What is a visa?

Visa is an authorisation issued by the representative of the Government of a country permitting a person, not resident in that country, to enter its boundaries.

How do I know if I need a visa?

Depending on your purpose of travel, you should log on to the website of the Embassy of the Russian Federation to check whether you are eligible or require a visa. Please visit Embassy of the Russian Federation to obtain the required information.

Is the visa valid for Russia only?

The Embassy of the Russian Federation issues visas for Russia only.

Can the Russia visa application centre prepare my application for me?

The Russia visa application centres do not prepare visa applications, but accept and process applications in accordance with the Embassy’s instructions.

How do I apply for a visa to Russia?

  • Step 1:
    Visa applications are accepted at the VFS Global application centre. Holders of diplomatic and service passports intending to visit Russia on official Business will continue to apply in person at the Russian Embassy.
  • Step 2:
    Before applying, please ensure you are very clear on your ‘purpose of visit’ - do remember we are here to assist and help you through the entire visa application process but are not permitted to advise or guide you on choosing a visa category. Since our work is primarily administrative in nature, we have no say on whether you will be granted a visa as this is entirely the prerogative of the Consulate / Embassy of Russia to decide on.
  • Step 3:
    Please go to “Know Your Visa Type” to understand details of short stay visas.
  • Step 4:
    Please select type of the visa you are applying for to obtain the information on the requirements.
  • Step 5:
    Please check the requirements carefully and fill in an online application form which is available in the section “Visa Application Form”.
  • Step 6:
    You need to print your visa application form out and come to apply in person to the Visa Application Centre. Please note that at the time of submission you need to have all the documents and visa fees specified for your nationality and type of visa you are applying for. Please see the section “Know Your Visa Type” for more detailed information.
  • Step 7:
    Please ensure you check closure dates and read the security regulation notices before you visit the Visa Application Centre.
  • Step 8:
    Please note that in order to collect your passport at the Visa Application Centre you will need to present the original receipt given to you during the submission which will be collected from you as a proof of delivery of your passport. Please make sure you have a copy of it if you require it for your records.
  • Step 9:
    It is Applicant’s responsibility to check the validity of the visa issued to ensure that it covers the period of stay requested, the number or entries required, and that it is valid for the purpose of trip immediately after collection of your passport.

What are the processing times?

Processing times are 5 working days or next working day depending upon the visa category applied for and the application itself. Kindly ensure all your documents are complete at the time of submission of your application in order to avoid any further delay or inconvenience. In some cases processing time can be longer, for more information please check “Processing Time” section of the website, applicable for your type of visa.

When can I apply for my visa?

Applicant can apply for a visa up to 6 months before your date of travel to the Russia. We strongly advise you not to confirm your travel arrangements until you have received your visa.

Do the visa centres have anything to do with the actual visa decision?

No. None of the staff in the visa application centres have any authority or discretionary ability with regards to the visa decision. Our job is purely administrative in nature and we cannot influence or expedite any decision.

Can I confirm all my travel bookings before getting the visa?

No bookings or travel arrangements should be confirmed until a visa decision has been made unless it is a requirement for your visa application. VF Services will not be responsible for any loss of expenses caused by delay/refusal of the visa.

If my visa is issued, from when does the validity begin?

The validity of the visa begins from the date of your departure mentioned on the visa.

Where can I get information on the addresses of the visa centres in the United Kingdom?

Information on the locations and timings of our visa centres can be found on the “Contact Us” tab located on top of the homepage.

Can I apply via post? Can I send my application directly to the Embassy of the Russian Federation?

No. Submission of the applications is in person only.

How do I know which type of passport do I choose on the application form- Diplomatic, Official or Tourist?

A diplomatic passport is issued to someone who travels internationally on official state business. Official passport (service passport, also special passport) is issued to government employees for work-related travel, and to accompanying dependents. A tourist or ordinary passport is a document, issued by a national government for the purpose of international travel, which certifies the identity and nationality of its holder.

Can I use my digital signature on the application form?

No, you cannot use your digital signature for the application form. The application form needs to be signed using a pen.

Can I make a payment online?

Payments for your application can not be made online however you do have the facility to make a payment at the visa centre itself when you come to submit your documents.

Do I have to have an appointment to submit my application?

Russian visa application centres operate as walk-in centres; hence, no prior appointment is required. Appointment would only be required if you prefer to use VIP premium lounge service.

Where are the fees and checklists for the visa categories?

Under the category "Know Your Visa Type", a complete list of each visa category is provided. Within each category, once selected, you will see multiple tabs under the main heading providing details of Visa Fees, Documents Required, Processing Time, Photo Specifications and Visa Application Form. Please review these details carefully before completing your application.

If I send an email asking about the status of my application – what information do I need to provide first?

When sending an email please ensure that you include details such as your full name, the centre you have applied through, your passport number, date of birth. Please note that further details may be asked from you through correspondence.

Can I apply for an urgent visa for any category?

You can apply for urgent visa for all the categories provided there are no restrictions for it. Please visit ‘Processing Time’ section on our website for more detailed information on the same.

