Visa Invitation for International Visitors
To apply for a Russian visa, an international visitor may require a formal visa invitation letter.
- The list of countries for which there is no visa requirement can be found on the Rosturism website
- At the same time, some international visitors can enter Russia for a limited period of time without a visa for tourist purpose but will be required to have a visa for if coming to Russia for another purpose like a conference, academic cooperation, study or work. Please always check with your HSE host party and your local Russian Consulate or visa center whether you need a visa for your purpose of the visit!
If you plan to invite an international visitor to HSE - Saint Petersburg, please consult the Visa Support Unit of the International Office asap to determine the appropriate visa and invitation type, application procedure, and timing:
Contact person: Ms. Maria Rafikova
Tel.: +7 812 644 5911 ext. 61577
Please mind the following deadlines of application for a visa invitation to be submitted to Visa Support Unit:
- no later than 50 working days before a visit under a Work visa (with remuneration)
- no later than 40 working days before a visit under a visa that requires a visa invitation issued through the Ministry of Interior
- no later than 20 working days before a visit under a visa that requires a simplified visa invitation issued by HSE
Please refer to Section 3 and Section 5 of the Visa Guideline for International Visitors to look up the appropriate visa and invitation types.
Applying for a formal visa invitation
Only structural units of HSE University can apply to the International Office for a visa invitation. Direct applications from international visitors are not permitted - international visitors have to inquire about an invitation from their host unit at HSE. To apply for a visa invitation, an HSE host unit has to perform the following steps:
Step 1: collect the data from the international visitor
1) personal data collected in the form of an electronic Application Form (for a single invitation) or through an Online Application Form posted on the webpage of the host unit (for mass invitations, e.g. in case of a large international conference)
2) copy of visitor's passport or other travel ID (page with photo + pages with previous Russian visas, if any)
- For Humanitarian visas (conference, official visit etc.), the visitor's passport must be valid at least 6 Months after the end of the planned visit
- For Work or Student visas, the visitor's passport must be valid at least 18 Months after the planned start of the visit
3) if a visitor plans to apply for the Russian visa outside of his/her home country (of citizenship), additional documents may be required. The HSE host unit should consult with the Visa Support Unit regarding such cases in advance
4) if visitor inquiries an invitation for accompanying family members (spouse, children), additional documents may be required. The HSE host unit should consult with the Visa Support Unit regarding such cases in advance
The HSE host unit should prepare the electronic application form according to the appropriate case. Please refer to Section "Подготовка заявки на оформление визового приглашения по шагам" - Шаг 2 to download the application pro-forms. According to the national legislation of Russia, the application forms are designed and shall be completed in the Russian language.
Step 3: pay the state fee for visa invitation
For invitations, issued through the Ministry of Interior (except the invitations for a Student visa) a mandatory state fee of 800 Rub. applies.
Invitations for student visas and simplified invitations do not require paying the fee.
Step 4: submit the application for a visa invitation to the Visa Support Unit of the International Office
- The complete application for a visa invitation should be submitted to the Visa Support Unit electronically via email email@example.com in the due deadlines
- The state fee payment receipts and additional documents (if required) should be handed over to the Visa Support Unit in original
Upon receiving an application, the Visa Support Unit confirms it to the host unit and provides a suggested invitation release date.
Processing time and invitation delivery
The minimal processing time for the invitations issued through the Ministry of Interior is 35 working days from the day of submission to the Ministry. Speeding up is not permitted.
The average processing time for the simplified invitations issued by HSE is 5 working days from the day of submitting the application to the Visa Support Unit.
As soon as the invitation is issued, the Visa Support Unit send its soft (electronic) copy to the host unit. It is the duty of the host unit to hand over the invitation to the international visitor. If required, the original paper-based copy of the invitation can be sent to the visitor visa express post, the expenses to be borne by the host unit.
The host unit should ask the Visa Support Unit for this service if required.
Usually, it takes up to 10 working days from the date of your visa application for a Russian Embassy/Consulate to review your application and issue a visa.
It is highly recommended to send the Visa Guideline for International Visitors and a link to the "Visa to Russia" section of our website to the visitor along with the electronic copy of the visa invitation.
Visa-related expenses of the visitor
Visa-related expenses include a Consular Fee (usually ranged between $70-$200 depending on country of application and visa type; no consular fee applies for student visas) and other expenses subject to the type of visa and specific consular requirements:
- Visa Center service fee, Travel Agency / Visa Advisor service fee
- Costs of Health Insurance
- Costs of medical examination for obtaining Health Certificate, HIV/AIDS Certificate, Lungs X-Ray Certificate
- Costs of translation, notary legalization of documents, documents delivery expenses
NB! HSE cannot sponsor or directly reimburse any of visa-related expenses of our international visitors due to national fiscal legislation constraints.
Registration of international visitors with the Federal Immigration Service
- The host unit bears full responsibility for the invited international visitor to comply with the national Immigration Laws and Procedures. Please carefully read the Immigration Support section of our website!
- All foreign citizens staying in Russia for 7 and more working days must be registered with the Federal Immigration Service at the address of their actual stay in Russia. This registration should be performed within 3 calendar days from the day of arrival (crossing the border) to Russia
- If the host unit plans to make a temporary work contract with an international visitor, the host unit must inform the HSE SPb HR Office about this in advance
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