VISA Services - Getting a Russian Visa


Please Note: these announcements taken from the official Russian Embassy website in South Africa.

South Africans travelling to Russia without the intention of working, studying or living in the Russian Federation, are free from visa requirements and can enter, stay or transit without a visa for a duration of up to 90 days.

From February 16, 2015 All visa applications must be completed online at and further submitted in print to the Embassy. Majority of travellers require a visa to visit Russia. While this process may appear a little confusing and complicated at first, we are delightful to make it as easy as possible for you.

Kindly note: in accordance with Russian legislation, a foreigner cannot enter Russia using his new passport if the Russian visa is in his old (expired) passport. If you have renewed your passport, it is obligatory that you renew the Russian visa as well.

Embassy of Russian Federation
Consular office Pretoria

General Visa Requirements

  • Complete online application at and further submitted in print to the Consulate. Glue 1 x passport photo in colour, not older than 6 months to the form, sign and date.(Photo - 35mm X 45mm)
  • Valid Passport (only in original, minimum 2 blank visa-designated pages open and valid for 6 months after the last day of the intended stay in Russia).
  • Medical (Travel) insurance for the period of stay in Russia.
  • Copy of return flight ticket or itinerary showing entry and departure from Russia
  • Important: Non-South African Nationals must submit valid Residence Permit/Work Permit more than 90 days in South Africa or copy of RSA ID/RSA passport. It is your responsibility to confirm in advance with the Consular office that this is still valid for your visa application/s.
Note: All applications for Russian visas (with the exception of a transit visa) require a specific visa support document - a visa invitation. This is often called "visa support" or "invitation letter", and must be provided by the inviting party, whether a tour company, employing company, educational institution, relative, or a friend.

Tourist Visa is issued for a period no longer than 30 days and can be single-entry or double-entry

In addition to general requirements

  • Tourist Voucher and Confirmation of Acceptance issued by the Russian tourist company accredited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia showing the reference number as well as the names of applicants, dates of entry & departure.
  • For a tourist visa application should be submitted not less than 3 days prior to entry into Russia.
  • For the tourist groups - 10 persons and more - the visa processing requires 14 days

    Type of invitation: Tourist confirmation and voucher

    Corresponding authority: A Russian tour company which is registered with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and possesses a valid "tour reference number”.
Note: A hotel booking is not sufficient.

We can assist with obtaining visa support invitation to satisfy this requirement and confirming travel arrangements. No hotel reservations or bookings are needed on your part. Please contact us

Business type of Russian visa is issued for travellers, who visit Russia on official or private business. Business visas are best for visitors who do not know their exact itineraries, want to stay in Russia longer than 30 days or need to enter Russia frequently. Single and double entries are possible for visas up to 90 days. Multiple-entry business visas valid for 6 or 12 months . Please note, that multiple-entry visa permits the holder to stay at the territory of Russia no more than 90 days in every 180 days.

In addition to general requirements

  • Original invitation issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or Federal Migration Service must be submitted to the Embassy's disposal. A Telex confirmation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or it's Regional Representatives going directly to the Consular Office is also acceptable.

    Type of invitation: Business invitation

    Corresponding authority: The local department of the Passport and Visa Service (PVU) of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs (for paper invitations) or the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (for telexes). The sponsoring organization must be officially registered with the PVU in order to apply for an invitation (according to the corresponding Federal Law dated Nov 1, 2002).
    Note: We can assist with obtaining business visa support for short and long periods Please contact us

Private or Home stay visa is issued if the purpose of trip to visit friends or relatives. This type of visa allows staying in the Russian Federation for up to 90 days. Friends or relatives who will host during visit will need to obtain a visa invitation from a local office of visas and registrations. Russian Consulates worldwide accept only original private invitations. Obtaining a private invitation can be a very lengthy and troublesome procedure, and we suggest applying for either tourist or business visa instead.

In addition to general requirements

  • Inviting person, Russian citizen must appeal to the local representation of the Federal Migration Service of Russia in order to organize an official invitation. A foreigner currently residing in Russia appeals to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia for the invitation. NOTE! Only original invitation is accepted when lodging a visa application.

    Type of invitation: Private invitation (izveshchenie)

    Corresponding authority: The local department of the Passport and Visa Service (PVU) of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs or OVIR. Allow 4-6 weeks for approval and obtain the original invitation to apply for a visa at the Russian embassy/consulate.
Note: We can assist with obtaining Russian visa Please contact us

Transit Visa is issued for up to 3 days, if you travel by air, or for up to 10 days, if using other means of transportation and can be single-entry or double-entry.

In addition to general requirements

  • Valid visa of the country of final destination.
  • Air ticket to Russia and from Russia to the country of final destination.
  • If these requirements cannot be satisfied, suggest applying for a tourist visa

    Type of invitation: No invitation required

    Corresponding authority: Present your tickets and visa for your country of destination (if required).
Note: We can assist with obtaining Russian visa Please contact us

Miscellaneous information on Russian visa

    Migration card

    Every foreign citizen (including children) entering the Russian Federation on his or her own passport has to fill in a migration card. Migration cards will be handed out during flight to Russia or available at the immigration post. These cards consist of two identical parts printed either side-to-side or top-to-bottom. Both parts need to be filled out.

    The card is straightforward to complete, but here are some hints:
  • Under "Given name(s)", print both your first and middle names.
  • Leave "Patronymic" blank.
  • List dates by day/month/year.
  • For "Purpose of travel", underline "Tourism" or "Business" according to visa .
  • Under "Name of host person or company", write the name of company which issued your invitation.
  • An immigration official will stamp passport and the card, removing one half of the card and placing the other half in passport. It is very important to keep migration card till departure. When departing, exit stamp will be put into passport and migration card will be taken from foreigner.

