As expected, new Russian/U.S. visa rules went into effect on Sunday, September 9, 2012. Here are some highlights of the new rules.
US citizens shall as a rule be issued multiple-entry business, private, humanitarian and tourist visas for a stay of no more than 6 months starting from the date of each entry that are valid for three years (36 months) from the date of issue of the visa.
The visas shall be issued based on direct written statements (faxed or electronic copies) from Russian or American host organization or individuals. No longer will U.S. citizens be required to provide formal, “registered” invitation letters when applying for Russian business visas or visas for private visits, although applicants seeking Russian tourist visas must continue to hold advance lodging reservations and arrangements with a tour operator. However, there are different requirements/written statements for Business Visas, Private Visa where a Russian citizen will be hosting a U.S. visitor, Humanitarian Visa, and Tourist Visa.
The full details on the different requirements for these four types of visas can be found on the Russian embassy web stie at –
There are no changes in the applications fees for Russian visas. However, both countries agreed to reduce to $20 the $100 issuance – or reciprocity – fee that is added to the application processing fees for business or tourism visas.
Also part of the agreement between the two countries is that a decision on a visa application, as a rule, is expected to be made within 15 calendar days from the date of the initiation of an application’s process.
Expedited processing may be reduced to 3 days, but additional documentation on the reason for the expedited application may be requested by the Russian consulate (Airplane, ship and train ticket are examples, but a last minute tourist tour, etc. shall not be considered an appropriate document).
The U.S. State Department also confirmed on its web site the visa agreement with the Russian Federation. Calling the agreement historic, the State Department said over 75,000 U.S. citizens travel to Russia annually, with most requiring visas. At the same time nearly 159,000 U.S. business and tourism visas were issued to Russians in fiscal year 2011
The full U.S. statement can be found at — http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2012/09/197476.htm
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