Welcome Message from the Consul General
Welcome to the website of the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow!
Hundreds of thousands of Russians visit the United States each year, to study, to do business, to work, and to relax. I am pleased that you are considering your own trip to the United States. Thanks to the U.S.-Russia visa agreement that entered into force in September 2012, it is now easier for Russians and Americans to visit each other’s countries, and we encourage you to experience the United States for yourself. From Alaska to Florida and Maine to Hawaii, there is a lot more to my country and its people, its character and its culture, than what you see on television or read in the newspaper.
To my great pleasure, more Russians are choosing the United States as a travel destination. Last year, our Embassy issued approximately 20% more visas than the year before. We have done everything in our power—working closely with our partners in the Russian government—to make the visa process as convenient and efficient as possible. We extended the maximum validity period for business and tourist visas to three years and eliminated all issuance fees (the $160 application fee still applies, as it does everywhere in the world). We introduced an expanded interview waiver program that allows most people renewing their visas to apply without a personal interview. More than one in five visas we issue is now approved without an interview. Also consider traveling to the tropical beaches of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, both U.S. territories which you don’t even need a visa to visit!
If you are ready to apply for a visa, I will offer a few pieces of advice you may find helpful:
- Besides a good quality photograph taken in the last six months and your current and past passports, do not worry about presenting the consul with lots of documents. We do not require you to show plane tickets or hotel reservations. In fact, you should not make these major purchases until your visa is issued.
- Dress appropriately for the weather on the day of your interview. Although we work quickly, our lines can be long, and you may have to wait outside for a bit. Please also bring as little as possible when you visit our consular facilities—for your safety and ours, we cannot permit luggage, large electronic devices, or anything that could be used as a weapon into our buildings.
- Many companies claim to offer an ‘inside track’ to a U.S. visa, often for a steep price. Every day, we see examples of people whose applications are derailed because of incorrect information presented by one of these companies. Be aware that our entire application process is designed so you can do it yourself—and that we offer free phone and email support if questions arise. Just be sure to read the instructions carefully and apply well in advance of your planned travel.
Please visit our website for more information on how to apply for the various categories of U.S. nonimmigrant visas, as well as information for those considering immigration to the United States.