Visa to Russia for the UK citizens

Published by Mike Lomberg March 26, 2020
UK passport holders

Do the British need a visa to Russia? 

Yes, they do! 

But don’t get scared just yet. The process of obtaining a Russian visa is not so complicated, as it might seem. And if anyone rushes you to pay some agency to take charge of visa application, you can better read this article, and try to get it on your own. 

My mission here is to guide you through the process of getting your Russian visa and clarify some of the most important related issues.

So, here we go: 5 main steps to get your Russian visa, if you are a UK citizen:

Step 1. Set your travel dates and understand the purpose of your trip.

Depending on the duration of your intended trip, and the travel aims you pursue, you can apply for certain visa types. Note, that visas cannot be converted one into another while in Russia. If you’ve entered as a tourist, you’ll need to leave until your visa expires, and re-apply for a new visa suitable for your next visit outside Russia.

Visa typesValidity periodTravel purpose
Tourist visa30 daystourism and leisure
Private visa90 daysprivate guest visits. Not recommendable: see why here
Business visa30 -90 days (up to 5 years max)
conducting business in Russia, looking for partners, negotiating, investing etc.
Transit visa3 -10 dayscrossing Russian territory on your way to another country
Student visa90 days and abovestudying a course in a Russian school or university
Work visa90 days and aboveworking under contract for a Russian employer
Electronic visa8 daysshort tourist, business or humanitarian visits. Available for nationals of 53 states, excluding the UK!

Russian Tourist visa for the UK

Stay in Russia – 30 days. Number of entries – single/double

Travel purposes:

Russian Business visa for the UK

Stay in Russia – 90 days out of 180. A visa itself can be valid for 1 year. Number of entries: single/double/multiple

Travel purposes:

Russian Private visa for the UK

Stay in Russia – 90 days out of 180. Number of entries: single/double

Travel purposes:

Russian Humanitarian visa for the UK

Stay in Russia – 90 days out of 180. A visa can be issued for 1-3-6-12 months. Number of entries: single/double or multiple in case of 1 year visa.

Travel purposes:

Russian Student visa for the UK

Stay in Russia – as long as your study course intends you to. A visa can be issued for 90 days with single or double entry, but extended on the territory of Russia in accordance with the duration period of your course.

Travel purposes:

Russian Work visa for the UK

Stay in Russia – as long as your employment requires you to. A visa can be issued for 90 days with single/double entry, or for 3 years with multiple entries for Highly Qualified Specialists.

Travel purposes:

Russian Transit visa for the UK

Stay in Russia – as long as your connection lasts. Transit visas are normally issued for up to 3 days for airline connections, or up to 10 days for crossing Russia by road transport.

Travel purposes:

Important: If you stay in transit zone waiting for your connecting flight, you don’t need a visa. It’s highly recommended to contact your airlines prior to starting the transit visa application process. 

Stay in Russia – 8 days out of 30 days duration period of your E-visa. Number of entries: single

Travel purposes:

Step 2. Get a complete set of documents required for your visa type

Paperwork can be a pretty boring affair, I know. But there aren’t so many documents to collect, in fact. And here you’ll find tips on where and how to get them. So, don’t lose your enthusiasm! ????

That’s about all. Coming to the next step now.

Step 3. Applying for a visa. Paying the fees.

As a British citizen you can apply for your Russian visa in one of these places only in person:

Find the addresses and contacts below:

Consular Section of the Russian Embassy in LondonAddress: 5 Kensington Palace Gardens, London W8 4QS phone: +44 (0) 203 668 7474 website: Email: [email protected]
Consulate General of RF in EdinburghAddress: 58 Melville Street, Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom EH3 7HF Phone: 0131 225 70 98 Fax: 0131 225 95 87website: E-mail: [email protected]
VFS Global Russian visa center in London15- 27 Gee Street,Barbican, LondonEC1V 3RD Phone 09058890149 Email: [email protected]
VFS Global in Edinburgh64 Albion Road (back entrance) EdinburghEH7 5QZ Phone 09058890149 Email: r[email protected]
VFS Global in Manchester53 Fountain Street (Regus Business Centre) Manchester M2 2AN Phone 09058890149 Email: [email protected]

You can apply as early as 6 months before your entry date to Russia. 

To apply at the Russian consulate you’ll need to book prior appointment. Visa centers don’t have any appointment system. When you come to the Visa center, you’ll be given a token with your number in the queue by the officer. When your number’s announced, you’ll submit your documents and be given a receipt. Keep the receipt to be able to collect your passport afterwards.

After you’ve applied you can track the visa status here:

You’ll also be notified when your application process is over. 

Now, to the money part of this process: 

Visa/ Service fee

If you apply at the Russian consulate you pay only the non-refundable visa fee. It amounts to:

Type of visaNormal fee (4-20 working days) £Urgent fee (1-3 working days) £

If you chose to apply at VFS Global visa center you’ll also be charged a service fee of £38.40 for normal processing, or £45.60 for urgent one.

In case you ordered any extra services like delivery, photocopies, travel insurance etc., you’ll need to pay extras, detailed fees can be find on the website of the VFS center.

Step 4. Collect your passport. Check your visa details.

If you chose to apply directly at the consulate, you’ll have to collect your passport in person, same way as you applied. Take the receipt given you during application and your ID to demonstrate at the consulate. There is no need to book appointment for this. You can come during the stipulated passport collection hours on weekdays: 8:45 – 11:00, on Thursday: 14:00 – 16:30

If you applied at the visa center, you can come without any appointment during working hours and collect your passport. You can also order passport delivery directly to your home or office at some extra £ 13.80. You’ll need to pay this charge at the moment of application and fill the form with your address for delivery.

Finally got your visa?

Check if this information on your visa is correct:

Russian visa stamp

Step 5. Last things to do upon arrival

You can now breathe freely and start packing your bags.

It’s recommendable to get yourself insured for the dates of your trip. You can get travel insurance in any company, including online companies. Check out this one:

There are two more papers to get when in Russia:

After you’ve landed, you’ll be given out migration cards to fill, by the flight attendants. If you miss this moment, you’ll be able to get it from the migration officer. You’ll need to fill it with info on your intended dates of trip and address of stay. The officer will stamp it and return you one part of it. Save it in your passport and always carry with you. When you leave, you’ll need to return this document.

Russian migration card

Registration is required if you stay over 7 working days in Russia. It’s normally done by the hotels where you stay. If you chose private apartment, the owner should contact the local post or police office and register you. This document is also recommended to carry along during your stay in Russia. Although, it’s asked for on very rare occasions.

Russian registration

If you feel something is lacking here, feel free to contact our managers for a free consultation by email.
I wish you the best visa application experience, and a happy trip to Russia!

The British in Russia