Six Reasons a Three-Year Multi-Entry Russian Visa is Right for You

Six Reasons a Three-Year Multi-Entry Russian Visa is Right for You

A little gets you a lot when it comes to Russian visas, but a little more gets you a lot more when it comes to a unique visa that not everyone knows about – the best-value, extremely generous, three-year validity, multi-entry, stay half-a-year-at-a-time visa that the Russian Embassy currently offers.

Interested? Here’s what you need to know

Does it cost a lot more?

No! The 3-year multi-entry Russian visa is only about $126 more than a standard 30-day validity double-entry visa. Compared to that 30-day visa, your additional $126 buys you:

  • Unlimited entries during the validity period
  • A validity period thirty-five months longer
  • A duration of stay for each visit five months longer

For less than the cost of even two single-entry visas you get a travel window stretching over the next three years. You also only deal with application forms, processing timelines, shipping the passport and all the other Russian visa steps one time for every three years that you might want to visit – perfect for those who travel a lot and need to maximize their time with their passport in hand.


The tour group visits a small village in Dagestan, Russia. Photo credit: Michel Behar

The tour group visits a small village in Dagestan, Russia
Photo credit: Michel Behar

Is it harder to get?

No! We can provide the necessary Russian Visa Support for travelers with scheduled MIR trips to Russia in the current or coming year through our affiliate offices in Russia; usually in a day or two. It’s the same support that we provide for MIR travelers entering only once or twice.

The application form and process are identical to the single- or double-entry visa procedures. While any visa issuance is at the Embassy’s ultimate discretion, there is no reason to expect that qualifying applicants will get anything other than what they request when applying for the three-year multi-entry Russian visa.

East meets West: The border between European Russia and Asian Russia
Photo credit: Helge Pedersen

Does it take a lot longer to process?

It doesn’t! The standard processing time for a single- or double-entry Russian visa is approximately 10 working days, which can be shortened to about 5 working days at additional cost (note this is time once at the embassy, add days for shipping and processing turnaround). The three-year multi-entry visa takes a minimum of 15 working days once at the Embassy, and cannot be expedited – which means that if your processing window is tight it may not be an option. But because the visa validity is three years, MIR can help you process the visa for your scheduled trip with MIR whenever you have time during your off-season – and you’ll be prepared to travel to Russia over the next three years.

Lake Baikal, Russia. Photo: Vladimir Kvashnin

A lake of superlatives: Baikal is the oldest and deepest freshwater lake in the world
Photo credit: Vladimir Kvashnin

There must be some fine print, right?

There are some things to be aware of. It’s valid for U.S. passport holders only. The three-year multi-entry visa does not remain valid after your passport is renewed. Also, the three-year multi-entry visa will not be issued with an end date closer than 6 months to the expiration of your passport – so travelers with less than 3.5 years passport validity remaining should consider the future value. If the Russians for some reason do not grant the multiple-entry, and give a single or double instead, there is no refund of the visa cost differential. Finally, please note MIR can only provide Russian Visa support paperwork for travelers who have booked a tour or a private journey with us in the current or coming calendar year.

So who would want to visit Russia enough times to make the multi-entry visa worthwhile? Russia is without a doubt the most diverse destination in the MIR portfolio – the real question should be “Who would only want to visit once?”

Here are six things you can do in the next three years with your multi-entry visa.

1. Chase the Northern Lights – and then the Midnight Sun

Choose your own adventure: Midnight Sun or the Northern Lights Photo: Kirkenes Snow Hotel

Choose your own adventure: Midnight Sun or the Northern Lights
Photo: Kirkenes Snow Hotel

MIR and Golden Eagle Luxury Trains have teamed up to offer two versions of the same stunning northern route – one while aurora borealis swirls above in the dead of winter, and one timed to catch the never-ending days of the White Nights. Visit the Russian north in two distinct seasons for two incredible experiences.

