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How to get a Russian tourist visa


Step 1. Booking air tickets and accommodation in Russia

You need to have accommodation booked in every city of your visit.

Step 2. Getting visa support documents.

Visa support documents (also known as an invitation letter) comprise of the Reservation confirmation and the Tourist voucher registered with the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
A lot of hotels provide visa support documents for free or for a fee so you need to check with your hotel first if they are able to assist.
We can also arrange visa support documents. Please fill in the form indicating the dates of your stay in Russia as well as cities and hotels you’re going to stay. We charge 1000 RUB per person for this service. It usually takes less than an hour to get all the requested documents ready.
Important notes:

If you are travelling to Moscow on a layover and are willing to get out of the airport you’ll be requested to get either a transit or a tourist visa. (Thus USA citizens will need a tourist visa). You need to contact your Russian consulate first to clarify. You won’t need an invitation or hotel reservation for the transit visa. However according to our experience layover travelers are often required to apply for a tourist visa. In this case they’ll still need to have accommodation booked and visa invitation prepared even if the visit to Moscow lasts less   than a day. 

Step 3. Fill out the visa application form

You can do it online on Russian Foreign Ministry's website
Important notes:
The details you provide in the Russian visa application form should be the same as in your visa support documents
1) Thus if you have a tourist visa support then the purpose of your visit should also be "tourism".
2) The dates of entry and exit from Russia should be the same as the dates written on your invitation.
3) When asked the name of organization you're visiting you should put in the name of the company that issued your visa support (but not the name Bridge to Moscow), their address,   their reference number (usually a 6-digit number) and your confirmation number. You can find all the requested info in your visa support documents. Please see the sample.

Step 4. Other documents to prepare

After you’ve received your visa support documents and filled in visa application form make sure you’ve got  
Travel Passport should be valid at least 6 months
Two Passport-size Photographs
Travel insurance. You will most likely need to buy a travel insurance for Russia valid for the period of your visit

Step 5.  Apply for a visa at either a Russian consulate or at the visa processing center.

You can either apply your documents to the consulate directly or use an official visa center authorized by the Russian consulate. Consulate fees will be lower however visa application process will be more time consuming and the staff might appear not so helpful.

Below is the list of some consulates around the world

Russian Consulate in Sydney, Australia
Russian Consulate in Totonto, Canada
Russian Consulate in New York, USA

Visa centers authorized by the Russian consulate

If you're applying in UK, you'll need to bring your documents not to the Russian consulate, but to the Russian visa application center in London or Edinburg.
Visa center in the UK
Visa center in USA, Europe and worldwide,
Top Moscow and Russia tours