If you plan to travel to Russia for a short time (up to 8 calendar days), you can apply for a so-called Russian e-visa online. The Russian e-visa will be issued after a few days (usually about 4 days) electronically, so you won't need to visit the Russian consulate: the whole application process can be done online.
The new e-visa can be obtained only if you plan to visit certain territories in Russia, provided that you are a national of certain countries. For all other territories and all other countries you would need to get a standard tourist or business visa
. Note, that you can only enter Russia by plane, by car, by ferry or by foot with this type of visa. It is not valid for train journeys. In July 2020 it was decided that electronic Russian visa will be extended to all the terriroties starting from January 1 2021 (its period of validity will be 16 days instead of 8 during any 60-day period — see the source
You can order a Russian e-visa not earlier than 20 days and no later than 4 days before the start of the visa's validity.
The Russian e-visa is free of charge, but some travel agencies charge $49 for the application process. What they do for this price is filling out the form for you and checking your documents. This is, however, unnecessary, and you'll basically spend the same time doing it yourself but it will cost you nothing. Just make sure you get the spelling of your name correctly, that your travel dates do not exceed 8 calendar days (so if you arrived on Monday you can leave not later than next Monday), and that the purpose of your trip is listed to be either "tourism", "business" or "humanitarian" (sports, science, art, technological exchange). If you write "visiting friends", you'll need a different type of visa.
If you are traveling for longer than 8 calendar days, want to visit the cities other than St. Petersburg, or come from the USA, UK, Australia or any other country that's not part of the e-visa program, you can get your Russian visa using the standard procedure after you get the Russian visa support documents
Get your Russian Visa Support Online
Russian E-Visa for St. Petersburg and Kaliningrad Region
The new e-visa for St. Petersburg (and the Leningrad / St. Petersburg region) as well as Kaliningrad region was introduced in October 2019 and it is valid for the citizens of the most EU countries (except for UK), Norway, most Eastern European countries that are not part of the EU, India, Taiwan, Turkey, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Iran and Singapore. UK and US citizens cannot apply for an e-visa and will need to instead get a standard tourist or business visa
The e-visa is a single entry visa, which is issued for a 30-day period, during which you can stay in St. Petersburg and St. Petersburg region (or Kaliningrad region) for up to 8 calendar days. So if you decide to travel to Moscow from St. Petersburg this is not allowed and while there are no active checks between the cities if you do get controlled you will be effectively breaking the immigration law. You have to leave from the same place you arrived to (St. Petersburg or Kaliningrad in this case).
Note, that the 8-day period is not calculated in hours. For example, if you had a visa valid from 22 July to 21 August 2019, you can enter Russia any time within this time span and stay up to 8 days. So if you entered on the 1st of August 2019 at 1pm, the latest you cross the Russian border on the way back is on the 8th of August at 23:59, not 1pm 9th of August or 21st of August 2019.
You don't need an invitation or visa support or any hotel reservations to get the Russian e-visa. To apply, simply go to the official Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs e-visa application form — evisa.kdmid.ru — choose your country, the region you want to visit, and apply online.
Make sure you also get your travel insurance — it is required for all the EU citizens when you travel to Russia and the approximate cost is €9-€15 for 8 days.
Apply for an e-visa to St. Petersburg
Russian E-Visa for the Far East: Vladivostok and Siberia
The special e-visa can also be obtained for visiting Far East: Vladivostok, Khabarovsk, Buryatia (Ulan-Ude and the eastern shore of Baikal), Sakhalin, Kamchatka, Amur region and Zabaikalsky krai.
This type of e-visa is only available to the citizens of EU, Switzerland, Norway and some Asian countries, including Taiwan, Japan, India, Korea, Mexico, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Malaysia. The e-visa for Far East cannot be obtained by the UK or USA citizens. The e-visa is valid for 30 days during which you can enter the specific territory you selected when applying for your e-visa for maximum 8 days. You cannot travel to other Russian region on that visa and have to stay within the region that issued the visa for you.
You can apply not earlier than 20 days and not later than 4 days before the start of the visa online on the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website — evisa.kdmid.ru
Don't forget to get your travel insurance
for Russia as it is required for the Russian e-visa as well. The approximate cost is about €15 for 8 days.
Apply for an e-visa to Far East
Russian Visa for all Other Regions and Nationals
If you are a UK or US citizen or if you want to visit the regions that are not part of the e-visa program (like Moscow or Irkutsk region and Baikal lake, for example), you can still get your Russian visa online.
In order to do that, you first need to
1. Get a Russian visa support letter (invitation), which is obtained almost instantly online after you fill out the form on our Tourist Visa Support
2. Once you get your visa support document in your e-mail, you need to fill out the electronic visa application form on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website: visa.kdmid.ru
3. After you fill out that form and get the visa application number, you need to book an appointment at one of the official Russian visa centers using ILS / VHS
if you plan to apply in the US, Asia and most EU states (including Germany and France) and VFS Global
for the UK.
4. Usually you can visit the visa center within a few days. The appointment lasts about 10 minutes, you just need to submit the visa support and the application along with your passport and photos. You might need to present travel insurance valid for a Russian visa
5. In 2 weeks you will get your passport back with the visa (usually €35). For an extra fee (about €50) you can have your visa done in a few days.
6. If you would not like to go to the consulate yourself, you can collect the documents in the section 1 and 2 and then contact a local travel agency. They will still need to pick your passport though, so in the end you won't save too much time but it will cost you extra.
Get your Russian Visa Support Online