Budapest - Hungary
All foreign nationals should arrange the Russian Visa before arrival at the border. There are few countries though who can travel without it. New agreements have been instituted between Russia and Brazil, China, Hong Kong and Vietnam. The Russian government have indicated that they would like to open up the scheme to the EU. This process has been less than transparent and is not well publicised. It is in the interest of foreign nationals to check visa requirements at the time of application and before departure.
To put it bluntly, do not overstay a Russian visa. The visa issued by the Russian Embassy is both for your entry and exit from the country. If the visa expires or is lost/stolen then you no longer have a way to leave. You will not be allowed out of Russia until you obtain an emergency visa extension. By Russian law any foreigner who does not have a valid visa may not stay at any kind of hotel, guesthouse or lodging accommodation. This lands you in a bit of a pickle, doesn't it? If you do overstay your visa, then you will face sanctions preventing you from re-entry the country.
By far, the easiest way to obtain a visa for Russia, is to use an agency that has built up contacts and knowledge of the application process. A good agency will provide you with visa application forms, which you complete and return along with your passport and a photograph. You provide them with your intended itinerary and they arrange for accommodation along the route, with this done, they can then provide you with a Visa support letter and then cancel the accommodation. The visa support charge covers the non-refundable deposits required for temporary hotel bookings.
When your documents arrive they will check the various application forms for errors. The documentation must tie up perfectly for the application to be successful. If all is in order with the application, passport and documentation are then submitted on your behalf. Hopefully five days later you will be in possession of a brand new Russian visa. If you have used a reputable agency, the visa will not be tied to any hostels, hotels or specific itineraries. You will be free to book travel and accommodation as you see fit.
Travellers who are intending to spend more than three days in Russia must register their visa and migration card with the hotel or guesthouse at which they are staying. This has to be done within 72 hours of arrival, excluding holidays and weekends. At each location in Russia, where you stay for three days or more, you must re-register your documentation. If you are unable to register a visa for a period in excess of 3 days, you should retain travel documents or other supporting documentation to explain the discrepancy. Police officers in Russia have the right to inspect your documentation at any time they deem fit. Fines for incorrect paperwork run from $30 – $100 US and are also applicable to your host, as they are responsible for your stay.
Russian Embassies Abroad