Information about different kinds of Russian visas. Which visa you need when visiting Russia for filming purposes

If you’re a filmmaker planning to shoot a movie or documentary in Russia, you’ll need to obtain the appropriate visa to enter the country legally. Depending on your purpose of the visit and the length of your stay, you may need a different type of visa. In addition, bringing filming equipment into the country requires careful planning and compliance with local regulations. This includes obtaining the necessary permits and customs clearance. The process of applying for a Russian business visa can also be complex, and it’s important to follow the correct steps and provide all the required documentation. In this text, we’ll explore the different types of visas that film crews may need when visiting Russia and provide guidance on how to navigate the visa application process.

The common questions are: Which visa do I need to film in Russia? How can I bring filming equipment into the country? Do I need a media (journalist) visa to visit Russia for filming purposes? How to apply for a Russian business visa, what should I do first?

Which visa kinds exist in Russia?

There are four main types of visas in Russia:
• Tourist
• Business
• Cultural or Humanitarian
• Media or Journalist

First of all, you need to understand what, where, and how you plan to film. Depending on this, you may use one of the following visa categories:

Tourist Visas. Is a tourist visa enough for filming in Russia?


A tourist visa works perfectly for small filmings that don’t need getting special permits or getting access to official events like press conferences or competitions. So if you need to make a bigger project and you only can get a tourist visa for some reason, renting equipment locally or hiring a cameraman in Russia would allow you to film some things that require accreditation or official access. Bringing lots of filming equipment on a Carnet ATA to Russia under a tourist visa is possible, but has several big risks.

If, during your filming in Russia, you will need to get access to government-owned institutions like museums, hospitals, or schools, a Russian tourist visa will not work for you.

So making it short, Russian tourist visas work if you plan on filming:
• Landscapes
• Monuments
• Public places
• Privately owned locations
• Russian tourist visa don’t work if you plan on filming
• Press conferences
• Competitions
• Hospitals, schools
• Filming close to border zone areas

Business visa. Can I film in Russia while having a business visa?

This works perfectly for any kind of filming in Russia that doesn’t require access to official (governmental) events or press conferences. Another restriction is filming in trains and getting access to border zone areas. For filming inside a train (or at any location owned by the Russian Railroads), a journalist visa is a must! Contact us to get assistance in getting business visas to Russia.

Business visas work if you plan on filming in Russia:

• Landscapes, monuments, public places, privately owned locations
• Commercial structures
• National reserves
• Most sports events

Russian business visas don’t fit to your filming requirements if you plan on filming:

• Official press conferences or press events organized by the state or the russian government
• Filming inside Russian trains or filming anything that belongs to Russian Railroads
• Filming any military base or object, including filming at Cosmodrome Baikonur.
• Entering for filming near border zone areas.

Russian journalist visa. When do I need a journalist visa in Russia? How do I get one?

It’s a bit trickier to get journalist visas to Russia than business or tourist visas, but sometimes it’s mandatory to go for it. A journalist visa is a must for getting official accreditations from Russian ministries and for official media work in the country. So for covering official press conferences, big sports events, filming space launches from a cosmodrome… with the journalist visa you will be able to film everything that is possible to legally film in Russia. Very important! Having a journalist visa doesn’t mean that you don’t need to apply for a filming permit or accreditation in Russia. It only gives you the possibility to apply for a permit. Contact us to get all the required filming permits for filming in Russia.

Getting a journalist visa is the only way to legally film inside a train in Russia.

A journalist visa works if you plan on filming:

  • Landscapes, monuments, public places, privately owned locations
  • Museums, commercial structures, national reserves, most sporting events
  • Filming at a press conference
  • Visiting big sports events for filming purposes as a representative of any foreign media in Russia
  • Filming inside a train or any location owned by Russian Railroads
  • Filming a space launch from the Cosmodrome Baikonur

Journalist visa don’t work if you plan filming in Russia:

  • Something that legally can’t be filmed. Military bases, some factories, and the work of customs officers.
  • Something where you don’t have a permit from the owner. Contact us at [email protected] so our fixers can help you in getting all the filming permits that are required for filming in Russia.

After getting the journalist visa you should apply for a media accreditation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As a result, they will give you a press-card that will verify that you are recognized as a journalist in Russia.

Cultural OR HUMANITARIAN visa. When and for what purposes I may need a Russian cultural visa?

It’s nearly similar to a business visa. Sometimes it’s easier to get a cultural (humanitarian) visa if the purpose of your visit to Russia if filming inside a national reserve or in a museum.