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All About the Visa Requirements for Russians

The visa requirements for Russians encompass all the terms and conditions that apply to Russian passport-holders when it comes to visiting another country.

Each country worldwide has specific entry requirements for Russians in place that will generally fall into one of these categories: visa-free, eVisa (Electronic Visa), Visa on Arrival (VoA), or visa from an embassy. It’s important to keep in mind that certain factors, such as the purpose of your trip and your intended length of stay, could impact which type of entry pass you’ll need to apply for.

According to Henley’s Passport Index, the Russian passport ranks 48th in terms of global freedom of movement, with visa-free or VoA access to 120 countries. These include Costa Rica, Peru, and Turkey.

Moreover, the length of stay granted to Russian visitors varies from country to country, and depends on the destination’s entry requirements for Russian citizens. For instance, in visa-free destinations it ranges from 14 days to 6 months.

On this page, you will discover the different types of entry passes that exist and what each one means, as well as which policies Russian tourists must abide by to visit each country.

Before we dive in, you should keep in mind that the requirements outlined in this article are for people travelling for tourism, business or to visit relatives. When going abroad to work, study or for other reasons, different conditions will apply.

How Many Russia Visa-Free Countries Are There?

Russian citizens can visit over 120 countries without a visa or by obtaining a simple Visa on Arrival (VoA). Before we see which countries are visa-free for Russians, let’s take a look at what the different requirements mean:

  • Visa-exempt: this means you can travel to the country with just your passport, without needing to obtain any form of authorisation.
  • VoA: this document is issued upon arrival in the country and entails filling out a short form.
  • Embassy visa: this type of permit is issued by an embassy or consulate, and you will need to provide a series of forms and documents when you apply.

Top Destinations for Russian Passport Holders

Looking for some inspiration for your next holiday? Here are some of the top destinations for Russian-passport holders.

Azerbaijan China Cuba
Cyprus Czech Republic Estonia
Finland France Georgia
Germany Greece Hungary
Italy Lithuania Kazakhstan
Poland Portugal Qatar
Spain Thailand Tunisia
Turkey Ukraine United Arab Emirates

Which Are the Russia Visa-Exempt Countries?

Here’s the list of Russian passport visa-free countries:

If you were wondering what countries can Russian citizens visit without a visa, simply check the list above. Russians can visit all of these countries with just a valid passport, without needing to get any kind of travel permit such as an eVisa, a VoA or a visa from an embassy.

However, other conditions may apply, so you should always check the entry policies of your destination before travelling. For instance, some countries may ask you to show proof of return flight tickets or accommodation bookings.

What’s more, most countries worldwide require your passport to be valid for at least 6 months beyond your stay in the country, regardless of whether you need a visa or not. Some countries may have their own passport validity policies, so don’t forget to check the government website.

Even if you are visiting a country that is visa-free for Russian passports, you will only be allowed to stay for a certain period of time. In particular, you will be granted a number of days in the country based on your nationality, the purpose of your trip and the policies of the destination. If you wish to stay longer than the visa-free period granted to you, you will need to apply for a visa.

Don’t forget that these policies regarding visa-free countries for Russian citizens only apply in the event you are travelling for tourism, to visit friends and family, and often for business trips too. Meanwhile, you will likely need a visa if you wish to work, immigrate to the country or visit for other purposes.

The list of Russian passport visa-free countries includes a wide range of countries spanning all over the world, from Africa, to Asia and South America. So if you are looking for a holiday destination that doesn’t require a visa for Russian citizens, you will be spoilt for choice.

Visa Requirements for Russian Citizens: Visa on Arrival (VoA)

Here is the list of countries that Russian citizens can travel to by obtaining a VoA:

Bangladesh Comoros Gabon
Guinea-Bissau Lebanon Maldives
Marshall Islands Mauritania Mozambique
Nauru Senegal Somalia
Timor-Leste Togo Tonga
Tuvalu United Arab Emirates Zambia

Among the different categories of visa requirements for Russians, the VoA is a relatively easy permit to obtain. This travel document is issued directly at the border, so you won’t need to worry about visiting embassies or trying to get your travel authorisation document before travelling.

