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Russian Three Year Multiple Entry Visas 1 November 12

Posted by Jonathan V. Phillips in Visa News.
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Russian three year multiple entry visas.

The historic agreement between the Russian Foreign Ministry and the US State Department  regarding the issuance of long term multiple entry visas has been in effect for over a month. Initially there was some confusion surrounding the new visa process and some “grey” areas associated with processing these new visas. The past few weeks have seen a clarification of the process from the Embassy and the ILS processing centers as to what they will accept  as supporting documentation, and what they wont. Additionally, there has been a formalization  on  the exact information the supporting documents should contain. With these new directives and a standardization of the processing guidelines from the Russian Embassy, the issuance of these visas has now become routine.

It is important to note that not all Russian visas are being issued for a three year validity and multiple entries. Applicants are still being issued single, double and multiple one year (business only) visas if they elect to do so. These applicants  follow the same processing guidelines that existed prior to the introduction of the new three year visas. The advantage to not getting the new three year type visa is two fold. First, the cost of these “ordinary” visas are less and second, the processing times can be significantly shorter, especially if the visa request is utilizing  the mission critical or priority services. So, if you need to get to Russia in a hurry, applying for a three year visa may not be in your immediate interest.
For those that are applying for the long term Russian visas, the three year, multiple entry visas are available for the major categories of Russian visas. These categories being  business, tourist and homestay or private visas. Aside from being long term, as per the visa agreement between the USA and Russia, these visas can be issued with out the formally approved, top level invitation, which had been the practice for over twenty years. This is a  huge change from the previous existing status quo but has also been a source of confusion. Through some initial trial an error and with the recent clarifications from the Russian Embassy in Washington, G3 is able to advise clients with confidence on the correct procedures to follow, as well as potential pitfalls to avoid  when applying for the long term visas.
Currently the processing time for these requests is around sixteen business days. Which is the longest processing time for any type of Russian visa request. Although the processing times are the same for the three individual categories of multiple entry visas, there are subtle differences in procedure between each of the visa categories, business, tourist and homestay. It is best to address the three categories individually and list out the requirements based on visa type.

Three Year Multiple Entry Russian Business Visas:

Business travelers to Russia are most likely the largest group of travelers to benefit from these new long term visas. Requirements include the following;

  • two completed and signed visa applications,
  • two identical, frontal portrait style,color, passport type photos,
  • copies of any previously issued Russian visas (if applicable),
  • copy of  medical insurance card,
  • copy of the flight itinerary demonstrating the first trip into Russia,
  • original US passport with adequate validity for a three year visa.

Letters Supporting  Russian Three Year, Multiple Entry, Business Visas:

The business visa applicant is required to have two separate letters. One invitation letter issued by the Russian business entity and the other from the applicant’s employer. These letters are essentially the main supporting documents for business visa requests, replacing the previously required official invitation or telex from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is essential that they are in order and contain the precise  information the Embassy requires.  Incomplete or inadequate letters are cause for rejection, causing delays in the visa process.

The Business Letter:

The letter from the applicant’s employer should be original and be on company letterhead. Additionally, it is advised that the applicant should not sign their own letter, but rather it should have the original signature of a manager or company executive. The employer  business letter should contain the following details;

  • the name, date of birth, and  passport number of the applicant,
  • current position and the name of applicant’s business,
  • dates of entry and departure to and from Russia of the first trip,
  • cities to be visited and lodging information (hotel name) for each location,
  • purpose of trip (meetings,etc),
  • full name of business contact person in Russia,
  • contact information for the Russian business entity (address, telephone number),
  • a statement specifically requesting the issuance of a three year, multiple entry visa.

Russian Company Invitation Letter:

The second supporting document comes from the “duly registered Russian entity” with whom the applicant is conducting business with. This is the invitation letter from the Russian company. It does not have to original as emailed scans or good quality faxes are acceptable but it does have to be exact in it’s content. The Russian invitation business letter should contain the following items;

  • the full name of the Russian company as it appears on their corporate registration,
  • the registered, official address, telephone number and email address of the Russian company,
  • the full name and title of the business contact individual in Russia,
  • the US applicant’s, full name as printed in the passport, country of citizenship (USA), passport number, passport validity dates, and the passport issuing authority,
  • the applicant’s birth date (day, month, year) and birth location (city, country) ,
  • a statement of request for a three year, multiple entry visa, referencing the full dates of the  entirety of the visa request,
  • a statement regarding the purpose of the trip (ie, business meetings),
  • full name and  address of the hotel or residence where the applicant will reside while in Russia,
  • cities to be visited on the first trip ( should have a hotel listed for each city to be visited).

