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How business, tourist and private visas differ for Russian trips


While citizens of certain countries are permitted to spend brief periods of time in Russia without a visa, for many people, acquiring a visa will be mandatory before they can travel to the Eurasian country.

There are two basic steps involved in arranging that visa: getting an invitation and then applying for the visa. However, for business visas, tourist visas and private visas, there are crucial differences that you should take careful account of before seeking an invitation.

Business visas

Business invitations are issued by the Russian government and can be time-consuming to acquire. For this reason, you could find applying for a business visa through our website to be a more convenient solution than applying more directly, as we can take care of many aspects of your application and relieve much of the stress that the process could otherwise bring for you.

Business visas are valid for longer than tourist visas; however, as tourists are permitted to travel on business visas, you should get one if you seek to stay in Russia for longer than 30 days.

Tourist visas

An invitation for a tourist visa is the only Russian visa invitation that will not be issued by a Russian government agency. A tourist invitation, as it is called, is a letter confirming that you have booked and pre-paid accommodation and travel arrangements in Russia.

Be warned that you are not guaranteed to receive an invitation simply as a result of having made a standard hotel booking; you might find that your chosen hotel charges a separate fee for the invitation to be issued.

Private visas

Seeking a private visa can be a good idea if you have Russian-based friends or relatives. Those people do not necessarily have to be Russian by nationality; however, they will become solely responsible for what you do when in Russia. You should also keep in mind that the processing of a private invitation can take at least a month.

Obtaining a private visa can be a more streamlined process when you apply for it on our website, through which it is also possible to seek various other Russia visas online.