Hello Talk Lounge,
I am looking for some assistance as I will soon be exiting Russia on an existing, unrelated visa, and re-applying for a multi-entry Business Visa in Prague. I am an American citizen, working for a Swedish company, whose partner has an office registered in SPb. Therefore, the partner would like to provide me with an invitation for a business visa in order for me to be an available resource as much as possible. They are ready and willing to prepare the needed invitation (visa support letter) immediately, however, are in need of understanding what exactly is needed to be included on this form. Here is a list of questions I have which I would greatly appreciate some experienced guidance with.
1. As an American citizen, I understand that a 3-year Business Visa is available, as long as your passport has at least 6-months remaining after your Russian visa will expire. In my case, where my passport will actually expire in about two years, would that mean that the consulate will then instead consider the 3-year Business visa up to the term remaining on my passport validity, minus the final 6-months? For example, if I have 26 months remaining, the visa would then be considered for only 20 months? And with that being the case, should I apply for only those 20-months understanding this, or is it standard practice to apply for the 3-year term, allowing the consulate to make the adjustment in their decision of approval?
2. Can any registered Russian company provide this invitation as required by the consulate, or must it be a letter first submitted and processed, then provided by some Russian authority? For example, can our partner simply prepare this letter themselves, on company letterhead, and then provide me with the original and any necessary copies to submit myself directly to the chosen consulate? Or if not, what would be the required process?
3. I understand that in the case of a business visa, some consulates may require a letter from your employer confirming you work for the company and travel to Russia for business purposes. Again, is there an example available of this specific letter which my Swedish employer can use as a guide in preparing our own? Additionally, can the purpose of the visit be listed as general as "business", or what specifics are required? The need of my attendance will have me in Russia more than outside of Russia, spending the majority of my time with our Russian business partner. What specific purpose should be documented? "Exploring business opportunity"?
4. What exact restrictions are standard on visits with the multi-entry Business Visa for American citizens? For example, is there a single border crossing requirement every 180 days? Is there a 90-day in / 90-day out (of which would not be suitable for our need)? Again, I know that American citizens are different from other applicants, and am looking for the specific restrictions on American citizens.
5. Are pre-selected dates of said visits required to be stated at the time of the visa application submittal? How does this work if the dates change? Would it be acceptable for these intended dates of my visits to Russia to span months at a time?
6. Are additional documents needed in the application process for this specific visa. As in bank statements, health insurance? Or is the invitation, visa application, valid passport, letter from employer confirming employment and purpose of business travel to Russia, HIV certificate, and applicant photos all that would be required? Of course, I understand that additional documents may be requested at any time, however, I mean in standard processing, where exceptions are not requested.
Additional questions for useful information:
1. What is the standard processing time of the 3-year multi-entry Business Visa for American citizens? I have seen posted as little as 6 days at the price of $160. Is this accurate information, or is there something more current?
2. Upon receiving the visa and re-entering Russia, where can I get registered, and for how long does a single registration last (e.g. 30 days, the length of your visit)? Can I avoid requiring the owner of my rented accommodation from doing so? Can my inviting partner do this easily through the post office or local police?
I would truly appreciate any assistance available regarding these detailed questions. I have tried my best to research them myself before presenting them here, in order not to waste anyone's time. However, my employer has left me to do most of the legwork on this and with limited Russian, it has not been as easy as expected. Or at the very least, I would prefer to have confirmation to some of the otherwise suggested information I have received in the process. Anyone who has their own personal experience of being the applicant or employer in a similar process would be invaluable.
Thank you kindly.