Three Year Multiple Entry Russian Tourist Visas:

For the first time since the creation of the Russian Federation from the Soviet Union, US tourist travelers to Russia are offered more than two entries as a visa option. In addition to being multiple entry, this new visa category is long term. Issued for a three year validity, the new multiple entry tourist visas allow stays in Russia for up to six months at a time. To obtain one, the following items are required;

  • two completed and signed visa applications,
  • two identical, frontal portrait style,color, passport type photos,
  • copies of any previously issued Russian visas (if applicable),
  • copy of a medical insurance card,
  • a tourist voucher and confirmation document from a registered Russian tour company or hotel,
  • copy of the flight itinerary demonstrating the first trip and departure to and from Russia,
  • original US passport with adequate validity for a three year visa.

Russian Tourist Voucher:

This is the same document that has been part of the standard tourist visa requirements for the past twenty years. G3 is able to provide this document on the behalf of our travelers as part of our Russia visa services. The tour voucher should demonstrate the first trip into Russia and is valid for up to thirty days and  can issued with a single or double entry option. Although, the validity of the voucher and the  number of entries is for less than a month and for either single or double entry, those items are moot once the application is accepted as the visa is issued for a long term and multiple entries.

Personal Letter of Request:

The embassy requires applicants for three year multiple entry tourist visas to right a letter requesting one. As part of the G3 CLS service, we compile this document on behalf our clients. The letter to the embassy/consulate general contains the following;

  • a statement specifically requesting the issuance of a three year, multiple entry, tourist visa,
  • dates of first trip into and from Russia,
  • Russian cities to be visited (should match cities listed on the tour voucher/confirmation),
  • name as printed in the passport,
  • nationality (should be USA),
  • passport number,
  • city and country of birth,
  • passport issue and expire dates,
  • US address.

Three Year Multiple Entry Russian Homestay Visas:

Homestay or Private visas used to involve an original Izveshenie document issued from the Russian host’s local OVIR authority. The new visa agreement has changed this requirement so that a notarized letter from the host is acceptable. Interestingly, this letter can be also issued from non Russian citizens, legally residing in Russia. Non Russian hosts who want to issue an invitation for a US citizen to visit should have the Russian Permit to Stay. Applicants requesting multiple entry, thee year, homestay  visas should provide the following,

  • two completed and signed visa applications,
  • two identical, frontal portrait style,color, passport type photos,
  • copies of any previously issued Russian visas (if applicable),
  • copy of a medical insurance card,
  • notarized invitation from host in Russia,
  • copy of the flight itinerary demonstrating the first trip and departure to and from Russia,
  • original US passport with adequate validity for a three year visa.

Personal Letter of  Request:

The embassy requires applicants for three year, multiple entry, homestay visas to provide a letter requesting that the long term visa be issued. As part of the G3 CLS service, we create this letter on behalf of the client. This letter of request should  contain the following items;

  • a statement specifically requesting the issuance of a three year, multiple entry, homestay visa,
  • dates of first trip into and from Russia,
  • Russian cities to be visited (should match cities listed on the invitation from host in Russia),
  • name as printed in the passport,
  • nationality (should be USA),
  • passport number,
  • city and country of birth,
  • passport issue and expire dates,
  • US address
  • name, address, passport number,and  nationality of the inviting host in Russia.

Notarized Invitation:

This document from the host in Russia needs to be notarized. It can be issued by a Russian citizen or a legal Russian resident. This includes, but is not limited to, persons residing in Russia with long term work permits, long term student visas or members of the diplomatic corps stationed in the Russian Federation. The invitation document should include the following items,

  • Full name of the invitor in Russia as well as their,
  • date of birth,
  • sex,
  • citizenship,
  • nationality,
  • passport number,
  • official address of registration,
  • and actual address of residence.
  • The invitee’s full name as printed in their passport,
  • date of birth,
  • passport number and nationality (USA).
  • A statement requesting the three year, multiple entry visa and purpose of travel (private visa),
  • dates of first trip into and from Russia,
  • cities to be visited,
  • and the intended address of stay for the invitee.

Russian Three Year Multiple Entry Visas Summary:

The time it takes to process these new multiple entry, three year visas is quite long in comparison to the processing times for the other Russian visa categories. Currently the Russian consular offices are issuing these visas in no less than 16 business days. The consular staff have also been quite strict about the regulations. Items like the enforcing the exact content of the letters, passport validaties,etc have all been cause for rejection for applicants. Although these rejections aren’t permanent or final as they are approved once the letters meet their standard. It is important to have everything from the application to the supporting letters be perfect or a visa applicant can experience processing delays in an already long process.

Travelers utilizing G3 Visas & Passport’s CLS Russian visa services have a higher chance of success obtaining three year visas. These visa requests see intense scrutiny by the Russian consular officials reviewing applications. Our knowledge and professional staff can navigate these exacting nuances and see to it your visa is issued on time and accurate to your travel to Russia. Instructions for the three year visas are available for download from the G3 forms page. Please feel free to contact our national offices or email your specific questions directly to our Russian visa experts at Russia@G3Visas.com.

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