Russia is currently the number one applicant for Schengen visas in the world. If you are looking for the latest information on Schengen visas for Russian passport holders and citizens, you are in the right place. Citizens of the Russian Federation enjoy a nearly privileged status when it comes to the issuance of Schengen visas. The country has the highest issuance and lowest rejection rates. With Schengen 59 embassies and consulates in Moscow and across Russia, the country is the biggest non-Schengen zone travel market for Europe and the rest of the Zone countries with Finland, Italy, and Greece being the top three favorite destinations.
What is Schengen Visa?
In order to travel from Russia to countries in the Schengen visa zone, you will need to apply and be issued a Schengen visa. But what type of visa is this?
Following a Schengen agreement that was made in 1985 in a small town in Luxembourg called Schengen, 26 Schengen countries some of which are in the EU zone, abolished travel restrictions for travelers within the zone. To travel to or transit through any of these countries from Russia, you need just one visa issued by a member country in this zone (more details of this to follow). This visa will permit the Russian holder to travel to, enter, the transit of stay in the zone for a limited 90 days within the 180-day period allowed.
When looking for a Schengen visa for Russian passport holders and citizens, you need to understand the different types of visas you can apply for in Moscow. The three types of visa available for Russians in the country are as follows;
|Type of Visa||Purpose of Travel|
|Uniform Schengen Visas (USV)||For Russians wishing to reside in or transit through any of the Schengen states. This covers 90 days from the date of entry within the 180 days-period permitted. A holder of this visa type is allowed single, double, or multiple entries.|
|Limited territorial validity visas (LTV)||For Russians wishing to enter only one Schengen state. In other situations and with requests, this type of visa can allow entering other Schengen states. To enter any Schengen state, the state must be included on the visa.|
|National Visas||For Russians wishing to reside, study or work in one of the Schengen states. This covers the specific period for the reason of the travel after which you are expected to return to Russia. This must be issued by the country’s embassy in Moscow.|
Schengen Visa Frequencies for Russian Federation
As one of the largest countries in terms of geographical area and economic power, Russia is the leading applicant and beneficiary of Schengen visas in the world today. Russians have the lowest Schengen visa rejection rates. In all the 59 Schengen embassies and consulates in Russia, close to four million applications were made in 2017. The following table captures the recent statistics for Schengen visas for the Russian Federation;
Who and Where to Apply for Schengen Visa in Russia
Any Russian citizen can apply for a Schengen visa in the country. Other applicants of different nationalities can apply for a Schengen visa in Russia if they are legal residents of the country. There is no way of choosing the embassy or consulate that is competent for examining, processing, and deciding on a Schengen visa in the country. The following scenarios must hold true;
- The embassy or consulate of Schengen country that is the only travel destination from Russia.
- The embassy or consulate of the Schengen country in which your main stay will be.
- If there is no main destination (for example in cruises and bus tours), the embassy or consulate of the Schengen country, the borders of which you will make initial entry from Russia.
Some Schengen countries have external visa service providers (visa application centers agreed upon by the relevant embassy or consulate) where you can lodge your visa application in Russia (for example VFS Global).
Documents Required to Apply for Schengen Visa for Russian Passport Holders
In order to successfully apply for a Schengen visa as a Russian passport holder or citizen, you need to source for, prepare, arrange and submit the required documents. These documents must be personally lodged with the competent embassy or consulate, or the official external visa processing party.
The following documents must be provided in their entirety;
- Original and a copy of the common Schengen visa application form. This form should be visible, filled in completely, and signed by the person making the application.
- Original and copy of national identification card (ID).
- Recent (not more than six months) passport color photographs on a clear background. The photo should clearly show the full face with no other formatting or caps and veils.
- Valid travel Russian passport with at least two blank pages and be valid for not less than three months after the date of your intended return to Russia.
- Copies of previous visas and past passports (if any) along with the valid current one as stated above.
- A personal cover letter indicating your travel reasons and itinerary.
- Arrange for your travel/health/accident insurance. Should be at least 30,000 Euros (or 2,207,009 Russian Rubles). The policy details such as name, validity, and numbers should be given and should cover the traveler’s emergencies and repatriation o Russia.
- Flight reservation/ dummy plane ticket clearly showing the flight dates, numbers, and times of departure from Russia and exit from the destination.
- Provide accommodation details covering the last day of your stay in your destination country.
- Give proof of your financial capability to cater to all your financial needs. Certified statements from the bank. Online bank statements are not accepted.
- Provide proof of foreign exchange purchased.
Other Documents Needed in Support of Schengen Visa Application Case
Depending on your individual circumstances, your travel purposes, and other considerations, you may need to provide more documents in support or to prove your application case. Among the documents that you should submit include the following;
|Situation||Documents to Submit|
|If in need of airport transit or transit visa||
|If traveling for business reasons||
|If traveling for education||
|If traveling to visit friends and relatives residing in a Schengen state||
|For additional proof of income||
|If you are a minor||
· Copies of passports or IDs of both parents
· Certified parental approval signed by both parents/guardians in case the minor is traveling without the company of the parents.
· The family court order if only one parent has full custody of the child.
· The child’s birth certificate
· Schengen visa application form signed by both parents.
|If a spouse of an EU/EAA citizen and/or their child under 21||
· Marriage certificate of spouse and birth certificate for the child
· Copy of spouse or parent’s EU/EAA passport
Schengen Visa Fees for Russian Passport Holders and Citizens
The right amount of money in terms of visa fees must be paid in full and promptly. This should be done in Russian currency equivalent to Euros as per the case may be. The following are the fees payable for a Schengen visa in Russia;
|Visa Category||Fee (in Euro)||Fee (in Russian Ruble)|
|Short stay (less than 90 days)||60||4,414|
|Long stay (exceeding 90 days)||180||13,242|
|Minors (past 6 years but below 12 years||35||4,985|
|Minors (less than 6 years)||Free||–|
|Spouses of EU/EEA citizens (EU and Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein) and children under 21||Free||–|
|For education/research/sports (below 25 years)||Free||–|
|Disabled persons and persons accompanying them||Free||–|
The EU has treaties with 11 countries that allow citizens to pay reduced visa application fees. For the purposes of a Schengen visa from applicants of the following countries, they should pay an equivalent of 35 Euros in Russian Rubles.
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
When making an application for a Schengen visa for Russian passport holders and citizens, you need to ensure that the documents submitted are as accurate as possible. The cover letter should capture all the information concerning your travel and serve to authenticate your additional documents. The more accurate your case will be, the higher the chances of success. You should also consider employing the services of a competent Schengen Flight Reservation Visa to lift some of the burdens off your shoulders.
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