Russian Visa

How much is a Russian visa? What is the best way to get one? How long does it normally take to get one?


  • We took this trip in May 2012. I don't recall any cost for the visa in St. Petersburg and all was handled by Tauck. This is a great tour!
  • Our trip to Russia was in June of 2013, and the visa process is a good bit more complicated than JPM's response might lead you to believe. Although our trip was a riverboat trip with GCT, if you look at the Need to Know portion of Tauck's tour, the procedure that has to be followed is pretty much the same no matter which tour company you use. First, you have to have a letter of invitation from Russia. GCT got that for us and Tauck will get it for you. Then, you have to fill out a rather complicated form for each person and submit it not more than 90 days ahead of time to a visa processing company, along with the necessary amounts of money. Our visas were $250 each plus a processing fee. The applications, along with your passports, have to be mailed a specific way to the proper agency. It takes several weeks for the visas to be processed. When everything was returned to us, we had to sign for the package. We were in gorgeous St. Petersburg in 2001, and getting through the entry, as well as exit, procedures took a long, long time. We came and left by land both times. This time we flew in and out and the process was no more difficult than it is in any of the other countries we've been in, much to our delight and great relief. Although our tour was not as luxurious as Tauck's will be, we had a wonderful time visiting both gorgeous St. Petersburg and lovely Moscow. We've taken 5 Tauck tours, so we know Tauck will treat you wonderfully well!
  • There is an exception for this trip, lovestravel.

    From Tauck's Need to Know:
    A visa is not required for citizens of the U.S. or Canada for entry into Russia on this itinerary, as long as you remain with the organized Tauck excursions in St. Petersburg. If you intend to engage in independent activities or tour on your own while in St. Petersburg, you must obtain a Russian visa and show proof of medical insurance prior to leaving the U.S.

    From the U.S. Department of State:
    You are permitted to visit Russian ports without a visa for a period of up to 72 hours. You may go ashore without a visa during port calls, but only if you are with an organized tour and accompanied at all times by a tour operator who has been duly licensed by Russian authorities. Cruise ship and ferry lines offer shore tours that meet these requirements. If you want to do sightseeing on your own, you must have a visa.
  • Mea culpa, Leigh. Obviously I'm wrong about that particular tour with Tauck. However, if you take Tauck's tour that includes both St. Petersburg and Moscow, you do need a visa, so what I posted about the difficulties of obtaining one do hold true.
  • After all this discussion, this information can be confusing. No visa is required on this itinerary. Comments about the cost and acquisition of a visa should be directed to the Tauck land tour that includes Moscow. So, please post only where appropriate as to not confuse others on this cruise. It would be appreciated.
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