Absolute Guide About Schengen Visa For Russian Passport Holders

Laura Amber, Tourism Guide

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 favourite destinations.

Absolute Guide About Schengen Visa For Russian Passport Holders

What is a 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 VisaPurpose 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 VisasFor 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 the 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;

2017 Schengen Visa Statistics for 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 centres 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;

  1. 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.
  2. Original and copy of national identification card (ID).
  3. Recent (not more than six months) passport colour photographs on a clear background. The photo should clearly show the full face with no other formatting or caps and veils.
  4. 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.
  5.  Copies of previous visas and past passports (if any) along with the valid current one as stated above.
  6. A personal cover letter indicating your travel reasons and itinerary.
  7. 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 to Russia.
  8. Flight reservations for Schengen visa clearly show the flight dates, numbers, and times of departure from Russia and exit from the destination. Fill out the flight reservation form to reserve your flight.
  9. Provide accommodation details covering the last day of your stay in your destination country.
  10. Give proof of your financial capability to cater to all your financial needs. Certified statements from the bank. Online bank statements are not accepted.
  11. 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
  • Visa issued by your destination country if it is a non-Schengen country
  • An aeroplane ticket for the country in question
If married
  • Marriage certificates
If employed
  • Recent bank statements (for the last six months and including the previous year)
  • Employment agreement
  • Income Tax Return or certificate of income tax deducted from your salary
  • Leave of employment from your employer
  • Proof of continuation with employment after returning to Russia
  • Recent salary slips (last six months)
If self-employed
  • A copy of the Russian business permit
  • Business bank statements (for the last six months and the previous year)
  • Income Tax Return for the business
If retired
  • Pension statements for the last six months (and the previous year)
If traveling for business reasons
  • An invitation document from the partner business
If traveling for education
  • A no-objection document from the school.
  • Letter of acceptance/offer
  • Proof of enrollment in a recognized institute
If traveling to visit friends and relatives residing in a Schengen state
  • Formal letter of invitation by a friend or relative
  • Signed official affidavit of support (if the friend/relative is catering to your financial needs)
For additional proof of income
  • Property bank statements for the last six months showing the income generated
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 CategoryFee (in Euro)Fee (in Russian Ruble)
Short stay (less than 90 days)604,414
Long stay (exceeding 90 days)18013,242
Minors (past 6 years but below 12 years354,985
Express visa705,149
Minors (less than 6 years)Free
Spouses of EU/EEA citizens (EU and Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein) and children under 21Free
For education/research/sports (below 25 years)Free
Disabled persons and persons accompanying themFree

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.

  • Ukraine
  • Serbia
  • Russia
  • Montenegro
  • Moldova
  • Macedonia
  • Georgia
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Azerbaijan
  • Armenia
  • Albania

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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