If I have filled out a form for a minor – who has to sign the application?

Applications for minors (under the age of 16) must be signed for by the parent or guardian otherwise they cannot be accepted. In case of postal applications – the documents will be returned to the applicant if the signatures are missing. The parents are required to provide a consent letter along with the copy of the passport for the Minor child’s application.

Do I need to submit originals of any documents when applying for a visa to Russia?

No. Please submit only photocopies of your documents at the time of submission, unless it is a mandatory requirement for the type of visa you are applying for. Documents submitted will not be returned. In certain cases originals may also be required (and subsequently returned) if asked for by the Embassy or its Consulate General after they have reviewed your initial application.

How do I know on which days will the visa centres be closed?

A detailed list of all holidays on which the visa centre will be closed is provided in the section “Public Holidays/Closures” which can be found on top of the homepage under “General Information” tab. Please ensure that you review this list before sending out your application to avoid situations where you may arrive at the centre on a day when it is closed. The visa application centres are only closed on those days during which the Embassy and its Consulate would also be shut.

What do I need to do when visiting the visa centres?

Upon reaching the visa centre, you will be issued with queue token. While you wait for your token to be called – please ensure that all required documents are ready. Incorrect documentation or photo specifications will only cause a further delay in acceptance of your application.

What happens once I get to the visa centre? How do things work?

Once you arrive at the visa centre, the security guard will issue you a token. You would then be required to wait in the applicant area until your token is called. At the counter, the officer will check your documents, process your application if it is completed and issue you a receipt. Information about collection times will be given to you but we will not be able to advise you on the time it would take to have a decision on your visa made. You would then be able to track your application through the website until the time your passport is received back with a decision.

Can I make a payment in the centre itself?

Yes, the Russia Visa Application Centre will accept collective fees.

Can I make a collective payment for the visa fees and logistic fees?

Yes, the Russia Visa Application Centre will accept collective fees.

Do the centres have internet kiosks that I can use to fill an online form?

Visa centre in London has Internet kiosks on which you can fill in or modify the online form only. You will not be able to access any other web pages except of the online application form.

When having completed the online form – what do I need to do and record?

Please note your Declarant ID and password generated by the system. You may need these to access your online application form for reprinting or correction.

Do I need to come in person to submit or collect my papers?

To submit – yes.
To collect - applicant’s representatives can come to collect a passport on behalf of the applicant. Please note that in case of passport collection – the document will not be handed over unless the original receipt given at the time of submission is there. Please also be aware that original receipt will be collected from you as a proof of passport delivery so please kindly make a copy of it which you can keep for your own expenses.

Can the Russia visa application centre post my passport back?

The Russia visa application centre can post your application as long as the address is provided at the time your application is being registered. Applications will be returned via recorded mail only. You must make your preferred delivery mode known at the time of submission, as once your receipt is issued; we cannot change the mode of return of your application. This service is restricted to DX Secure coverage in the UK and Northern Ireland only. Please note that you will need to sign for your envelope so kindly mention the address where you will be present on the day of delivery.

What if I have lost my receipt for collection of passport?

If you have lost your receipt, we will be unable to provide you with your passport without photographic proof of identification.

How do I track my application?

You can track your application through the website by entering data required under the tab ‘Track your Application’ which can be found on top of the homepage.

If I submit my application through an external agency, who is responsible?

The visa centres will not be responsible for any errors caused by external agencies who submit applications on behalf of the applicant. In case you have applied through an agency – you will need to address your concerns to that Agency.

Can I upgrade the service once visa application was submitted?

No. Please be aware, that you can not upgrade service by paying extra once your application was submitted. You will need to withdraw passport and re-apply again for your visa. All fees are non-refundable and will not be refunded and you will need to pay again for your application.

How do I withdraw my application and will I get a refund?

If you wish to withdraw your application you are required to visit the application centre and submit your withdrawal request or send e-mail with withdrawal request. VFS will not be able to provide you any definite timelines to get your passport back. You are requested to wait and check the status of your passport on our website. All fees are non-refundable and will not be refunded if you withdraw your application.

Will I get my visa at the end of the process?

As an application centre, the Russia visa application centre will not be able to guarantee you a visa. The issuance or refusal of a visa is the sole prerogative of the Embassy of the Russian Federation. The Russian visa application centre cannot influence this decision in any way.

Where can I obtain information if I require a work permit for travelling to Russia for business purposes only?

Please visit the website of the Embassy of the Russian Federation.

If I have received visas in the past, do I have to submit a full set of documents when applying for a new visa for another trip?

Yes. All applications for Russian visa require documents as specified by the Embassy of the Russian Federation even if you are applying again.

If I have a Russian visa which is valid at the time I am submitting a new application – can I have 2 visas at the same time?

No. Please be aware, that in case you have recently been granted a Russian visa which is valid at the time you are submitting a new application, we will need you to provide us with the passport where the relevant visa is stamped as the Embassy will need to cancel it.

“Sochi Cruises” Ltd.

354065, Russia, Sochi
Navaginskaya Str. 5/6

Tel./Fax: +7 (862) 2901-901

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