FThe 1st of August 2023, the russian government lauchned (or relaunched) its electronic visa AKA the e-visa, for citizens of 56 countries. It’s an easy, cheap and great opportunity to travel to Russia if you ask me.
Despite all the troubles that comes with travelling to/around the Russian Federation these days, this e-visa it makes more accessible than ever for us, foreign tourists !
In this post you will learn everything there is to know about the russian e-visa, how to apply for it in a step by step guide (+ video tutorial) and the valid border crossings.
Last updated 28/11/2023
The e-visa in details
The russian e-visa is a 16 days (15 nights) single entry visa valid on the whole territory of Russia for nationals of 56 countries (listed below) including those of the European Union.
It is valid for 60 days so you can enter whenever you want winthin a 2 months period (note : you can stay 16 days as long as it fits in the 60 days visa validity).
There are specific border crossing points from which you can enter and exit with this e-visa , that includes the major ariports in Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Sochi, but also land border crossings like Narva/Ivangorod with Estonia. See the full detailed list below.
You can apply for the e-visa for tourism purposes but also business, private and various events (scientific, cultural, political, and sports).
Your passport must be valid 6 months beyond the intended date of travel to Russia.
Which countries are elligible for the russian e-visa ?
Nationals of 56 countries can apply for the e-visa in 2023.
Citizens of the UK, USA, Morocco, Algeria and other african countries cannot apply for the russian e-visa. (Note : russian authorities speak of adding more eligible countries to the list)
• South Korea
• North Macedonia
• San Marino
• Saudi Arabia
Contrary to a full visa label sticked on the passport, the e-visa doesn’t allow you to enter Russia from any checkpoint you want. There are exactly almost a hundred approved border crossing points from which you can enter and exit the country : by air, land (on foot and with vehicule), river and sea.
If you try to enter OR exit Russia via a checkpoint not approved by the governement you will simply get denied. Yes, even the exit.
You can enter Russia overland from Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Finland, Georgia, Mongolia, China and North Korea with an e-visa.
You cannot enter Russia overland from the following countries with an e-visa :
• Ukraine : for obvious reasons
• Belarus : there’s no checkpoints between the two countries, even with a regular visa, as a third country national you cannot cross the border simply because there is none.
• Abkhazia : there’s only one way in and out between Russia and Abkhazia (same with Georgia), you must have a double entry visa to travel there from the RF.
• Azerbaijan : all azeri land borders are closed since the pandemic (they should open in January 2024 according to officials).
• Kazakhstan : kazakh people have entrance free to Russia, so there is no valid entry point with an e-visa as locals don’t need one either way.
• Norway : I guess not many people would travel all the way up there.
You can enter from one checkpoint and exit from a different one.
Disclaimer : some airports are currently closed due to their proximity with Ukraine.
Pedestrian border crossing
Land border crossing by car / bus
Land border crossing by train
Disclaimer : there are no trains running between Russia and european countries (Finland, Estonia etc) at the moment.
River border crossing by ferry
Disclaimer : these sea ports have a passenger terminal, and some are only for cruise ships, so it doesn’t mean there are international ferries travelling there.
E.g : Sochi doesn’t have any international boat connections with Georgia, Crimea, Ukraine nor Turkey, only cruise ships travel there.
On the kdmid’s website the river port of Khabarovsk (Khabarosvk Krai bordering China accross the Amur River) is listed, however I could’t find any information online about any passenger terminal, let alone an international border crossing point. Feel free to share in the comments if you have any information about it.
Here are all the valid entry and exit points pinned on a map.
How much is the russian e-visa ?
The russian e-visa costs 195 emirati dirham or 374 chinese yuan, which is 53US$ and 50€ at the time of writing.
Yes, United Arab Emirates dirham or chinese yuan … When I read online about the e-visa I couldn’t find the proper price, only websites saying it was “about 50US$”; I was really wondering how come it was in US$ first and also how the payment will proceed considering western banking systems do not work in Russia anymore.
Here is the answer : the payment goes through Amazon Payment via the United Arab Emirates (like India paying its russian oil via Dubai-based traders) or via lianlian payment. It seems to depend. The emirati dirham is pegged to the US Dollar so the price should be stable.
Fror the written version, see below the video
How to apply for the russian e-visa ?
Here is a step by step guide on how to apply online for the russian e-visa in 2023. I’ll take you through all the steps of the application with tips to overcome the potential problems.
Disclaimer : some of the questions might blow your mind but, hey, “this is Russia” (the answer to all the ‘whys’ in that country).
