Let’s take a closer look at each required document and just how you could potentially apply for a visa without even leaving your home.
Visa Invitation Letter/Tourist Invitation Voucher
This literally takes less than 10 minutes to order online as long as you have your passport details, dates of travel, accommodation address and a credit card nearby. You should be able to find a tourist visa invitation for just $20 or less online. You can get one here,
for just $15 if you’re going to be applying for a tourist visa.
Anyone applying for a Russian visa will need an invitation from a Russian company that is registered with the department of Tourism of Russia or the migration service if you’re applying for a visa other than a tourist visa. On the basis of an official invitation, you’ll be able to receive a visa
This is a form filled out all online here. As long as you have your invitation and ready with your personal details, you should complete this within 30 minutes. The information on your visa invitation should match the answers you give on your visa application. If there is a discrepancy, you could be asked to correct the mistakes, fill it out again or your visa application could be refused.
You select the country in which you’ll be applying for a visa, in this case United States, and at the end choose the visa center that will be processing your visa application such as Houston or Washington DC. Next, just verify the information, print out the application and sign it.
For the sake of this article, you could do this at home. You’d need to make sure the passport photo is quality, however. Although uncommon for tourist visas, if your passport photo is distorted or unclear, you could be asked to send in a better one. Or, you could stop by Costco, Walgreens or another photo shop on your way home from work and pick one up for $5-$15 in a few minutes
If you use a service to apply for a visa on your behalf, you can either pay the company online or they may request you make a separate payment to the visa center in the form of a cashier’s check or money order. Nowadays, you can get this step done from your online checking account. You wouldn’t even have to make that terribly long 2 mile trip to your nearest bank branch or post office.
Yes, you’ll have to part with your newly issued travel ID, but just for a short time. Your Russian visa will be adhered to one of the blank pages inside. There is no other way. If you’ve had a passport before, you can renew your passport from home within 2-6 weeks.
Sending your documents by mail
The final step is collecting all of the above documents, putting them into an envelope and printing off a shipping label to send securely, with a tracking number by mail to a visa center or Russian consulate. Seal the envelope and you’re set to hand it off to the mailman. This should cost you no more than $15 depending on the courier service you choose. If you choose to use our visa submission service, you would send it to our office in Houston, Texas. We’ll apply for your visa on your behalf and your Russian visa will be processed in 3-15 business days depending on which timeframe you select.
Once you’ve sent all the required documents by mail for your visa application to be processed, it’s time to sit back an relax. Return shipping is included in our visa application submission service and with a tracking number, you’ll know exactly where your documents are. Keep in mind that US citizens applying for a tourist visa are very rarely refused a visa to Russia unless, of course, you intentionally submitted suspicious documents or information. Even if you made a minor mistake on your visa application or with your documents, the visa center will request a correction or to send in additional documents. This will add to the overall processing time but that won’t be a problem unless you procrastinated applying for a visa until the week before your flight. In this case, I recommend you check out our post on how to avoid unnecessary costs when getting a visa to Russia.