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which passport to travel on?

Hello everyone,
We are about to start a visa application process to travel to Russia from the US and I have a couple of questions that I hope you can help me with.
I have a dual citizenship with a visa-free country, while my spouse and child do not. Should I travel under the visa-free passport (and save about $300), or do you think it would raise issues when crossing the border as a family?
Also, we have a choice between a tourist visa and a private one (we can get an invitation from a Russian national). Any recommendations as to which way is better?
Many thanks!

Posted by
2932 posts

The multiple issues surrounding you and your family make this rather complex . I would contact the agency that processes visa for the Russian Consulate - here is the link - http://ils-usa.com/

Posted by
11153 posts

Note that if you get a visa invitation from a Russian national, they have to register you - which means dealing with the Russian bureaucracy. From what I've read (no personal experience), that's not something anyone wants to do if they don't have to.

Meaning, if this person is a friend and you want them to stay a friend, you'll probably want to get a tourist visa. With a tourist visa, the hotel or other accommodation has to register the visa; since they do this all the time, it's much easier for them than for an individual.

Posted by
11 posts

thank you both, we'll stick with tourist visa then (since the whole trip hingrs on the idea that our friend will accompany us on our journey, I'd very much prefer to stay friends) and check out visa details with ils.
thanks again.
R.

Posted by
8 posts

I agree wholeheartedly with the previous posters - the tourist visa is designed for tourists and is much more headache-free. The private visa requires the inviting side (your Russian friend) to first go to their local Federal Migration Service location and get an official invitation. That means lines, uninspired agency representatives and processing waiting times. You're right to choose the tourist visas. As for traveling under different passports, you're always better off checking with the proper information pages first. I'll just add from my own experience that many many multi-national families enter and leave Russia every day with different passports with no problems. For example, the mother and children hold Russian passports and the father a US passport. The most import thing is always that each member of the family is following the law that applies to their individual case, so if you do decide to choose to travel on your visa-free passport, I'd also recommend being sure you're familiar with all/any Russia travel notices that country has posted just to be sure you're crossing your "t's" and dotting your lower-case "j's."