When most of you think of going to Russia one of the first questions you have is HOW TO GET A RUSSIAN VISA?
Last year we made post about this issue, but recently we updated it and hence decided to publish it again. If material below can be useful to your friends or colleagues please share it with them. We would also appreciate if you leave any comments by firstname.lastname@example.org, even just short simple Thank You would be great.
So lets begin, here is general information about VISA to Russia:
1) There are countries that can enter Russia without visa, for example Brazil, South Korea, South Africa and approx 15-20 more countries. If you are lucky most probably you know that))
2) Unfortunately, most of the countries, including all European countries, UK, USA, Canada, Australia, etc. need visa to enter Russia
Standard tourist visa is 30 days long, can be single or double entry. With USA it's an exception, standard tourist visa can be 30 days or 3 years as well. But that is the only such exception that we know. If you need more that 30 days for your trip most common way is to apply for business visa, it can be 90 days, 180 days, 365 days and even 3-5 years, single, double or multi entrance as well.
There are many other types of visa, but that's not applicable to motorcycle travelling. Everybody uses, either tourist, or business visa.
You can apply for a visa 3-6 (depends on country) months before you plan to visit Russia. Application process takes 10-14 days. During last years more than 500 riders from all over the world travelers with us in Russia and we NEVER had any case when our customer couldn't make a visa. It's a paper work and it takes some time, but in general there is nothing special.
The list of necessary documents for Russian visa:
- Invitation (from Russian tour company, we do this)
- Visa application form
- Color photo measuring 35mm x 45mm
- Medical insurance policy
Most tricky question is how to get an invitation letter. If you travel with us we will prepare it. If you travel on your own and don't have any contacts in Russia write us and we will find solution. Possibly we can do it for you or advise place where you can get it.
Application form must be downloaded or filled online at Russian Embassy website or at Russia Visa Center web site. We will give you addresses below.
Also, you need usual medical insurance for travel abroad. You can buy it your local insurance company. We strongly suggest making extension for active sport/motorcycle riding.
WHERE can I apply for visa?
You have two options, apply directly to Embassy or use special visa centers in your country that are usually available. There is no difference where to apply, just choice what is located close to you. In some countries Russia has no visa centers, for example in Australia, there is just Embassy and you must apply there.
Regarding visa centers we want to give you just a bit more information so that you understand how it works. They were created approx. 7-10 years ago all around the world as the number of people travelling was constantly growing and Embassies were not ready to handle so huge number of applications. So, governments of all countries were happy to delegate application process to few commercial companies that offered their services.
There are two companies that maintain/manage visa centers all around the world, their names are VHS and VFS. Very close names. Most of the world visa application process is divided between them.
If you go here www.vhs-italy.com, you can look for your countries that are served by VHS
If you go here http://www.vfsglobal.com you can see counties that are served by VFS
Applying for a visa through VHS or VFS is fully legal, they are simply hired by governments in different counties to help people travel. In such countries as Italy, Germany, USA there are 2-3 Embassies and 3-5 visa offices located in different places around the country. Choice which is closest to you and apply there. And don't forget you can always apply directly through Embassy.
WEB ADDRESSES of Russian EMBASSIES or VISA CENTERS in different countries.
Please have a look here:
- USA https://ils-usa.com/
- UK http://ru.vfsglobal.co.uk/
- Canada http://www.vfsglobal.com/Russia/canada/
- Australia https://australia.mid.ru/web/en/tourist-visa
- Italy https://vhs-italy.com/
- Germany https://vhs-germany.com/
- Austria https://www.vhs-austria.com/
- Belgium https://vhs-belgium.com/
- France https://france-vhs.com/
- Netherlands http://russiavisacentre.nl/
- Sweden https://ifs-sweden.com/
- India https://www.india-ifs.com/
FAQ about visa application process
1) Is it necessary to visit visa center or Embassy personally? - For most countries no
2) What is the price for visa? - Depends from country to country, but on average 100-200 Euro
3) Who can help me with all this paper work? - There are visa agencies in all countries that help people handle all this paper work, usually they charge extra 100 Euro/USD, but they do all papers and bring your docs to Embassy instead of you
4) Why in the application form they ask me to write all countries where I have been during last 5-10 years? - We are sorry, but we can't do anything with this. Such are the rules. As a consolation we can say that it's the same for other countries as well and when you apply for USA, Canada or Australia visa you must fill even more information
5) Do I have to pass interview? - In 95% you can just send your passport with application documents by post to Embassy and get it back with visa in 2 weeks. Sometimes in some countries you must apply in personal and you can be asked at the Embassy what is the purpose of your visit, what's your plan for Russia. Just tell the truth, that you want to Explore Russia with a motorcycle with local tour company and that's it
6) What if I didn't get visa? Will you refund me money for the tour? - We never had any case when somebody was not given a visa. But if such will happen we will return you money that you paid for the tour, so don't be afraid of this
7) I want to stay in Russia for more than 30 days, can you help me with business visa? - Yes, we can, please write us at email@example.com
Hope you will find this material useful.
Explore Russia with Rusmototravel, enjoy ride in the largest country in the world.