Are you too craving to go to that world power in the north that everybody fears; to have a coffee with mr. Putin and maybe join him on a bear hunt? Then this post might be helpful to you. Hold on, does Russia not appeal to you? Not at all? Oh, then just google Altai and you might think differently! 🙂
Visas are in general more difficult to obtain in a country that is not your homeland – therefore it’d be ideal to apply for all of your visas whilst still being home. There is one obstacle however – the validity of the visas. There is absolutely no point in applying for a visa that is valid for three months or shorter if you’re not actually entering the country until five months later. Still wanting to get over with one of the most difficult visas on my trip when I had the chance though, I decided to go with a carreer in business rather than strouting around as a tourist.
I used Russiantours, a Finnish agent who serves those living within the EU, to get around with this business of mine. Their service was excellent with quick responses to any doubts or questions, thus I could really recommend them. (Please note though – I haven’t yet tested whether my visa actually appeals to the Russian border guards or not!)
Anyhow, let’s get started. There are several kinds of visas that could get you across the border of Russia – pick the one that suits you best – but the process will be pretty much the same. Applying for mine nine months in advance left me no other choice than the Multiple Entry Business Visa, validity one year.
Now, this would be a cost of 101 EUR – if you already have a written invitation from the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs that is. If you don’t, the cost adds up to 179 EUR – but then make sure to apply at least two months (complete processing time 6-8 weeks) before departure. If not you will have to add another 50 EUR for a faster processing time (2 weeks). Being able to afford the time rather than the money, I picked the normal processing price.
In addition, Russia won’t accept you across their border unless you are insuranced, and this insurance will have to cover your stay at the hospital for as much as 60 days, whoa! I didn’t find any suitable Swedish insurance that’d do the job – they’d only cover 40 days maximum- and hence I decided to buy Russiantour’s insurance as well. Cost: 71 EUR, company: IF, covering: Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.
So, first thing you do is placing an order here and then email Russiantours this application form and a scanned copy of your passport. Remember to pick the “solovisa”-option if you don’t already have an invitation, there is also the option to add their insurance to your order. They will then confirm your order by email and once the LOI is completed (if you need such) they will ask you to send them these documents by post:
A passport photo
And the visa application form again, don’t forget to sign it!
Now, this is when things get real so make sure to fill in things properly and double-check! As for the visa application form; don’t worry about question nr 13 if you haven’t yet booked any accomodation or host – just leave the box empty, it will be fine.
Once your visa is completed, you make the payment and within shortly you will find not only your passport but also your nice and fancy Russian Visa attached to it in your mailbox!
So, pretty simple after all – just bear in mind that it’s a time-craving process unless you’re willing to pay more. Now hurry up, we don’t wanna be late for that bear hunt!