Schengen Visa Requirements for Russian Citizens
Europe, the land of splendors, invites people from all over the world. For travelers who are keen on visiting this beautiful continent and partaking of all the sights, sounds and experiences it has to offer, a Schengen visa is a must. Whether you are a Russian Federation passport holder or a Russian resident or a Russian citizen or have Russia visa, you need to know certain requirements to apply for a Schengen visa from Russia Federation. In this article learn more about how to apply for a Schengen Visa from Russia, Schengen Visa Application Requirements, Fees and Guidelines, List of Schengen Embassies in Russia Federation.
Russia is the largest applicant to the Schengen visa. A whopping 3,885,899 people applied for the visa in 2017 and 3,826,151 were awarded the visa too. The rejection rate for Russian applicants to the Schengen visa is currently at a historic low of 1.3%. Russian nationals are welcomed with open arms in the Schengen state.
What is the Schengen Area and how do you visit it?
The Schengen area is a collection of 26 countries that are a part of the 45 countries that make up the beautiful continent of Europe. They are a group of countries whose laws regarding travel and tourism are managed by the Schengen Agreement. If any traveler wishes to visit them, he/she will need to apply for a Schengen visa.
Russia, the largest country in the world, is no exception to this rule. As with other countries, Russians looking to visit the Schengen area either on tourism or education/work or on business must apply for the Schengen visa before travel.
Russian Federation and the Schengen agreement
The Schengen visa application process is easier, shorter and more budget-friendly for Russian citizens.
In the year 2007, a bilateral agreement was signed between the Russian Federation and the Schengen Area. This agreement includes Russia as one of the 11 countries which are exempted from paying hefty visa processing fees, submitting innumerable documents and following a very complicated and time-consuming procedure during the visa application process.
As per the bilateral agreement, Russian citizens belonging to certain groups are completely exempted from paying the visa application fees, while others need to pay fees as less as 60 EUR in Russian Roubles per application.
Types of Schengen visas Russians can apply for
Schengen visas can be applied for tourism, education/work, and business. Each visa gives holders specific rights which the others do not. For example, the tourist visa allows holders to visit any of the tourist spots in the Schengen country but does not allow holders to seek employment in the Schengen area. Similarly, the business visa may allow holders to work only in certain countries and not others.
Based on the countries it covers, Schengen visas are of 3 types:
Uniform Schengen Visas
The Uniform Schengen Visa covers all the Schengen countries and allows the holders to travel across the entire Schengen area without having to apply for nation-specific visas. This particular visa type can be modified based on the entry and exit requirements of the traveler. For example:
- The single entry USV allows travelers to enter the Schengen area only once during the 90 days validity.
- The double entries USV allow holders to enter the Schengen area twice during the entire 90 days period.
- The multiple entries USV allow holders to enter and exit the Schengen area as many times as they like during the 90 days validity term.
Limited Territorial Validity Visas
The Limited Territorial Validity Visa is granted to individuals who have business in only specific Schengen countries or are not allowed legally to enter some of the countries in the Schengen area. This visa grants the holders access to only a pre-selected set of countries and no other.
The National Visa is a visa that is preferred by students or working professionals, and it grants holders the right to enter and reside in the Schengen country for a particular period of time. Again, single entry and multiple entries options are available for visitors.
Schengen visa application process for Russian citizens
The Schengen visa application process for Russians includes the following steps:
Select the type of visa you wish to apply for
As stated above, there are multiple options available for Russian nationals who wish to visit the Schengen area. It’s better to decide and choose a particular type of visa in advance as it will help make your application process easier. Additionally, some visas are more expensive than others; therefore, choosing a visa type will help you make savings.
Set up an appointment with the officials at the Embassy
Russia has embassies and consulates from various nations in many of its cities. It also has many VFS centres across the country where applicants can apply for the visa. As per Schengen traveling rules, visa applicants are allowed to apply for their Schengen visas in one of two embassies:
- The embassy of the country where they are starting their travel
- The embassy of the country where they are residing the longest
For example, if you are starting your trip in Finland, but staying the longest in Portugal, you can apply at either of the embassies. However, considering how all countries do not have the embassies or consulates of every Schengen member, it’s best to start your tour in the country whose embassy you have in your own country.
