According to the agreement signed on the 10th of August 2012 between Russia and the US, citizens of the both countries can now get long-term 36-month visas following a simplified procedure. In practice, however, things are a bit more complicated and here we explain everything you need to do to get a 3-year visa to Russia. In short, the easiest way to get this type of visa is to obtain a standard visa support letter
for 30 days, but to then specify a 3-year long period in your actual visa application form that you submit to the consulate with the visa support letter. So the starting date of your visa would be on the day your visa support starts, but the end date would be not in 30 days, but in 3 years. We recommend to get the visa support documents through the advertisers on this site
as we are 100% sure those are accepted by the Russian consulates in the US to issue the 3-year long visas.
You can get this type of visa to Russia only if you are an American citizen. However, you can apply in any consulate around the world given that you have a residence permit that allows you to stay in that country longer than 3 months.
Step 1: Get a Business, Private or Tourist Invitation
In order to apply for the long-term 3-year Russian visa, you still need an invitation
. However, the formal requirements for such invitation are much lower and depend on the purpose of your visit.
If you're traveling for tourism or if you don't want to get into the trouble of asking your business partners or friends writing the letter for you, you can still get a standard tourist invitation letter and then use it to apply for a long-term 36-month tourist visa. This can be done through many different services, including the online Russian visa support advertised on this site. Note, that the invitation will still be issued for not more than 30 days, however, you can use it to get a long-term visa. Also, be prepared that because the tourist invitation has the financial guarantee only for 1 month the consulate might ask you a proof that you have sufficient funds for your travels (a bank statement or your pay slips would do). You will also need to show that you have medical travel insurance for that period.
If you're traveling mainly for business, you can ask your business partners in Russia to write you a business invitation on the letterhead of their company and send you a scan by e-mail. That should normally be enough. The invitation letter can be written in free form, it does not have to have notary proof, and should contain the following:
- The company's name, address, registration number, stamp, signature of the director;
- Your name, year of birth, passport number, passport validity dates;
- The request to grant you a 3-year multiple-entry visa;
- That dates of your planned visits to Russia (you can change this later, however, the data in the invitation should have the precise dates and also list the hotels or places where you will be staying during your visit);
- The company should also state that according to Federal Law 115 (25.07.2002) and Federal Law 167 (24.03.2003) it will ensure that you will have sufficient funds for your stay in Russia during your visits, that it will provide your medical travel insurance for Russia (you can also do it yourself), and will pay the necessary costs in case of emergency.
If you're traveling to visit friends, they should provide a private invitation letter for you that should also have a notary proof (this can be done at any notary office in Russia for a small fee of about $5-$10). This letter can be written in free form and should contain the following:
- The name of the person who is inviting you, their full passport details, year of birth;
- Their official registration address (they should also state that you will be staying at that address);
- The planned dates of your visit to Russia (these can change after);
- That they will financially support you during your stay;
- Notary proof stamp and signature;
Step 2: Apply for a Long-Term 3-Year Russian Visa
Now that you have an invitation, you can apply for the Russian visa. The first rule, and the most important one, is that you should specify exactly the same information in your Russian visa application form
(available on the consulate's website) as in your invitation. Especially the inviting party and the dates of your intended travel. If you have a tourist invitation that is only valid for 30 days, you should still specify the intended dates of your travel during the next 3 years. Don't worry if your plans change: eventually you will have a 36-month visa, which enables you to stay 180 days a year in Russia and you will be able to travel there when you want.
Once you have the invitation and you filled out the application form, your passport, photos, and other supporting documents, you can go to the consulate to apply for the Russian visa. The current charge is $160 US for 14-day processing and $450 US for urgent 3-day processing. Note that we don't recommend to apply for urgent processing because Russian consulates will usually ask much more documents and request you to prove why it's so urgent for you travel so soon. So in the end it might be not worth it.