    Visa registration in Russia Russian visas have to be registered on location.

    Registration may be carried out by the following:
  • The hotel or a hostel where you are staying.
  • The owner of the apartment if you are staying in a private apartment with friends or a family.
  • The company which issued your visa invitation
  • Sea cruise Passengers
  • Cruise ship passengers do not need a Russian visa, if the stop in the port of call does not exceed 72 hours and if the tourists stay overnight on board.
  • Cruise passengers may disembark from the ship without a tourist visa only for tours organised by cruise or other authorised tourist companies whose responsibility is to inform Russian migration services 72 hours before passengers' arrival.
  • Passengers who do not take part in organised tours to disembark will need to obtain a Russian tourist visa that cannot be granted once in Russia. Russian visas are issued only in the country of residence before departure.

Exit visa

This visa needs to be issued if existing visa expiried or lost , if passport was stolen etc Contact your visa sponsor immediately. Your visa sponsor, not foreigner, will go to Passport and Visa Service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and petition for your exit visa on your behalf. If visa lost or was stolen, foreigner needs to get a confirmation of this from the local police department. This confirmation or "spravka" is issued by the police station, which is responsible for the territory where the accident happened.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a tourist visa and a business visa?

A tourist visa is a single/double entry visa valid for up to 30 days, while a business visa can be multiple-entry and valid for up to 12 months. The main difference between the two is the duration and purpose of the trip.

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What is an invitation and why do I need one in order to apply for a visa?

Whatever type of Russian visa (with the exception of a transit visa), it requires a specific visa support document. That is an invitation issued by the party that invites to visit Russia - tourist company, friend or relative, legal institution or a company-employer.

Contact us for assistance

Who issues business and tourist invitations?

Business invitations are issued by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs or by the Passport and Visas Department of the Ministry of Interior of Russia upon requests of accredited companies. Tourist invitations are issued by Russian travel agencies, accredited in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia

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How fast I can get Russian visa invitation?

A single or a double entry invitation for 30 days can be processed in 1 business day.

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I want to get a tourist invitation, but the travel dates are inexact so far. Can I give a travel agency rough dates within the same month?

Yes, you may mention rough travel dates within a month. Please, note Consulate prefers to have identical information on your invitation ,application form and ticket , so this discrepancy might lead to visa refusal.

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I have booked a hotel room in St Petersburg, Russia, and received a booking confirmation. Is it enough to apply for a Russian tourist visa?

No, you need to have a tourist voucher and invitation. They could be issued only by the company registered by the Russian Ministry of Foreigh Affairs and having reference number.

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How long does it take to get a visa?

The standard processing time is 4-6 working days. Urgent processing is available for an additional fee.

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Is it possible to apply for a Russian visa by post, as the Russian Consulate is far from where I live?

If you have no opportunity to go to the Russian consulate in person, we can apply for visa on your behalf regardless of whether you have used our services as a tour operator, logistics fee apply .

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Will I get a refund if my visa application is rejected or trip cancelled ?

Whatever the reason for a visa refusal, official consular fees are non-refundable.

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Where can I register my visa?

Your Russian visa may be registered at the reception desk of the hotel or hostel where you are staying, or by the host company or person if you are renting an apartment (or staying in private accommodation with friends or a family).

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My visa has expired. What should I do?

A valid visa is necessary to leave Russia. Travellers who overstay the validity of their visa, even by one day, will be prevented from departing , need to obtain an exit visa. Visa sponsor (person or legal entity who supports visa invitation) should intervene and present the following to the Federal Migration Service office: a letter of request, your passport, two photos, and a travel ticket with a fixed departure date. A visa fee also has to be paid, along with a fine for overstaying the validity of the visa.
We are standing for our clients and always will support in any unforeseen situation. (With concern from South African team "Visit Russia")

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My passport with a visa have been lost or stolen. What should I do?

First of all apply for a new passport at the embassy of your country of citizenship. It is normally impossible for a visa to be replaced, traveller has to apply for an exit visa instead. Visa sponsor should present the following to the Federal Migration Service: a letter of request, passport, two photos, airticket with a fixed departure date. A fee must also be paid. In addition, it is necessary to obtain a report stating that your passport and visa have been lost from the local police station. NB: To avoid obstacles in obtaining an exit visa, we advise to make copies of passport and visa before leaving for Russia. We are standing for our clients and always will support in any unforeseen situation (With concern from South African team "Visit Russia")

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Whom should I contact if I'm not allowed to leave Russia at passport control

Contact your host. Under Russian law, every foreign traveller must have a Russian-based sponsor, whether it is a hotel, tour company, relative, employer, university, etc. Even if your visa was obtained through your local travel agent, you will find your legal Russian sponsor's name indicated on the visa.

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Russian Consular Rates

Please Note:
Only cash is accepted at the Consular office. Costs are subject to fluctuation.
When you receive your visa, please check it for any mistakes (passport number, date of birth, validity, spelling of name/s and surname, gender, etc.) and, if necessary, return it to a consular officer for corrections. The Consulate will not be responsible for any mistakes in the visa, which were not brought to their attention prior to your departure from South Africa.
Visa fees effective from 01 February 2019
TYPE/PROCESSING TIME 1-3 days 4-20 days
Single Entry - Business, Work, Study & Humanitarian R 2 240 R 1 120
Double Entry R 5 384 R 1 792
Business Multiple Entry R 6 720 R 3 360
Cost for South African passport holders only, (different rates for citizens of other countries on the basis of reciprocity). Please contact Consular office.
Cost of Tourist vouchers & Business invitations cost ,visa assistance fees are not included in consular rates.
All rates are per visa application (per person).
No refunds on consular charges , invitations , visa assistance fees are applicable.
Upfront payment for all invitation supports .