In the case of a VoA, you go to an immigration desk upon your arrival in the destination. Look out for a paper form to fill out before reaching the desk. At the desk, you will be asked for your passport and the form. In some cases, you may be asked some questions regarding your stay or to provide supporting documents, such as return flight tickets or accommodation bookings.

Even though the process is quite straightforward, it can involve queuing, so be prepared for this when you arrive. The application forms are often handed out during flights, so we advise you to take a form and fill it out before landing, to facilitate the process.

In addition, make sure you have some cash on you, as you may need to pay a fee for the VoA. In some countries, the fee must be paid in cash in the local currency, so it’s a good idea to exchange some money before travelling.

Embassy or Consulate Visa Requirements for Russian Citizens

Here is the full list of countries where Russian citizens must get a visa from a diplomatic mission to enter:

Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania
Algeria American Samoa Andorra
Antarctica Aruba Australia
Austria Belgium Belize
Bermuda Bhutan Bonaire
British Indian Ocean Territory British Virgin Islands Bulgaria
Burkina Faso Burundi Cameroon
Canada Cayman Islands Central African Republic
Chad China Christmas Island
Cocos Islands Congo Cook Islands
Croatia Curacao Czech Republic
Democratic Republic of the Congo Denmark Equatorial Guinea
Eritrea Estonia Falkland Islands
Faroe Islands Finland France
French Guiana French Polynesia Germany
Ghana Gibraltar Greece
Greenland Guadeloupe Guernsey
Hungary Iceland Iraq
Ireland Isle of Man Italy
Japan Jersey Kiribati
Latvia Liberia Libya
Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg
Mali Malta Martinique
Mayotte Monaco Montserrat
Netherlands New Caledonia Niger
Niue Norfolk Island North Korea
Northern Mariana Islands Norway Pitcairn Islands
Poland Portugal Puerto Rico
Republic of Cyprus Reunion Romania
Saint Barthelemy Saint Helena Saint Martin
Saint Pierre and Miquelon San Marino Sint Maarten
Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands Spain Sudan
Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Sweden
Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Tokelau
Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands United Kingdom
United States United States Virgin Islands Vatican City
Wallis and Futuna Yemen

If a visa is required for Russian citizens, you will need to make arrangements in advance before visiting the destination. This process can be time-consuming, since you generally need to go to an embassy or consulate of the country you wish to visit to apply for your travel permit. Postal applications may be accepted in some places, although either way, you will need to start the process several weeks before your intended trip.

To be granted this kind of visa, you will need to provide a series of documents, along with an application form and your passport. What documents you need to provide and the format of the application form vary from country to country. As such, be sure to check the specific requirements of your destination before going to the embassy or consulate.

It may take some time for your application to be processed, before you can collect your passport with the country’s entry authorisation inside it. Moreover, you should take into account that embassy visas tend to have higher fees. On the plus side, you can usually choose a Multiple Entry permit, which means that once you have your pass, you can visit the country multiple times without going through the application process again.

Finally, the length of stay of your visa can vary significantly and is decided by each country. The permitted length is typically between 30 and 90 days, though It will also be different depending on whether you opt for a Single Entry or Multiple Entry document.

Countries Where a Visa for Russians Is Not Permitted

Currently, there are no countries with permanent bans for Russian visitors. However, some countries have certain conditions and restrictions in place that you should be aware of:

  • Although Russians enjoy visa-free access to Israel, this exemption does not apply to Russian service or diplomatic passports.
  • If you have an Israeli stamp in your passport, you will likely be banned from entering countries of the Arab League such as Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.
  • To get a visa for Bhutan, you must book a guided tour with a registered tour operator.
  • Russia’s government advises against travel to Georgia, as there is no diplomatic representation in the country. However, according to Georgia’s visa policies, Russians may visit visa-free for up to 1 year.

On the bright side, you can visit the following territories without an international passport, using your Russian Internal Passport:

  • Abkhazia
  • Armenia
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • South Ossetia

Countries with Upcoming New Visas in 2022

All over the world, more and more countries are moving towards Electronic Visas. We can expect to see an increasing number of visa application systems turning digital in the years to come. This will make it much easier to obtain the permits you need for travelling to certain destinations.

  • Japan is due to introduce a new eVisa system in the foreseeable future.
  • South Africa is also expected to introduce its new eVisa system in 2022.
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