Scroll down and agree to the conditions
Scroll down the page and agree to all 3 conditions.
Click “Fill out a new application form”
Sign in or Log in
Sign in or log in if you already have an account.
Signing in is quick, you will receive a validation email within a couple of minutes. Then click “Next”
“Apply for a new e-visa”
Click on “Apply for a new e-visa” (unless you already have a pending application).
Get your ID application number
You will get a unique ID number for your e-visa application. Write it down somewhere or screenshot it, then click “Next”.
Upload your ID photo
Upload an ID picure of yourself.
Sounds easy, but in fact, it wasn’t for me. This blurred picture isn’t me (I’m a female and have no beard he). I’ve tried with 2 different ID pictures of me and got various error messages such as : “Picture blurred“, “The photo must be taken against a light white or blue, uniform background” and “The size of the face exceeds the maximum admissible size (photo taken at too short range)” …
Now, it was a proper ID picture that I used (I’ve applied multiple visas with the same one). It seems that the regular size of ID pictures (the ones you get from a regular photo booth) which is 35×45 mm is correct, however, it is too close, there needs to be more background behind you.
The size of this “fake” picture I used for the purpose of this post is bigger, then I zoom the face in to fit the requirements.
If you don’t appload a photograph, you cannot click “Next” to the following steps of the application.
Upload a copy of you passport data page
Upload a copy of your passport data page (a proper scan, not a picture taken with your smartphone & flash).
You must select your country in the list of all eligible countries to the e-visa. For some you must also select a “type” of passport. I’m french and I had a choice between 3 types (a year in fact : 2013, 2019 or 2023), but I wasn’t ever aware until then that we had different “types” of passport.
If it applies to your country and you select the wrong type then appload the data page of your passport, it will not match. I’ve tried all three and got the same error message anyway.
If you believe the copy of your passport is correct, fully visible and readable, then just click “Skip”.
Fill up your personal details
After you uploaded a copy of your passport you must fill up your personal details carefully.
• Passport number : as shown on your passport.
• Date of issue & date of expiry : Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months from the time of application.
• Issuing Authority : write down exactly as it is on your passport.
• Surname (as shown in the upper machine readable line of your passport) : write down your surname(s), without any accent mark or letters that aren’t in the english alphabet.
• Given Name(s) (as shown in the upper machine readable line of your passport) : write down all your names (for example I’ve got 3 (french)) as they appear on your passport, no comma, no accents nor letters that aren’t in the english alphabet.
• Surname (as shown in the visual inspection zone of your passport) : write down your surname(s) again, but this time with accent marks and any non-english letters (E.g. é, ø … ) if there are. If not, just re-write them like previously.
• Given Name(s), patronymic name (if any) (as shown in the visual inspection zone of your passport) : write down all your names again as they appear on your passport, no comma, but this time with accent marks and any non-english letters (e.g. é, ø … ) if there are. If not, just re-write them like previously.
• Sex : choose between male or female. This is Russia, they don’t do neutral or whatever else gender there.
• Date of birth : enter your date of birth as such DD.MM.YYYY
• Country of birth : Select the country you were born in.
• Were you born in the USSR or in the Russian Federation? Select “yes” if you were born in a former soviet country or in Russia. If not, select “no”
• Place of birth : Write down your place of birth, E.g.”Paris, France”
• Personal identification number (if available) : no idea what it is, skip this one
• Do you currently have or have you ever had other personal data? If you’ve changed you last name due to mariage, divorce or other reason, write it down. If not, just say nelect “no”.
• Do you currently have another citizenship (other citizenships)? Select “no” if you don’t, or “yes” and add the details of your other citizenship(s).
• Have you ever held any other nationality? Select “no” if you don’t, or “yes” and add the details of your previous nationality.
Fill up your visit details
• Purpose of the trip : select the purpose of your visit to Russia; if you visit family “guest visit” is the best option, for regular travel select “tourism” etc choose the one that suits your trip.
I highly recommend you to avoid selecting “participation in social and political events” if you want to avoid an FSB intervew on arrival.
• Description of the purpose of the trip to the Russian Federation : write “travel” if you’re there for regular tourism.
• Intended date of entry into Russia : enter the date you plan to enter the country (reminder : the visa is valid for a period of 2 months but you can only stay 16 days on the territory) .
• Which organization or which person are you going to visit? That’s a dumb mandatory question in my opinion for someone who wish to only travel in Russia, especially for first timers.
If this was a regular visa application (meaning not an e-visa), this would be were you write down the details of your LOI (Letter of Invitation/Voucher) but an e-visa application doesn’t require one, so why do they ask? I have no clue.
