Russian visa: month long visa processing for UK citizens? no express service?

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rumolddo
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Russian visa: month long visa processing for UK citizens? no express service?

Postby rumolddo » Fri Mar 10, 2017 5:23 am

I just tried to apply for a Russian visa with a UK passport in the country I live in, in SE Asia. I was told that for UK passports there is a reciprocal procedure in place that means we have to wait a whole calendar month for visa processing (during which the embassy will take our passports). No expedited (3, 7 day) service offered. As i will be leaving this country before that period I cannot obtain the visa.

I have not read about this anywhere else and have read reports one this site of UK passport holders getting tourist visas elsewhere in Central Asia (and the world) in 3-7 days. Does anyone know if this is (new?) standard procedure or if all embassies are different?

As I already have my flight booked leaving Russia back to Asia (Yeah, not a great idea by me), it would be a shame to lose this money and trip.

Any advice gratefully received!
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steven
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Re: Russian visa: month long visa processing for UK citizens? no express service?

Postby steven » Fri Mar 10, 2017 6:39 am

I have never heard of this, it seems to be new. New things happen all the time so not saying it is impossible. But try getting in touch with other embassies in the region you might be able to send your passport to. Perhaps the KL embassy does not have the same rule (I assume you applied in Bangkok)?
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rumolddo
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Re: Russian visa: month long visa processing for UK citizens? no express service?

Postby rumolddo » Fri Mar 10, 2017 7:31 am

Hey Steven, thanks for the reply. I Actually applied in Yangon where I live. I wont be in KL or BKK long enough so will have to take my chances in Tashkent, although this is now worrying me;

Quoted from the Almaty thread:

"sakara
Re: Embassy report: Russian visa in Almaty
PostFri Feb 17, 2017 4:46 pm

Update about visas in Almaty. We are to swiss people and tried to get a russian business visa today. Unfortunately not possible anymore without a residence/work permit. The only type of visa that swiss nationals without those can get are transit and humanitarian. The guy at window 3 was very sorry for it, but explained us that they got new orders few weeks ago and cant issue the visas anymore. He confirmed that it was possible some weeks ago. The rest of our documents would have been ok.
The thing is, it doesnt apply to all Schengen states - as some Schengen states do issue visas to russians outside their country of residence. They have a list at the embassy - best thing is to call. Apparently french people e.g. could get visas, but it would take at least 2 weeks (because thats what french do to russians). He was pretty sure that the situation in Astana is the same.
There was a Kazakh travel agent with some foreigners there. She also confirmed what the embassy guy said, saying that since february she also cant get visas for some nationalities including Switzerland. She thought that as a reaction to the visa free entry to Kazakhstan the russians have renewed their guidelines about issueing visas in Kazakhstan."

Couple with this found on the Tashkent embassy website:

"To apply for a visa, a foreign citizen must apply to a Russian consular post at the place of his permanent residence or in his country of citizenship. On the basis of the principle of reciprocity, a list of countries whose citizens are exempt from this restriction is drawn up. You can see this list here: List of countries

https://translate.googleusercontent.com ... G3hGx7VuEA"

Oh dear, doesn't look good?
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Re: Russian visa: month long visa processing for UK citizens? no express service?

Postby steven » Sat Mar 11, 2017 12:42 pm

Does not look good. I was thinking you could send your passport to KL, London, Bangkok, but definitely call up first to see if that makes sense.

If not, not sure what else you can do.
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Re: Russian visa: month long visa processing for UK citizens? no express service?

Postby rumolddo » Sat Mar 11, 2017 4:49 pm

I don't believe I can send my passport anywhere for it to be done as UK nationals are required to submit fingerprint scans whilst applying at the embassy.

I guess there's two issues here, 1 - you cant apply outside of your country of residence, which I believe has been a problem for a while and some embassies have overlooked it (in the past), and 2 - no express service for uk passports (which could be a new thing?) - to be honest i think this could be an anomaly to this embassy as the UK one doesnt seem to say the same, and i'm not really sure how clued in they were as lets be honest, its probably one of the least busy russian embassies on the globe, they looked so bored that when we came in the two smartly dressed guys even came out of the office to greet us and shake hands. Also, they were not aware of any transit visa that covered land travel ("Transit visa wouldnt help you, only granted to 48 hours for changing airports"). They could have been wrong but i felt i pushed them to the limit and wasn't getting any further!

I'll chance it in KL (although they would have to offer 1 day service so its super unlikely), then again in Tashkent, Almaty etc.
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Re: Russian visa: month long visa processing for UK citizens? no express service?

Postby rumolddo » Sat Mar 11, 2017 4:53 pm

Also for the record - no starting the process here and collecting elsewhere (that doesn't surprise me and i think is unheard of), and you have to leave your passport, leaving a copy will not suffice. Kind of ludicrous seeing as they know as a resident in this (supposed former) military state we have to show our passports frequently, and a month is a long time to be without it.
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Re: Russian visa: month long visa processing for UK citizens? no express service?

Postby Wahlsted » Sun Mar 12, 2017 12:00 am

There is indeed Russian transit visas for overland travel, up to 10 days if I remember right. If traveling by train you get the actual time needed according to the train tickets (you need to show a copy of them). I put in an extra recovery/catch-up-in-case-of day in Moscow and got away with that without any questions. If you travel by car you get days according to driving distance (something like 500 km/day). You can also get double entry within a month (intended for a return trip to a country you need to cross Russia to reach). If you need more than a month between first and second transit you should apply for single entry, and then for another single entry transit visa in the country of destination, since you can not have two valid Russian visas in your passport. I gues this means you must be able to apply for a transit visa in another country than "your own".

This is valid for Swedish citizens and in Stockholm, but I suppose the transit visa principles holds for other countries as well. Here you are in practice forced to apply through "Russian visa centre". Some information from them is found here:
http://www.ifs-sweden.com/main.php?id=transit&lang=en

In Stockholm the processing time (one week standard, express possible) and price is the same as for tourist visa, but you don't need LOI/visa help and you can get double entry (which was my reason to apply for transit instead of tourist visa) easily.

I would go for a transit visa, but speak to the embassy where you should apply first.
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