Getting your travel authorization
As mentioned above, you will not be able to get an online authorization directly from the Russian authorities. To get a travel authorization (visa), you will have to submit a file to the Russian consulate or embassy. The embassy is in Paris. You will find Russian consulates in Lyon, Marseille and Strasbourg.
If you cannot or do not wish to go to the consulate or to the embassy, you can get an online authorization thanks to an agency you will have to pay for. Once you have sent them all the mandatory documents, the agency will take care of applying for a visa for you.
This file must contain several documents. First of all, you must include an « official invitation ». Yes, to come to Russia, you must first be invited! But don’t worry, it is not difficult to get it. Your hotel or your travel agency will send you a voucher that specifies the accommodation address, travel dates and your identity. You will sometimes be asked to pay to get it. In the event that you stay with a friend, your host will have to get you this invitation.
You will also need to provide a certificate of insurance. The Russian authorities need to check that you are covered in case of unforeseen circumstances while there. Again, this is not complicated. You can contact your home insurance company to ask them for a Civil Liability (RC) certificate covering your travel dates to Russia.
Finally, you will need to provide a passport photo (4.5 cm high and 3.5 cm wide), your passport (the original, not a copy) and the completed visa application form. The form can be completed online.