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2. Explore the Trans-Siberian, Endless Siberia and the Russian East

Emerging from one of the Circumbaikal Railroad’s 33 tunnels

Russia was settled from east to west, and the hallmarks of eastern expansion still leave their imprints on this vast land. Western Russia is home to the capital, St. Petersburg’s imperial treasures, the ancient towns of Kievan Rus and the start of the Trans-Siberian Railway. Central Russia hosts endless taiga and birch forests, shamanistic traditions, and the pristine waters of the world’s deepest lake, Baikal. Russia’s wild east, once closed to visitors, is home to legendary seaports, Amur Tigers, and the extreme end of the rail line. There’s far too much in this vast nation to take in at one time – enough to fill two trips, three, four… the sky’s the limit!

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3. Discover Remote Yakutsk & Wild Kamchatka

Greetings from Yakutia Photo: Max Sjöblom

Greetings from Yakutia
Photo: Max Sjöblom

One of MIR’s most logistically far out trips explores remote Yaktusk in central Siberia and the untamed Kamchakta Peninsula on Russia’s portion of the Ring of Fire. Gear up for a wild exploration of the land of permafrost and mammoths, before continuing to witness Kamchatka’s bubbling geysers and steaming volcanoes.

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4. Immerse Yourself in Imperial Splendor and Return for Modern Moscow

Red Square in Moscow, Russia. Photo credit: Jonathan Irish

Red Square at night
Photo: Jonathan Irish

There’s too much in Western Russia for just one visit – so take your time and take it all in. Visit Moscow, exploring everything from the Kremlin and Red Square to the Tretyakov Gallery; from Tolstoy’s Yasnaya Polyana to the palatial Metro stations; from Stalin’s Bunker to Lenin’s tomb. Then instead of rushing to St. Petersburg, let it all sink in and return home for a few months or a couple of years. St. Petersburg’s glittering canals, neoclassical architecture, vast art collections and more will be waiting for you when you come back.

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5. Cruise to Franz Josef Land this year, or in 2020 as part of a North Pole trip

Dropping anchor at the North Pole. Photo: Dietmar Denger

Dropping anchor at the North Pole
Photo credit: Dietmar Denger

MIR is offering a once-in-a-lifetime journey to the North Pole on the nuclear icebreaker 50 Years of Victory in 2020 which includes Franz Josef Land – get your sea legs now with a journey to remote Franz Josef Land by ship in 2019, or visit this remote area together with 90° North in 2020!

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6. Stay 45 days, 50 days, or more

An overland expedition stops at Mutnovsky Volcano in Kamchatka, Russia. Photo: Jake Smith

An overland expedition stops at Mutnovsky Volcano in Kamchatka, Russia
Photo: Jake Smith

Why not spend 3 or 4 weeks in and around Moscow and St. Petersburg, before heading to the Baltics, zipping into and out of Russian Kaliningrad, catching your breath in Moscow for a few days and then absorbing World War II sites in Volgograd? If you’re dreaming of this kind of leisurely and in-depth, in-and-out-of-Russia exploration like one MIR client did in 2018, the multi-entry visa is the only way to make it happen. Or follow in the footsteps of a family of 5 who drove from Vladivostok to Moscow with our support – popping in on Mongolia along the way over 40 days. Dream adventures like these require the flexibility and length of the three-year multi-entry visa.

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It’s a great travel season in St. Petersburg, Russia. Photo: Bruce Jones

It’s a great travel season in St. Petersburg, Russia
Photo: Bruce Jones


Travel to Russia with MIR

MIR has more than 30 years travel experience to Russia, with affiliate offices in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Siberia offering on-the-ground support, and tour managers that clients rave about. MIR’s full service, dedication, commitment to quality, and destination expertise have twice earned us a place on National Geographic Adventure’s list of “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth.”

You can also book a hand-crafted, custom private journey based on your interests and timeline. MIR’s knowledgeable guides offer unique perspectives and insider information that only an on-the-ground local would know, making your journey utterly unique and unforgettable.

Chat with one of our destination specialists by email or by phone at 1-800-424-7289 to start planning your next trip.


Top photo: Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, St Petersburg, Russia. Photo: Jonathan Irish

PUBLISHED: January 25, 2019

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