подтверждающий родство с умершим человеком, свидетельство о смерти или международную телеграмму о смерти, certified by an official of a communication institution. If there is no circumstances preventing visa issuance (such as prohibition to enter Russia), private visa can be issued expedited on a decision of the Consul.
Private visa can be issued to a foreign citizen on a decision of the Head of consular section, if a citizen of Russia makes a request to a joint entry to Russia with a family member (husband or wife, minor child), who is a citizen of foreign country. 
As can be concluded from above, private visa is suitable for citizens of foreign countries, who plan to enter Russia for private meetings, visiting burial places or accompanying a close relative, who is a citizen of Russia. In order to obtain such a visa you need a document proving your visit purpose, which may look like duly executed and protected from forgery form and electronic document or certificate issued by the authorized bodies.
We have considered all the pros and cons of such a visa. I believe that in practice the use of private visas, especially by Europeans, is meaningless, expensive and inconvenient.
Remember, that private visa is called so not because you are a private person but because such is the inviting person.
There are legal acts, which have been used to write this article:
- Federal law of 15.08.1996 N 114-ФЗ (ред. от 11.10.2018) – О порядке выезда из Российской Федерации и въезда в Российскую Федерацию.
- Decree of the Russian government of 09.06.2003 N 335 (ред. от 20.11.2017) – Об утверждении Положения об установлении формы визы, порядка и условий ее оформления и выдачи, продления срока ее действия, восстановления ее в случае утраты, а также порядка аннулирования визы.
- Приложение к совместному Приказу МИД России, МВД России и ФСБ России от 27 декабря 2003 г. N 19723А/1048/922.
- Federal law of 24.11.1996 N 132-ФЗ (ред. от 04.06.2018) – Об основах туристской деятельности в Российской Федерации.
- Agreement between the Russian Federation and the European Community to facilitate the issuance of visas to citizens of the Russian Federation and the European Union (Сочи, 25 мая 2006 года).
- Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the United States on visa facilitation for citizens of the two countries (Нота МИД от 08.11.2011 №46197/кд).
If you have questions, ask them on the forum. I will try to answer them all.