So you have decided to visit Russia? Here is our complete travel guide to let you know about the steps you should take to secure your Russian visa and make sure that your trip goes smoothly –
Step 1: Getting A Russian Visa Invitation (Travel Voucher) From A Russia-Based Registered Travel Agency:
In order to get a tourist visa to Russia, you need to first receive a Russian visa invitation letter (also called a “Travel voucher”) from an authorized travel agency based in Russia. There are several websites offering the service, but we recommend you the following 2 websites-
1) Visa For Russia
2) Russian Visa Help
Both these websites are very popular among Indian travelers and are well recommended by vloggers and bloggers social media. Invitation price may vary depending on your travel dates, but the average fee is 20 dollars per invitation letter per person i.e. 1400 INR. So just visit either of these websites and submit your order for an invitation. Your order will be processed within a few minutes. Both of these websites provide 24-hour support, including holidays and weekends. That’s great; isn’t it?
Step 2: Make A Hotel Booking:
You need to book a hotel room as it is required to be mentioned in your invitation (Step 1 above). But here some tips:
You do not have to pay full amount for your hotel booking in advance. Just use booking.com, agoda, orairbnb (yes, air bnb apartments are fine as well) and get a flexible/tentative booking for the city or cities in Russia which you plan to visit. This way, you can easily cancel your hotel booking without extra charge and book another one if you find a better deal. BUT! Remember one thing which is very important – if you decide to cancel your hotel and book another accommodation, don’t forget to inform your host company (visaforrussia.support or Russianvisahelp.com which issued the invitations for you) about such changes. You can Email them again and inform about the new hotel stay. Why this needs to be done? Very often when arrived at the Russian airport, the airport immigration officials may call your host company (visaforrussia.support or russianvisahelp.com) to check if they really invited you. So they will ask them to confirm your full name, your travel dates, as well as which hotels you are planning to stay in.
So if you forget to inform your host company about the changes, they will not be able to confirm your new hotel details to the officials and this may cause a problem for you to visit Russia. Some people may think that they can cancel all their hotels after getting a visa to Russia. They plan to first visit Russia and then book a hotel at the time. you should avoid doing such kind of planning as this behavior is typical of immigrants which you are not, right? So always have a hotel pre-booked (the pay-at-the-hotel option is fine too) and make sure the host company is fully informed about any changes in your accommodation. Remember -your host company is your best friend while in Russia, so you should trust and cooperate with your host company and keep them informed.
After arranging an invitation letter and a hotel booking, you can move on to the next step.
Step 3: Submit Your Visa Application Form:
Using the information mentioned in your invitation letter (Travel voucher), you should fill out the visa application form on the official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia at https://visa.kdmid.ru/ . You will require mentioning the name of the host company, their address, their reference number (also called the MBT number), and your voucher confirmation number. All these details will be provided to you by your host company along with the invitation letter (Travel voucher).
Then Print your visa application form and schedule an appointment with a visa center or directly with the Russian embassy nearest to you. For the appointment make sure you have:
- The printed application above;
- Russian visa invitation which you received in step 1 above;
- Your foreign (international) passport (in original);
- Your foreign (invitational) passport (photocopy);
- Photograph, 3.5 *4.5 centimeters in size.
You will also need to pay a small consular fee (the amount depends on the visa processing time – there is urgent processing which costs around 2600 INR and non-urgent (standard) processing which costs around 1300 INR. If you opt for express visa processing (the urgent one), you can get your visa in 1 day. If you are in no rush, doing everything in advance, and you do not mind waiting for a few days, then choose the non-urgent option to save the emergency fees. Please, note that both invitation fee and the above mentioned consular fee are non-refundable.
Step 4: Get Your Flight Ticket:
We recommend using Sky-scanner to search for a good deal on flights. Make sure you book your round trip in advance. Do not book an only one-way ticket. This way it will be easier for you to clear the airport immigration because you will have sort of a proof that you are traveling to Russia for solely tourism and not for any illegal immigration. So make sure you book both ways. You can do this either in advance or after you get your Russian visa, but if you plan to visit Russia for a stay which is longer than 14 days, the Russian embassy may additionally request you to provide the tickets in advance. Whereas this is usually not mandatory if you are traveling for a short period (under 14 days)
That’s it. Hope, you will find this information helpful. If you follow these steps, your Russia trip will go smoothly and hassle-free. Enjoy your trip to Russia!