There are eighty-six visa categories, including seven types of temporary visas - private, tourist, business, humanitarian, work, student, and transit - each with different application requirements. The bilateral visa agreement covers only tourist, private, business, and humanitarian visas. To enter Russia for any purpose other than short transit by air (less than 24 hours with no airport exit allowed) or some journeys by cruise ship or ferry (see below), you must possess a valid U.S. passport and a visa issued by a Russian embassy or consulate. You cannot obtain a visa upon arrival, so you must apply for your visa well in advance. If you arrive in Russia without an entry visa, border authorities will not permit you to enter the country, and you could face immediate return to the point of embarkation at your own expense, and a possible ban on entering Russia for a period thereafter.
U.S. citizen travelers must have a valid visa to depart Russia.