Travel to Russia requires a visa covering the duration of your stay in the country. Visas are issued by Russian Consulates in your home country, based on an invitation (a visa support letter) from a Russian party.
To obtain a Russian visa, you should submit the following papers to a Consular Section:
- Completed visa application form (one per person)
- Valid national passport (its validity should exceed the planned date of departure from Russia by 3 months)
- Three standard passport-size photographs
- Invitation from an authorised organisation
A Russian visa is a passport-sized paper document. It lists entry and exit dates, your passport number, any children travelling with you, and visa type. It also lists, but does not limit, the cities you are planning to visit. Your visa is also an exit permit, so if you lose it or stay longer than your visa stipulates, leaving the country may be rather complicated.
You will have to register your visa upon arrival in Russia. When you're checking in at the hotel, you submit your passport with the visa for hotel registration. It normally takes up to 1 hour to register a visa.
Visa extension is a complex procedure and only your Russian "sponsor" - the company which has arranged for your invitation letter - can secure its extension. It's better to ask for a few extra days in the invitation that can cushion your entrance and exit. It is next to impossible to extend a visa which has not been duly registered, and getting out of Russia with an unregistered visa could be a very expensive proposition.
Important to know: the visa fee is paid to the Consular service issuing visas in the respective country. Its cost varies.