Russia may be a European country, but they must get a Schengen visa for Russian citizens if they wish to enter any Schengen country in Europe based on EU travel regulations. This has been the standard for years, but many still find it confusing. If Russia is a European country, why do its citizens need visas to enter other European countries? We will answer these questions in this article and provide you with more information about the visa process someone is reading to learn more.
Why Do Russian Citizens Need Schengen Visas?
The answer to this question is based on the articles of the Schengen Agreement, which establishes the Schengen zone. The zone was introduced close to a decade ago, and only nations signatories to the Schengen Agreement ate part of the Schengen zone.
Every decade or so, new members are admitted into that zone after signing the agreement and are given some years to liberalize their immigration policies before becoming full fledged member states.
There are 27 countries in the Schengen zone, and Russia is not one of them. Furthermore, Russia is not a member of the European Union, and for this reason, Russians must obtain visas before they can enter any of the Schengen countries, and the same is the case for citizens of these countries who wish to travel to Russia.
However, the Russian Federation is not the only European country that is not a part of the Schengen zone. Romania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Croatia fall into the same category, but they are all EU member nations, with Croatia set to join the Schengen zone by 2024. Their EU membership sets them apart from Russia because they allow visitors with Schengen visas to visit their countries.
Two other countries that come to mind are the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom. Irish citizens also need Schengen visas because their country operates a different immigration policy and is not part of the zone, and the same is the case with the United Kingdom due to its European Union exit.
How Long Can Russian Citizens Stay In A Schengen Country With A Visa?
As a Russian passport holder with a valid Schengen visa, you can only stay for 90 days within six months. Schengen visas are valid for 180 days and may be single, double, or multi-entry, and the latter is issued to frequent visitors to the Schengen zone.
How to Apply For A Schengen Visa From Russia?
Applying for a Schengen visa from Russia is easy by submitting your application to the embassy of the primary country you wish to visit. Applications are processed at the embassy and issued after 15 calendar days or more. Some embassies will process the application and issue the visa straightaway, while others will request an interview with the applicant before making a final decision. It is important to submit the application at the embassy of the primary destination, even if you plan to visit multiple countries.
What Does The Primary Destination Mean?
Many trackers become confused when they hear “primary destination,” but they shouldn’t. Due to the multinational feature of Schengen visas, visitors are free to travel to multiple countries within 90 days instead of one. However, the visitor must submit their application to the first embassy of the country they wish to visit. Meaning that any country that issues the Schengen visa is the country you must visit first before traveling to any other one.
Those who make the mistake of going to a different country first will encounter difficulties with the immigration officers of those countries as they will be flouting the rules.
Types of Visas Russian Citizens Can Apply For?
Cultural exchange visa
Each visa has unique requirements but has the same validity, and visitors cannot stay beyond 90 days.
Can Russians Work With A Schengen Visa?
Working with a Schengen visa is illegal as it does not come with a work permit; only visitors with work permits are allowed to work in the Schengen zone. This visa is short-stay and should not be sued for work or long-term study.
How Much Is The Visa Application Fee?
The standard application fee is €80, but this fee is waived for children under 6, and children between 6-11 are charged €40. Also, note that the fee is non refundable once paid, and the application will not be processed without it.
Schengen Visa For Russian Citizens Requirements
There are documents Russians must submit before they can get this visa. They are
Completed Application Form
Valid Russian passport
Proof of funds
Proof of accommodation
Invitation letter, if required
Travel health insurance
There are documents for a Schengen visa for Russian citizens.