In order to travel to Russia for tourist purposes, Swiss citizens require a Russia tourist visa as well as the non-CH nationals that have a residence permit for Switzerland. The visa must be obtained before departure at the responsible visa application centre in Switzerland. In this article, we will explain you step by step on how to receive your visa for Russia.
1. Determine visa type
It is important to first determine your required type of visa before applying. There are 7 different types of Russian visas. In most cases, tourist visa or business visa is required. We are providing an overview of all different visa types and trip types in our FAQ.
2. Get your confirmation from your tour operator
In order to apply for a tourist visa, you will have to provide a confirmation that you are going to be hosted as a tourist by a Russian tour operator. The operator needs to be registered in the unified register of tour operators.
3. Collect visa documents
For your Russian business visa, you will have to provide a genuine collection of your documents. For a business visa the following documents are required:
Passport (plus one copy);
Confirmation from a Russian tour operator;
Medical insurance confirmation;
Copy of the residence permit (non-CH citizens).
We provide tailored and always an up-to-date overview of the required documents on our website once you pick out your destination, visa type, number of entries and your nationality. Keep in mind that Russian tourist visas can only be a single or double entry. Double entry visas are issued only in cases if a person is travelling to neighbouring countries as well (you will also need a proof of travelling to these countries, like a ticket). The maximum validity of this visa is 30 days.
4. Schedule your appointment
Your next step is scheduling an appointment at the visa centre. You can do that on the VFS Global website and check if there are any open appointment slots. Make sure to bring your printed Appointment Letter with you to the VFS Global visa application centre in either Bern or Geneva. You cannot send your application by post.
5. Hand in your visa application
You can hand in your visa application no more than 90 days before your travel. Check if you have all the necessary documents. You will also have to pay a fee at the visa application centre for consular and service charges.
6. Pick up your visa
You can track the status of your visa on the VFS Global website. When picking up your passport and visa you will need to show the original receipt you received during your appointment. In case you don’t have the receipt, you will need to present your ID. If you cannot pick the passport yourself, you can send someone on your behalf, but they should also have your original receipt with them.
Please make sure to check the visa for completeness (name, travel dates, etc.).
7. Travel to Russia
Upon arrival, your visa will be voided and you cannot use it for any further entries (except double and multiple visas).
Applying for a visa requires a lot of time and good preparation. You can easily make a mistake or forget something and you might have to repeat the whole process.
You should, therefore, leave the visa applications to the professionals. Apply for your visa online with Viselio. Our intelligent system helps you fill the application form. After payment you will just need to print out the documents, sign them and send them to our visa centre in Bern. We will obtain the Russia visa on your behalf and we will provide you with a free medical insurance. Just a few days later you will have your passport and your processed visa at your door.