Usually, the Schengen visa procedure takes up to 3 weeks to complete. But for Russians, it may take up to only 2 weeks. It’s best to apply a month or two in advance to ensure you have plenty of time to get the visa. You can find the list of embassies in Russia here.
Next, you’ll need to fill in and submit the visa application form. The form contains questions regarding the applicant’s personal and professional information. For example, age, marital status, education, income and so on. It’s best to answer everything honestly, as it can impact the acceptance of your visa application.
The fees for the Schengen application form and the visa processing fees for Russian nationals are:
|Visa Type||Visa Fees in EUR||Visa Fees in RUB|
|Children 6-12 years minus one day||35||2537|
|Children under 6-year- old||Free||Free|
|Students – Long stay||50||3624|
|Working professionals (long stay)||99||7175|
With the application, you’ll need to submit certain documents to the embassy where you’ve applied. These applications include:
- Two passport size photographs of 36 mm height on a white background. The photos should not contain any red-eye, shadow or reflection
- Passport with 2 blank pages left in the book (minors must submit signed copies of their parents’ passport to the embassy)
- Copy of travel and medical insurance amounting to a minimum coverage of €30,000 or $50,000
- Copies of the travel itinerary, complete with copies of ticket bookings of travel, accommodation, and visit
- Covering letter or sponsorship letter with a reason for travel (the sponsorship letter must be signed by the sponsor and must come with copies of the other documents as listed in this list)
- Proof of financial sufficiency– Original bank and income statements of the last 3 months (minors and individuals sponsored by relatives/friends must furnish the bank documents of the sponsor)
- Employment documents like the employment contract, leave permission request from the employer, IT returns and pay slips for the past 6 months (if applicable)
- Business documents like business registration and license, P&L account of the past 6 months and IT returns (if applicable)
- University ID card (if a student)
Attend the face-to-face visa interview
One of the most important steps in your visa application process is the face-to-face interview. It is during this interview that applicants will be quizzed by the embassy official about the reason for their visit, tour details and expected date of return. Here are some of the visa interview questions that you need to know to be well prepared.
During the interview, the official will cross-verify whether the information you’ve provided in your application form and attached documents is true or not. If any discrepancy is found between your answers and the documents, it may become grounds for visa application rejection.
Provide your biometrics
The biometrics is a scan of your fingerprints and a facial recognition scan that is conducted by the Schengen embassy during the visa application procedure. The biometrics help embassy and consulate officials in the Schengen country identify which country you belong to and provide you with the support you need, should you require any help during your trip.
Receive the visa application result via post
Finally, a few days after the visa application process, you will receive a postal mail from the embassy with information as to whether or not you have cleared the visa application process successfully.
Russia is the only country in the world to have the least visa rejection rate of a mere 1.3%. Chances of visa application rejection are slim. However, if you do receive a letter intimating you that your application has been denied, it may be because of one of the following reasons:
- You have not provided up-to-date information about yourself in the application
- You have provided incorrect information in the application form and documents
- You have not submitted one of the mandatory documents or have not got them signed/stamped
- You have not taken the required medical and travel insurance
- You have taken travel insurance that is lesser than the minimum coverage of €30,000
- You haven’t submitted the travel itinerary and the booking confirmations
- Your passport has expired or is due to expire in the next three months
- Your passport has been tampered with or is damaged/torn
- You have not submitted the signed cover/sponsorship letter
- You have a criminal history which prevents you from travel
What should you do to avoid rejection of your Schengen visa application?
- You must provide complete, exhaustive information as per the requirements in the application form and documents
- You must submit all the necessary documents duly signed and stamped by the relevant authorities
- You must get travel and medical insurance above €30,000
- You must submit the detailed travel itinerary to the officials in advance
- You must re-apply for a new passport if your current passport is close to expiry or has been damaged
- You must submit a signed cover/sponsorship letter to the officials
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