Applying For A Russian Tourist Visa In Seven Easy Steps

The thought of applying for a Russian visa can be a daunting one, but it’s not as difficult as it first appears. You don’t need a visa service to make the application.

First step – you’ll need to obtain visa support. This can be arranged either through your tour company (if you’re going on a tour) or via your hotel (if they are authorised to invite people to Russia). Alternatively, you can buy visa support through a visa service.

Visa support includes a tourist voucher and a tourist confirmation voucher, which must contain the agency/hotel’s special reference number and must cover the dates for your entire stay.

If you’re making your own arrangements and staying at two hotels, e.g. one in St Petersburg and another in Moscow, you’ll need visa support from both hotels. The maximum number of confirmation letters from different agencies/hotels per visa application per person is two. If your trip is a little more complex, it would be advisable to secure the services of a visa service.

Check your visa support thoroughly to make sure all of the dates are correct.

Step Two – a passport photo. Ensure your photo is taken by an authorised passport photo outlet and check that it meets the visa requirements.

Step Three – Your passport will need at least six (6) months validity after the date you intend to leave Russia along with two (2) blank pages.

Step Four – Download the Visa Application Form – Fill in all of the spaces correctly, including putting n/a in the spaces you don’t need to answer and sign it. Incomplete forms will be retured.

Step Five – Consular Fee – Different fees are payable depending on the service, i.e. 2 day service or 7 day service. Add on several days if you are applying via the post.

Step Six – Send your passport, application form, tourist confirmation voucher and tourist voucher to the Russian Embassy. All postal applications must include a stamped self addressed Registered Post envelope. Only send using Registered Post so you can track the whereabouts of your passport.

Step Seven – Check your visa thoroughly. Ensure all details are correct and notify the Russian Embassy if you discover any errors. All errors must be rectified before you leave home.

We stayed at the Ibis Hotel in both St Petersburg and Moscow. Both hotels were authorised to provide visa support and were very prompt and professional in doing so. A financial guarantee was required in the case of cancellation of our bookings, but otherwise the service was free.

And once all of your visa affairs are in order, you can relax and have a wonderful time experiencing Russia!

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