Russian Visa Russian National Flag

You will most likely need a Russian visa for your Trans-Siberian trip. We offer a visa service through the Hong Kong or Beijing Embassy for our customers, and below you can find full information on the visa process, where to apply and perhaps if you are the lucky few who do not need a Russian visa.

  • Our Service
  • Visa Application
  • Exemptions
  • Locations
  • Transit
  • Register
  • Insurance
Russian soldier

Soldiers Marching into Moscow

We only offer a Russian visa service to our Trans-Siberian Railway customers. We can apply for the Russian visa through the consulate either in Hong Kong or in Beijing.

If you are inside China, you can send your passport and application details to our Beijing office via courier. The Russian Embassy is represented in China via a visa processing centre in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. You must apply at the consulate closest to your registered address.

The Russian Embassy has a strict visa application process and in most cases you need to apply in your country of residence. For Hong Kong that means having a visa for more than 90 days, while in China you need a 'residence' visa. There are some exceptions to this rule.

The normal application procedure takes six working days, sometimes a two days express service is available, and in some rare cases an express same day service may be offered.

We will give you full details, per nationality, upon enquiry/booking.

The official regulations for visa application are very strict but each Embassy enforces these regulations to a different degree. Officially you can only apply for a Russian visa from your country of residence. 

You will need an official invitation letter from a travel agency registered in Russia and apply for the visa in person visa the VFS Global visa processing office, after completing the online visa application

The visa has a fixed length, depending on the tour itinerary and for a maximum of 30 days.  Once you have booked a tour with us we can supply these documents as an email attachment so you can make the visa application at your local embassy.

The Russian Embassy in China enforces very strict rules and we can only offer a Russian tourist visa service if you are living in China with an official 'residence visa' or long-term Chinese visa, with a few exceptions.

If you have a residence visa, all well and good. The regular application takes a full week, so apply on a Tuesday, collect on a Tuesday for example. The express application is issued overnight or in three days (depending on the staff at time of application and your nationality). If you are travelling in China on a tourist/business visa, the visa application process can be quite troublesome and the exact regulations vary for different nationalities.

* US passport holders can apply for the visa, the process takes one week and the express service is at the discretion of the staff at the time of application. The 'three year' tourist visa available to US passport holders is at the discretion of Embassy staff and can longer to process.

* French or Australian passport holders can apply for a tourist visa, but the process will take two weeks and there is no express service available. So, in short, the visa should be possible to arrange, but not at short notice.

* If you have a German, New Zealand, or British passport without a Chinese residence visa, the Embassy will not accept your application in normal circumstances. We must provide the original support documents supplied from Moscow, which means we need extra notice to have this paperwork sent to us.

Transit visas (see next tab), valid for a maximum of 10 days, are issued in Beijing, but you will need to show train tickets for the whole route of your journey from entry into Russia to exit.

The list of nationalities who do not require a tourist visa to visit Russia is forever growing, and talks are even in process about simplifying the application process for EU member states.

90 days - Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Israel, Nicaragua, Peru, Venezuela.

60 days - South Korea

30 days - Cuba, Thailand, Turkey

14 days - Hong Kong

It is also possible to travel to St. Petersburg for up to 72 hours without a visa on cruise ships and on a ferry. Ask us for more details about the restrictions.

Find the full and updated list on wikipedia

Embassy of Russia in Beijing

The Russian embassy in Beijing offers a reduced consular service as an official visa agency handles most visa applications. You should make an appointment first (in person or by phone).

Official Visa Center

The service offered by the consular section is reduced and instead an official visa agency handles most visa applications.

The address of the Visa Center is:
Room M, Floor 10
Oriental Kenzo Office Building Dongzhimenwai Street
48 Dongcheng District Beijing 100027
Application Submission / Passport collection: Monday - Friday 8.30am - 3.30pm.

Consular (Visa) Section Address:

Russian Embassy, 4 Dongzhimen Beizhongjie, Beijing, 100600, China
Phone: (+86 10) 6532-1267 (weekdays 14:00-18:00)
Public opening hours: 9:30-11:30

View the official website for directions and latest news.