My guess : if you selected guest visit or tourism, write down the name of a family member, a friend.
Or else, I simply suggest to write down the abbreviation N/A “non applicable”.
• Where are you planning to stay? Just like for any other visa, nobody will check if you wrote Moscow on your application but enter via Vladivostok. Avoid listing so-called “sensitive” regions like Chechnya or border towns with Ukraine.
Even if you have no booking, write the name of whatever hotel. You don’t have to list every single cities and villages you plan to visit. Nobody will check.
• Do you have a valid Russian visa? Dumb question, select “No”. You’re applying for a visa because you don’t have one, right ?
• Do you have a health insurance policy valid on the territory of the Russian Federation? Say no if you don’t have any insurance obviously, but I recommend you to have one. The 30 days travel insurance from your Visa or Mastercard works for Russia too (yes, weird, I know).
• Source of funds for your visit to the Russian Federation : Select “Independently” if you self fund your trip. Same answer even if it’s your parents, husband or sugar daddy who does. If you travel for business, then enter your compagny’s details.
• Have you visited any countries in the last 3 years? Select “No” if you didn’t or “Yes” and add the countries. If you’re a very frequent traveler, a few will suffice, and you might want to “forget” mentionning so-called “bad” countries.
Fill up your marital status and relatives details
• Family status : Select your marital status. Single = not married/in a civil partnership.
• Information about your parents : (I know, it’s an unusual question for a visa application).
Write down the first name and last name of your parents (if married, write your mom’s maiden name) and their places of birth.
• Do you currently have relatives in Russia? Select “No” or “Yes” and add details.
Fill up your contact detaisl and employment
• Do you currently have a place of actual residence? Select yes and add your postal address and phone number with country code.
• Email : write down the same email address you signed up with.
• Do you own real estate in the Russian Federation? Select the appropriate choice.
• Do you use social networks, messengers? Now, that is a curious question … If you’re not aware of it, Facebook, Instagram and such western social medias are banned in Russia but everybody still use them with a VPN. I would personnally say no even though I have but feel free to link your instagram account. (I doubt you’ll gain any new russian followers)
• Do you work (study) in the present time? write down the details of you job. If you’re self empoyed just say so.
• Have you studied at any educational institution other than high school? select “Yes” or “No”.
• Do you intend to represent interests or act on behalf of non-commercial, international or government organizations or participate in their activities during your stay in Russia? Select “No” if you only go to travel.
• Have you received special training and do you have any special knowledge and skills in the use of weapons, explosives, nuclear, biological or chemical substances? Obviously you’re supposed to select “No”.
• Have you completed military service? Select the correct answer for you. Don’t worry they won’t enlist you in the russian army.
• Have you ever been involved in armed conflicts? Were you a participant or a victim of hostilities? Betterto say “no”.
• Have you been prosecuted for any crimes? If you say yes, chances are they will ask for a criminal record.
• Do you intend to carry out illegal activities on the territory of Russia? Obviously select “No”
• Do you intend to participate in political activity, its organization or financing on the territory of Russia? Selec “no”. if you want your visa. There’s no possibility to add details if you select “yes” …
• Additional information that you want to communicate about yourself and your trip to the Russian Federation : add nothing, you’ve said enough. Click “Next”
This is the summary of your e-visa application. I highly advise you to double, even triple check the details and answers you wrote down. If there is a mistake in you e-visa, and you show up at the border with unmatching informations between the e-visa and your passport you will not be allowed to enter Russia.
All your names and surnames must appear just like on your passport details. One error and you will be refused entry to the Russian Federation. Simple as that.
Correct the mistakes if thee are, agree to the the terms and conditions, then click “Pay”
You will land on the order summary payment page.
The e-visa price is 195AED or 374CYN, which is 53US$ and 50€ at the time of writing. I’ve had 2 different payment process when I’ve tried both times.
Click “Proceed to the payment”
Pay the e-visa
Final step, enter your bank card details and click “Pay”.
You should receive a confirmation e-mail straight away and the e-visa within the following days.
You can view your pending application from your dashboard’s page by clicking “your application”.
According to russian officials, they allow to correct a mistake (for free) if the application is refused once because of an error. The best is still to be carreful and make no mistake at all. Any feedback on that, please share in the comments to help others.
Print out the your e-visa and show it at the immigration with your passport on arrival in Russia.
Let me know in the comments if this Russia e-visa guide has been helpful and feel free if you have any questions or feedback to share to help other travelers.
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