Spinning off from this more specific question:

Russian visa bureaucracy is infamous, and one of the quirkier bits is the requirement to have a letter of invitation (LOI) for virtually all visa types, including tourism visas, although then it's called a "tourist confirmation" instead.

However, as far as I can tell, if you have APEC Business Travel Card, you're eligible to enter Russia without a separate visa or a letter of invitation -- as long as you're visiting for business. If this is the case, how can you prove that you're visiting for business? Or are you best off bringing an LOI anyway?

  • 4
    As Russian, I can say that you can't get enough papers to borders. The more you have, the more chances are that border officer will glance on your papers, understand your preparedness, and leave you alone.
    – VMAtm
    Feb 26, 2018 at 2:10
  • Russia is not listed on your APEC website. My gut feeling is that you will need a LOI for any business visa in Russia.
    – AussieJoe
    Jul 5, 2018 at 19:52
  • @AussieJoe It's listed under "the Russian Federation". Jul 5, 2018 at 23:52
  • @jpatokal i see it now. thanks for the clarification.
    – AussieJoe
    Jul 6, 2018 at 15:01

1 Answer 1


According to the Russian consulate in Hong Kong:

APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) holders with “RUS” inscribed on the back enjoy a visa-free entry into Russia for official or business visits. While passing Russian border control ABTC holders need to present their valid national passport and the valid ABTC.

Total period of stay in the Russian Federation can be no more than 90 days during any period of 180 days.

Note: cardholders travelling to Russia for other purposes need to make a respective Russian visa.

The underlying law (Executive Order #777) likewise fails to mention any documents besides a passport and a valid APEC card.

So as long as you're traveling for business you're not obligated to carry any other papers. How you prove that you're actually a businessman if challenged by the border guards is up to you - I assume informal proof such as a printed email or a local contact's business card should be sufficient.

  • 1
    The APEC card IS the proof that you are a businessman! By having one that is endorsed for Russia, you have already been certified by your own government as a legitimate businessperson, and you have already been pre-approved for entry into Russia by the Russian government.
    – Doc
    Jul 6, 2018 at 1:55
  • 2
    @Doc it doesn't prove you're a businessman for this particular trip though, rather than a tourist.
    – JonathanReez
    Jul 6, 2018 at 3:40

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