A lot of Latvian citizens regularly visit Russia on tourist, business, private and other purposes. The first question which you as a Latvian citizen may have before planning your trip to Russia is:
Do Latvian citizens need a visa to enter Russia?
But though it may seem quite a challenge – to get a visa by yourself, it is possible and not so complicated as it sounds. We’ll guide you through the process in this article step-by-step. You’ll be able to save on the agents commission or any package tours, because you can get your visa independently, following the simple procedures described below.
You don’t need to buy any tickets to apply for a visa or make prepaid bookings, however you’ll need to determine your travel dates at least approximately, the duration of your stay and choose the visa type. Read about the main Russian visa types to help you choose the one for you.
Overview of Russian visa types:
|Visa types||Validity period||Travel purpose|
|Tourist visa||30 days||tourism and leisure|
|Private visa||90 days||private guest visits. Not recommendable: see why here|
|Business visa||30 -90 days (up to 5 years max)||conducting business in Russia, looking for partners, negotiating, investing etc.|
|Transit visa||3 -10 days||crossing Russian territory on your way to another country|
|Student visa||90 days and above||studying a course in a Russian school or university|
|Work visa||90 days and above||working under contract for a Russian employer|
|Electronic visa||8 days||short tourist, business or humanitarian visits|
Duration of stay in Russia: no longer than 90 days. A visa can be issued either for 30 days or for 6 months with 90 days of stay out of 180.
Number of entries: single, double, multiple
Inviting company: Russian registered tour operator
Duration of stay in Russia – no longer than 90 days
Number of entries – single or double
Purpose of trip – visiting friends or relatives, citizens or permanent residents of Russia
Inviting organization – Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) of Russia upon request of the host Russian citizen
Duration of stay in Russia – no longer than 90 days out of each 180. A visa can be issued for up to 1 year.
Number of entries – single, double or multiple
Purpose of trip:
– looking for business partners
– participating in business meetings, conferences, negotiations
– investing into Russian business
– purchasing goods and services, researching the market
– conducting trainings, maintenance work (sub-purpose Technical Maintenance)
– carrying out paid short-term commercial activities (sub-purpose Commercial)
– driving cargo or passenger vehicle throughout Russia (sub-purpose Driver)
– flying aircraft (sub-purpose Crew Member)
– a child accompanying parents in a business trip (sub-purpose Family Member)
– taking part in sports, cultural, political, religious, charity, volunteer events, or supplying humanitarian aid (Humanitarian type)
Inviting organization – A Russian organization, MIA or MFA of Russia upon request of the host Russian company
Duration of stay in Russia – no longer than 3 days for air connections, no longer than 10 days for road/railroad travelers
Number of entries – single, double (for double entry transit visa overall validity won’t be longer than 1 month)
Purpose of trip – crossing Russian territory following to the next state en route.
Inviting organization – no invitation required. You should have valid tickets showing entry/exit from Russia
Duration of stay in Russia – 90 days and above. A visa is issued for 90 days, but can be extended in Russia depending on the duration of studies.
Number of entries – single, double or multiple
Purpose of trip – full time studies at a Russian educational institution; short-term courses
Inviting organization – Russian academic institution; or MIA or MFA of Russia upon request of the Russian School or University
Duration of stay in Russia – from 90 days and up, depending on the civil labour contract terms. For Highly Qualified Experts a visa is issued for 3 years at once. This visa type can be prolonged while in Russia.
Number of entries – single or multiple
Purpose of trip – full time work under a paid labour contract for a Russian employer
Inviting organization – MIA of Russia upon request of an authorized Russian Employer.
Duration of stay in Russia – no longer than 8 days out of 30 days period
Number of entries – single
Purpose of trip – tourism and leisure, business or humanitarian activities in Russia
Inviting organization – no invitation required. An e-visa applicant should fill in the online form on the MFA website 4 days prior to his trip to Russia, print it and present when crossing the Russian border
Important to know: an E-visa so far gives right to visit one of the three regions of Russia:
A traveler can enter and leave only through the same border point. It’s not allowed to travel to other regions during your trip on E-visa.
If you still have difficulties determining which visa type you need, contact our manager by email so we’ll be able to help you.
Here comes the boring part. People hate paperwork. But believe me, there’s not so much to collect actually. Here’s a list of documents you’ll need for your visa application:
– For tourist visa you’ll need a tourist confirmation from a registered Russian travel agency. Get it here in 10 min: Get Tourist Confirmation. Print and use
– For private visa your Russian host should contact the local MIA migration department and solicit the required invitation. It’ll take 20 working days and it will be sent to you in an e-format. If you don’t have time to wait, consider coming on a tourist visa instead
– For Business visa your Russian partner must provide you either with a written statement of invitation signed and sealed, or solicit an invitation at the MIA of Russia (takes 20 working days), or MFA of Russia (invitation type – Telex, takes around 12 working days). If your host company can’t provide this, order your Business invitation here: Get Business invitation
– For Student visa your Russian school should solicit official invitation from the MIA of Russia (takes 1- 1.5 months); or provide you with an official letter of invitation, indicating the duration of the course, details about the school and your personal information, stamped and signed by the authorized person (takes 1 day to make, accepted in original only).
– For Work visa your Russian employer should solicit official invitation from the MIA of Russia (takes 1- 2 months)
As a citizen of Latvia you can apply with all your documents for a visa at either of these places:
For your convenience it’s recommendable to apply through the visa center, where managers will check your documents and point at any mistakes you might make. Also, you’ll be able to order extra services like photocopies, courier delivery of passport, filling the application form etc.
When you apply for a visa you’ll need to pay the visa fees. At the consulate you pay only the non-refundable consular fee, which amounts to:
If you apply through the visa center, you’ll also need to pay service charge of 25 EUR for each application. If you wish to get your passport delivered back you can order courier service at the visa center at additional 15 EUR.
When you submit your documents you’ll be given a receipt, which you shouldn’t lose, so as to use it to get your passport back when the process’s finished.
Remember, you can apply for a visa not earlier than 3 months before your trip.
You will be notified when your application has been reviewed and you can get your passport back. Visa center also provides the opportunity to daily check the status of your application on their website.
Once you collect your passport, carefully check the information your visa holds:
If everything is correct, it’s time for you to start preparing for your trip. Don’t forget to take your insurance policy, invitation from a Russian company, and certainly your passport with visa stamp in it.
When you enter Russia you’ll need to obtain two more documents:
A migration card is given to travelers free of charge by either personnel of transport companies or the officers of immigration control. A traveler has to fill two identical parts in block letters with pen and hand them to the officer, who then stamps them with the date of entry to Russia and returns one part to the traveler. When you leave the country you’ll need to return the document at immigration control.
If you happen to lose it, you’ll need to turn to the local police or migration service office and ask for a duplicate.
Registration is required in case a traveler stays over 7 working days in Russia. You can get it at the hotel where you’ll be staying or ask your Russian host to make one for you at the local post or police office department.
Have both documents on you in case of checks.
Enjoy your travel to Russia!
I hope that my article will help you get your visa and make your travel to Russia closer.