To visit Russia, Americans must obtain a sponsor and apply for a visa well in advance of their travel; while in the country, there is no legal method to apply for a visa. A migration card is another vital document that must be filled. This card is needed for employment registration and for some other purposes.
However, Russian citizens are free to visit America without a visa if they have a passport from one of these countries: Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Chile, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa.
In addition, people from more than 70 other countries can enter Russia with a visa-free entry permit. These include most European countries as well as many others including India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Mexico, Pakistan, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, Ukraine.
A tourist is allowed to stay in Russia for 90 days within any 180 day period. If you plan to stay longer than 90 days, you should consider getting a Russian residence permit.
Residence permits can be obtained at the Russian Embassy or Consulate in your home country by filling out an application form. An applicant may be required to provide evidence of health insurance, proof of income, and a letter of recommendation from a local authority member.
To enter Russia for any reason, a US citizen must have a valid US passport as well as a genuine visa granted by a Russian Embassy or Consulate. Because it is hard to receive an entrance visa on the spot, visitors must apply for their visas well in advance. The process takes about 10 days and costs $175 - $300.
There are two ways to get a Russian visa: online through an agency or directly at the embassy or consulate. The cost depends on how long you want to stay and which type of visa you need. A single-entry visa allows you to visit Russia once. If you want to come back, you will need to obtain another single-entry visa. A multiple-entry visa is necessary if you plan to visit Russia more than once.
Visa applications from citizens of certain countries require a special form. These include Australia, Canada, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, South Korea, Sweden, and Switzerland. If your country isn't listed here, don't worry; you can still apply for a visa. Just make sure that someone who can speak with the embassy staff members (for example, someone who is very close to you like a friend or relative) goes with you to help explain what's going on in your case.
Keep in mind that most travelers to Russia require a visa. It is not difficult to obtain one. All you have to do is apply for one at your nearest Russian embassy. However, you will require an invitation letter before you apply. The invitation should be signed by an official of the institution you wish to visit. This letter is useful because it guarantees a job for you while you are in Russia. If your employer fails to provide this letter, then you will not be able to work.
The invitation letter shouldn't be more than one page. It should include details about where you will be working and when you will leave Russia. Your employer must also submit a copy of their license or business registration certificate. This document serves as proof that they are legally allowed to hire foreign workers.
Your employment contract should also be included in your invitation letter. This contract should state how long you will stay in Russia and what position you will hold with the company. It is recommended that you keep this contract with you while you are applying for your visa.
When you apply for your visa, you will be required to fill out an online form. You can do this either at a Russian embassy or consulate office or through an agency that has been authorized by them to process such applications.
Your application may be processed quickly or it might take several months before you hear back from them.