Russian visa

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There are already a ton of sites who try to explain (and sell) you Russian visas, so I will stick here to inform you of what is not written there, and link out to them for all other purposes.  Real Russia has a very comprehensive guide to all Russian visa info, where Russian visas has got some good info too. Way to Russia offers another good round-up, just as Everbrite, who also lists embassy reports from around the world.

Russian transit visa

For a Russian transit visa you need proof of onward travel (transport tickets from Russia to another country) and a visa for the country of destination, unless you’re driving yourself. No letter of invitation is needed, so you’re saving money. Transit visas are given for 1 to 10 days, depending on the distance and your mode of transport.

If you are traveling by airplane, you will get a transit visa until the day you have to catch your second plane (no more than 3 days). By train, it depends on the length of your journey (eg. Moscow – Vyborg: 1 day, Moscow – Nakhodka: 8 days). By car, divide the distance you need to cover by 500 to estimate the number of days you will get. Be ready to use your visa, Russian visas are date-specific.

Russian visa application in Central Asia

Russian embassy in Ulan Bator

For transit visa (self-drive) only car documents are necessary. Tourist visas are possible through a tourist agency.

Russian embassy in Astana

For transit visa (self-drive) car documents, car insurance and medical insurance are necessary. Other transit visas are possible too. Costs depending on length of visa, speed of processing and nationality, ranging from 50 to 200$. No recent info on tourist or business visa.

June 2013: Same Day Service, 13900 Tenge.
Waited around 3 hours in front of the Embassy. Very nerveracking, but rewarding in the end. There are rumors that the Russians are about to set new regulations: you’ll only get a Visa (Tourist or Transit) if you are staing a minimum of 90 days in Kazakhstan.

Russian consulate in Uralsk

For transit visa (self-drive) only car documents are necessary. Costs depending on length of visa, speed of processing and nationality, ranging from 50 to 200$. No recent info on tourist or business visa.

Russian consulate in Almaty

June 2013: Traveler met some people who managed to get Tourist or Transit Visa in Almaty. Apparently,  the Almaty Embassy is very very very difficult.

April 2013: You need to make an appointment in advance if you want to apply for a visa. You get the appointment by calling the consulate. I came today without and managed to get in anyway, although I had to wait for 3 hours.
What you need to obtain a tourist visa:
1. to be a resident of Kazakhstan, or have student visa, etc.
2. application form filled out.
3.Original LOI,copy won’t do
4. bank statement showing that you have 100 pound pr day you’re visa is valid.

5. copy of passport + kazakh visa
6. insurance + copy of the insurance policy

I didn’t get one.

August 2012: I got a Russian transit visa in Almaty on the 7th August 2012. They asked me to give them usual documents (photocopy passaport, one photo, photocopy kazakh visa, photocopy OVIR police immigration paper -after got it-, and all the request I fullfilled online and printed by myself; if you modified some details there is no problem but be sure your tickets’ time is the same of that onto the application form) plus photocopy of my medical insurance, and already booked and payed photocopy of in/out Russian train tickects which I did with a travel agency in Almaty (“Global Air”, on the west side of panfilova park, reliable and nice travel agency, +300 tienge per ticket). At the time I applied on Tuesday and I could get my visa in one week (6500 tg) or two days (13000 tg). They did not ask me any LOI neither agency support from Russia. The embassy was quite busy all the time so it’s better to be there on time. There are no english information on the outside board so it’s better to have somebody who could help you. Last but not least, they ask you immediately to pay the very same day you apply and not at the pick up day: have cash.

May 2012: Russian tourist or business visas are no longer possible in Almaty. Perhaps transit visas are still possible?

April 2012: 2 Dutch travelers obtained a 3-month business visa.

Russian consulate in Dushanbe 

Note: it’s the Russian consulate that handles visa issues, not the embassy!

June 2013: Russian Tourist visa 46$ (but citizenship related) 7 days to issue with supporting papers; very crowded but can get past the locals and enter in front (just say that you need tourist visa)

November 2011: American passport holder obtained 30-day tourist visa with LOI.

Polish passport couple, with only a 30-day Tourist visa for Tajikistan, obtained 30-day Russian tourist visa, on same day, for USD 90 with visa support (LOI).