"Foreign citizens have the right to apply for a visa directly at the diplomatic or consular representations of the Russian Federation in case they are applying for a visa for themselves or for their close relatives by making a prior appointment. Furthermore, the Consular (Visa) Section of the Russian Embassy in Beijing processes applications for the Russian visa directly, without the services of the Visa Center, from the Foreign Ministry of PRC, including employees of diplomatic and consular representations in Russia, as well as from members of official delegations wishing to visit Russia at the invitation of Russian authorities."

Consulate of Russia in Hong Kong

Most nationalities must have a valid HK ID card or have been resident in Hong Kong for at least 30 days (they check entry stamps on your passport).

There is a list of exemptions who can still apply without an ID card, please check with us directly if you can apply in Hong Kong.

Visa Applications are handled by the Official Visa Center, operated by VFS Global

Russian Visa Application Centre
Application Submission: 09:00 to 15:00 (Monday-Friday)
Passport collection time: 15:00 to 17:00 (Monday-Friday)
(Except Public Holidays)

Russian Consulate, Shanghai

You must have a residence visa for China (issued in Shanghai) or else a Chinese visa with more than 3 months still to go. The application takes 5 working days and prices vary depending on natonality.

You will need to provide the original visa invitation, which we can arrange once you have made a confirmed booking with us.

4/F, Jiushi Commercial Building
213, Middle Sichuan Road, Huangpu District,
Shanghai, 200002, China
Application submission timings: 08:30 to 15:30 from Monday to Friday (except public holidays)
Passport retrieval timings: 08:30 to 15:30 from Monday to Friday (except public holidays)

The period of time covered by a transit visa is generally 3 days, implying that transit visas are for people whole are changing flights/transport in Russia.

However, The Russian consulate in Beijing offers a 10 day transit visa, you need to show your train tickets for the entire journey through Russia.

For a direct train from Beijing to Moscow, taking 6 days, you should have a few days spare in moscow before departing onwards from Russia.

If you wish to stop in Mongolia the consular staff in Beijing will advise you to apply for the Russian visa in Ulaanbaatar; if you wish to stop in Irkutsk the staff will suggest you need a tourist visa, not a transit visa.

We can help arrange the necessary tickets from Beijing through Mongolia to Moscow/St Petersburg and on to Europe.

Shengen member states (e.g most of Europe) also need to show travel insurance.

Download our info sheet about applying for transit visas.

Registering your Russian Visa

If you intend to spend more than seven days in Russia, you must register your visa and migration card through your sponsor. If staying at a hotel, the hotel reception should register your visa automatically. If we have arranged your Russian visa the documents will be valid and your visa will be registered at the first destination within Russia

If you choose not to register a stay of less than seven days, we advise you to keep copies of tickets, hotel bills, or itineraries in order to prove compliance with the law.

Russian police officers have the authority to stop people and request their identity and travel documents at any time and without provocation. Due to the possibility of random document checks by police, you should carry your original passport, migration card and visa with you at all times.

The purpose of the registration is to notify the immigration authorities about the place of your stay while you're in Russia. In Russia the registration of your visa is in addition to the landing card you fill out when you enter the country. Prior to registering at a hotel or place of residence your train ticket acts as proof of how long you have been in Russia. You are not required to register until your train journey (that originated outside of Russia) terminates in the city of your destination.

Once you have been registered, you will be issued with part of the 'registration form', which must be kept and handed over to immigration on departure.

Medicare Insurance

Compulsory for Schengen Members, including: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Spain, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, France, Israel, Finland, Norway and Estonia. It is necessary that the Insurance Company (local or worldwide) has an agreement with the relevant Russian insurance company (Ingosstrakh or "Rosno') although this is not as strict as it once was. You will need to provide a copy of your insurance cover when making the visa application.


Visa regulations change frequently and often without warning


Although we try to keep these pages as up-to-date as we can we accept no liability for any inaccuracies in the information contained.


You can find the Russian visa application form to download at this link:
Forms & Downloads page

page last updated: 6th June 2017