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Thread: Private Visa or Tourist Visa

  1. #1
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    Private Visa or Tourist Visa

    I'm going to see a close friend in Kaliningrad and plan to get a private visa (3yr/180 multi) since I'm staying with her and her family. I've traveled there with a tourist visa but want to do everything by the book. I'll register at their residence, and so think it's appropriate to have a private visa instead of tourist.

    Main question: Has anyone had a problem doing "tourist" things with a private visa? Taking a side trip to Moscow and registering in a hotel, for example. Any "success stories" about staying and registering with a private visa are welcome, there's a lot of discussion about tourist visa but no so much about private.
    Last edited by Markova; 02-06-2018 at 01:46.

  2. #2
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    I use GoToRussia.net and have not had any issues getting a tourist visa. I would think that a private visa would require the ascension of the sponsor, whereas a tourist visa does not require such. I think Russia is trying to get a many Americans as possible to take advantage of this visa since there are only 18K Americans but 500K Russians with this visa the other way.

  3. #3
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    Your Russian sponsor will have to go to the notary to draft an invitation letter for you. They no longer need to go to FMS to ask for private invites.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Markova View Post
    I'm going to see a close friend in Kaliningrad and plan to get a private visa (3yr/180 multi)
    What does "3yr/180 multi" cover? I am not sure that private visas are valid for 3 years, they are usually 30 days maximum. The 180 may be from business visas and is something about maximum 90 days in Russia and then 90 days out.
    Tree years business visas is a special thing for US citizen only, and if I remember correctly it is maximum 180 days in Russia and the out for one day and you can return.

    Main question: Has anyone had a problem doing "tourist" things with a private visa? Taking a side trip to Moscow and registering in a hotel, for example. Any "success stories" about staying and registering with a private visa are welcome, there's a lot of discussion about tourist visa but no so much about private.
    Tourist visa and private visa are more or less the same thing, you can do the same things on these, "be a guest in Russia" so to speak, there time frame is the same maximum 30 days (but you may have to pay attention to the 90/180 days rule too here).

    So if the long term plan is about living in Russia with a Russian friend for more than 30 days, then tourist visa and private visa is not a good option. Business visa can be uses (with it limitations, the 90/180 days rule, or do visa run every 29 days), especial the special 3-years US version is handy for this, but they are not intended for this purpose. TRP and then PRP is much better options, well they are the only real legal options.

  5. #5
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    Private visas are normally 90 days for most nationalities, it's the tourist visas that are maximum 30 days. But for Americans, 3 year 180-day per entry visas are available, they can be private/tourist/business, the type depends on the entity issuing the invitation, but in practical terms the visa can be used the same way for all types.

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  7. #6
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    We wanted to send a personal invitation to someone visiting from Seattle. Since the consulate in Seattle is shut down, the visitor used an agency to courier the passport and docs to the SF consulate. The agency charged the same fee for helping to process a personal and tourist visa. Ended up not bothering to prepare the personal invite...just got a tourist visa. Less effort, same price.

    Looked around and found out the other agencies do the same thing.

    If someone lives in SF, Houston or NY and can shlep down to the Russian consulate to submit the visa application, the personal invitation might save a bit of money. However, a visa invitation from Liga and similar agencies are pretty cheap...

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