June 01, 2013

Russia is a large, beautiful country with diverse landscape, culture, entertainment, and activities. Unless you are a holder of a diplomatic or service passport, you will have to apply for a visa through the Russian Visa Application Centre, rather than the Consulate as you may for other countries. This process applies to all manner of visa including tourist, private, student, business, humanitarian, transit, or work visas.

Fortunately, applying for a Russian visa is a fairly straightforward endeavour. First, you will want to verify the requirements for whichever type of visa you need. This information is available online through the Visa Centre website and a quick online search of “Russian Visa Centre” will provide you for the appropriate link for your country. For example, if you are a Canadian applying for a Russian visa you would visit russia.visacenter.ca.

From here, you will need to collect all the required documents and fill out the application form. Since the form can only be completed online, you should not print the form to fill-it-out by hand – it won’t be accepted. Only electronically completed documents can be printed and then submitted. During the application process you will be provided with a login and password, which you should be careful to save in case you are disconnected from the internet or have other online problems.

Here are a few tips to help you with the visa application:

  • In the Purpose section, enter travel dates and inviting organisation details as they appear on your tourist voucher or invitation, even if you are planning a shorter trip to Russia.
  • You will be asked which countries you have visited in the last ten years. You can include only the countries wherein your passport was stamped on arrival or departure. Similarly, if you have visited a country more than once, you need only mention the last visit and the associated dates of travel.
  • You will also be asked about previous employment and education. You don’t need to worry about entering exact addresses for these positions; just include the city and country of employment. If you cannot remember contact details for employers, you can enter zeros in the phone number section.
  • If you have never studied or worked, you will need to address a letter to the Russian Embassy confirming this fact.
  • Once the application is compete, you should print it and sign and date it. You will need to apply either in person at the Russian Visa Centre or you can apply by mail. If you are planning to work in Russia, you must apply in person at a Visa Centre. Russian Visa Centres can be found in Toronto, Markham, Ottawa, and Vancouver.