Canadian passport, 30-day Tajik tourist visa, could get 30-day Russia Tourist Visa by submitting visa support and 5,000 Tajik Som …. i think they meant 500 Tajik Som which is approx USD 113.00 which might be correct.  

Russian embassy in Bishkek

October 2013: How to get a Russian visa anno 2013 in Bishkek.

September 2012: A comment from a Belgian couple traveling by car: We were informed that in Bishkek they do NOT issue transit visa for Russia either if you do not have a Kyrgystan visa in your passport. As we are belgian, we do not longer need a visa for Kyrgystan, but apparently the Russian embassy does not take this into consideration.

June 2012: For a tourist visa, the consulate wants the original LOI, which would cost 35$ + 65$ shipping. Transit visas are also very, very, very difficult. A German cyclist tells us the following:
For the transit I booked my trains through Russia as they told me. Then the woman at the consulate said, that my Kyrgyz visa has to be valid when I enter Russia. (Why? I travel through Kazakhstan! Okay then get your Russian visa there).

I extended my Kyrgyz visa. Up to 30th of July, just like the Kazakh one. Now she told me: firstly, you have to apply for your visa not more than two weeks before entering Russia. Secondly, your Kyrgyz visa has to be valid at least up to one month after entering Russia. Thirdly, get your visa in Kazakhstan if you want.

Russian embassy in Tashkent

September 2013: I’m traveling on a swiss passport. Went to Russian embassy on monday at 09:50. A crowd was waiting in front of the door and I kindly informed the officer that I was here to apply for a tourist visa. I had to wait 5 minutes before he called me and a few other people who where here for business visa. You need to find your way to a room with a lot of desks and go to the first desk right in front of the door. The girl checked the document very carefully so here is the important things :

For schengen countries they ask to see the original of insurance policy. I had mine scanned and sent to me by email from Switzerland. Then I just made a good quality print from a photo printing shop and a black and white bad quality print to show as copy. It went out fine. I also did a good quality print of the voucher.

After all documents are accepted, you get back a file with your documents and passport with a number on it. You will be requested to go to the cashier (kassa) and pay for your visa in advance. The cashier will keep your files after you paid.

When filling the application form, make sure to report the exact information you gave for the voucher. It helps to have everything “making sense”. Report the name of inviting organization, reference number and confirmation number from your voucher.

List of required documents :
————————————
- Travel voucher with attached confirmation (contain reference number and confirmation number, you can order it online)
- 1 completed and printed application form from http://visa.kmid.ru
- 1 copy of ID page of your passport
- 1 picture
- US dollars, visa need to be paid in advance, no refund (46$ standard 4 working days / 92$ express 1 working day)

! Additional ! only for Shengen countries, Estonian, and Israeli citizens :
- “Original” of insurance policy valid in Russia + copy
- Copies of insurance card (recto verso)

September 2012: A comment from a Belgian couple travelling by car: We tried to get Russian transit visa to get to Mongolia but in the Russian embassy in Tashkent they do not longer issue transit visa for self-drive tourists. In the end, we paid a tourist visa through a tour operator (Navigator) for 150 usd per person for 30 days, double entry. We applied on the 27th of September and will get the passport back on the 3rd of October.

May 2012: I got a Russian tourist visa at the embassy in Tashkent in May 2012 with little problem – cost $46. I am British, but I am resident in Tashkent and I speak Russian, which definitely helped. They insisted on seeing the original of my LOI rather than a copy I’d received by email which meant it had to be sent to me by courier from Moscow.

Russian embassy in Ankara

May 2013: American citizen with Turkish residence permit. Of course as bureaucratic as I thought it would be; they wanted the original visa support document, not just the copy that Realrussia had sent me by email. After getting that shipped in, they were only going to provide me with a single-entry 30-day visa instead of the new 3-year multiple entry issued to Americans, but after a detailed conversation I convinced the embassy staff that I wasn’t just trying to live in Moscow for 3 years. They did some checking, and 30 minutes later said they hadn’t known about the new visa before, I was right (!), and were ready to issue it. $450 (!) same day processing.

Comments are closed. If you have questions or embassy reports, head over to our forum’s visa section.

11 Comments

  1. Does anyone know the latest news on applying for Russian transit visas in Almaty or Dushanbe? We are a group of British and German nationals planning to travel by car from Kazakhstan through Russia to Ukraine. None of us is a resident in any of these countries but we will have Kazakh and Tajik tourist visas. Is it possible to obtain a 7-day or 10-day transit visa if we’re driving; does anyone know if we’d need an LOI, etc? Seems like obtaining a transit visa would be more simple than a tourist visa and we don’t need much time in Russia, but I’m still confused about the specifics! Thanks very much for all your help.

  2. Very good and detailed discription. The thing is that I am not driving, taking a train or flying. I am hitch hiking here from China, through Kazakhstan and through Russia. Does anyone have an idea where and how it would be best for me to get a visa. I really want to get it in Uralsk, but I if there is really no other way I can go to Astana og Almaty.
    Is the port of entry written on the transit visa? If it is not, the n I can just buy and cancel a plane ticket I guess, and have three days, which should be enough. I will be heading to Kazakhstan in about two or three weeks, so a qick reply would be really good :)

    • Hi Adam, I guess you can say you are going by bus and see what they see at the embassy. If not, you can also cancel train tickets in Kazakhstan at the train station if you prefer instead of plane tickets. Point of entry is not stated on the visa. I don’t know what would be a good place for a Russian transit visa, last summer it was a hassle everywhere, this year I have not heard any news yet. Please let me know when you find out!

      • Thannks Steven! I didn’t see your reply until today. I got a LOI today, so I’ll give the tourist visa a shot first, in Astana. If they decline me there I’ll go to Uralsk and ask for a transite visa instead. Do they refund the cancelation of the train ticket as well as cancel it? Do you know? I’ll make an update how it went. Hopefully I’ll be in Kazakhstan the April 26.

        • Update from today in Almaty.
          You need to make an appointment in advance if you want to apply for a visa. You get the appointment by calling the consulate. I came today without and managed to get in any way, although I had to wait for 3 hours.
          What you need to obtain a tourist visa:
          1. to be a resident of Kazakhstan, or have student visa, etc.
          2. application form filled out. 3.Original LOI,copy won’t do
          4. bank statement showing that you have 100 pound pr day you’re visa is valid.
          5. copy of passport + kazakh visa
          6. insurance, + copy of the insurance policy

          I didn’t get the visa

          • Thank you for the update!

  3. My friends are now in Kazakhstan , Almaty.Their expires in 02 weeks from now.Before that they wish to visit Russia, even on a TRANSIT VISA whilst in transit to SRI LANKA via Moscow.
    Please kindly someone guide me how and where can this Russia can be taken and how fast will they issue it.But is a LOI needed??? Who can provide it?

    Please reply soon to my mail above: [email protected]

  4. I got a Russian transit visa in Almaty on the 7th August 2012. They asked me to give them usual documents (photocopy passaport, one photo, photocopy kazakh visa, photocopy OVIR police immigration paper -after got it-, and all the request I fullfilled online and printed by myself; if you modified some details there is no problem but be sure your tickets’ time is the same of that onto the application form) plus photocopy of my medical insurance, and already booked and payed photocopy of in/out Russian train tickects which I did with a travel agency in Almaty (“Global Air”, on the west side of panfilova park, reliable and nice travel agency, +300 tienge per ticket). At the time I applied on Tuesday and I could get my visa in one week (6500 tg) or two days (13000 tg). They did not ask me any LOI neither agency support from Russia. The embassy was quite busy all the time so it’s better to be there on time. There are no english information on the outside board so it’s better to have somebody who could help you. Last but not least, they ask you immediately to pay the very same day you apply and not at the pick up day: have cash.

    • Grazie mille! Well done to you, and thank you for the update. Seems like the craziness of June has subsided again…

  5. I got a Russian tourist visa at the embassy in Tashkent in May 2012 with little problem – cost $46. I am British, but I am resident in Tashkent and I speak Russian, which definitely helped. They insisted on seeing the original of my LOI rather than a copy I’d received by email which meant it had to be sent to me by courier from Moscow.

    • Thank you for the update, Kathryn! Was a long time since I heard anything about Tashkent.

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