Just to give our report of getting Russian visas in Almaty as UK citizens.
We applied for TOURIST, 30-day, double-entry visas, express and received successfully with British passports.
Having read the previous reports detailed here, we will add and confirm what we found.
The consulate visa section is open 9:30 - 12:30 Tuesday (collection only before 10:30), 15:00 - 17:00 Friday. Window 3 is your man. Generally pretty helpful and polite.
We took (one each) - just take as the others above listed basically:
- Passport (British)
LOI, from the Visa Machine
Photocopy of passport page, colour
Completed embassy form (fill in every single box)
A colour passport photo glued to above form
Print out of insurance (not sure if actually requires but taken anyway)
139,000 tenge for both visas, express service (Tuesday handover, Friday collection)
Following the above recommendations, there is a print shop down the road in a small shopping mall. We got ours printed on thick semi-gloss paper to make it seem more legit, obviously this paper could never be properly stamped so definitely didn't look like an original but not a lot of choice. It was accepted fine without question. Also got our embassy form, photocopy of passport, colour, and insurance details on standard paper. All pretty cheap, just popped on a USB stick.
By this point we were running late and actually missed the 12:30 closing time by about 5 minutes as we'd struggled to get cash out nearby with a MasterCard. (Some machines have limits, some take only Visa, we found KozKom to be consistently good for MasterCard). Thankfully one of the Kazak security guards was very friendly with us, spoke a bit of English and pretty fluent German. While he couldn't pull weight with the Consulate lunch break, we were able to get the Russian security guard to meet us who was an absolute star and said to come back at 3 when it re-opened.
Arriving later in the afternoon, the Kazak guard led us in and the Russian security guard got the visa processing man (a rather large bespectacled man) to have a look at our applications. He said we'd have to come back Friday, at this point he'd already checked through them so it seemed an easy push to get them submitted today. Some gentle pleading and begging, he accepted them and asked when we wanted them. Friday we said, that's express and costs double he responded, all good with us as that was inline with what we'd heard here. Submitted, thanked the man, paid about 139,000 tenge for the two at the cashier and set about our wait until Friday. Grabbed a beer next door to celebrate.
Returned for collection on Friday afternoon about 4, pretty quiet in the building and he passed them over.
Suspense... we had new Russian visas, exactly as we'd ordered them!
It is worth noting however, we are doing the Mongol Rally and had already got exactly the same visas in London for a similarish price, but with earlier dates. After a two-week breakdown we wouldn't be able to get in and out of Russia before they expired, hence this faff. Whether already having a visa helped, we're not sure, as in London we needed to have our fingerprints scanned, didn't appear to be any visible facilities for this in Almaty. We also saw another French team on the rally turn up around 3 on the Tuesday when we came back, they were turned around, if it weren't for befriending the security guard earlier we would've been on the same journey to Astana as them or a wait until Friday afternoon.
Two British passports with 30-day, double-entry visas, gained successfully express for about 70,000 tenge each in Almaty.
Worth noting we already had Russian visas which were about to expire, new visa started after the expiration date as you can't have two active visas, the other got cancelled on submission. Be nice, play a bit of dumb tourist and bring everything you think you might need - make it easy for them.