Info about obtaining Russian Visas

Russian visas are issued based on official "invitations". Since EMMCVPR is not a registered business in Russia, we can not provide an official "invitation" for a business visa. Instead, we suggest another very common route for attending academic conferences in Russia - applying for a tourist visa for yourself (and for any family members). In this case your hotel can send an official "invitation" to visit Russia (see 1 below). If there is a Russian consulate near you you can then apply for a visa in-person (see 3) or you can use a visa agency (see 2), which could be an easier option in general.
  1. Obtaining a hotel "voucher": Whether you want to apply for a tourist visa in-person or via a visa agency, first of all you should decide on a hotel you want to stay in Saint Petersburg. Most hotels (including all recommended hotels) can send you an official "invitation" required for a tourist visa. This is a special Confirmation & Voucher form, two docs often printed on one page, as in this sample. Upon request, your hotel can fax or email you this "voucher" after you book a room. All recommended hotels have such ''visa support service'' included in the room rate (for other hotels, check before hand). The dates of your tourist visa will be based exactly on the dates indicated by the hotel ''voucher''. If you need to stay in 2 different hotels (e.g. if you decide to visit Moscow) you should obtain 2 ''vouchers'' covering your trip. If you plan to visit more than 2 places or stay in Russia for more than 2 weeks we recommend to use a visa agency (2). Otherwise, it may be sufficinetly easy to apply in-person (3).
  2. Using a visa agency: If you want to avoid the hustle of going to the Russian consulate in person, there are many visa agencies (e.g. see here) that can help. In this case you get everything done via mail (the agency's rep deals with the consulate for you). The agency can also consult you about any details. If you shop around a bit you can expect to pay for their help around 35 euros or 50 dollars (possibly plus shipping) on top of the consulate visa fee. The normal execusion time is around 2-3 weeks (expedited service could be twice expensive). You may still need to get the "vouchers" (see above) from the hotels where you intend to stay. If necessary, the agency can also help with the travellers medical insurance and/or book the hotels for you, but this could be an extra charge. You should discuss all details directly with an agency.
  3. Applying in-person: Take the ''voucher'' and other required documents (e.g. passport, photos, completed application form, bank check, etc) to the nearest Russian consulate. Check its web site ahead of time as necessary documents, fees, form of payment, and processing times may vary. Typically, you should apply at least 3 weeks ahead of travellinig. It might be possible to get your visa in just 3 days, but the expedited service is more expensive. In some countries it could be possible to apply for a visa via mail. Traveller medical insurance (e.g. see here) could be required for the citizens of Schengen agreement states and a few other countries (on the basis of reciprocity).
DISCLAIMER: the information above is only our recommendation. Several other sources of general information about Russian visas are here: