Everbrite's Russia, Belarus and Ukraine Pages
Russia General Info
Russian Consulate Information:
A to F
G to J
K to South Africa
Spain to Z
Obtaining a Russian Visa
Money and Other Tips
Tidbits for Tourists:
A to I
K to Z
Rulers of Russia:
From the Beginning to the Time of Troubles
From the Romanovs to Revolution
From Soviet Times to the present
Russia Regional Information:
Moscow Metro Tour
Moscow Metro History and Tour
Central Moscow Tour- in four parts with map:
Part 1 Stops 1 through 13. Marriott Royal/Hotel Budapest to Manezh Ploshchad
Part 2 Stops 14 though 22. Around Manezh Ploshchad
Part 3 Stops 23 though 44. Along Tverskaya Street to the area around Pushkin Square
Part 4 Stops 45 though 48. From Pushkinskaya Ploshchad to Upper St. Peter's Monastery and back
Travel to and within Russia
Cars, planes, ferries traveling over land, in the air and on the seas
Trans-Siberian Trains general information to get you started on your journey
Trans-Siberian Stops information about common stops along the way
Notes about Chinese Consulates some informataion about Chinese consulates
Russian Language and Culture
Books, Tapes and other Resources
The following notes are a collection of comments from fellow travelers posted on the Lonely Planet ThornTree and/or sent to me (Everbrite/Ruth) privately. If you find errors or have information about consulates not mentioned here, I would appreciate hearing about it. Please post this information on the Eastern European branch of the Thorn Tree or send me (everbrite) a PM (private message). Thanks for your assistance.
Russian Consulate Information:
T to Z
A to G
H to K
L to S
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Address: Consulate General of the Russian Federation in Hong Kong
Sun Hung Kai Centre
30 Harbour Road, Wan chai, Hong Kong Island. It s conveniently located near the pier where you arrive when you take the boat from the end of Nathan Road, very near Chungking and Mirador mansions.
Tel: +852 2877 71 88(general enquiry)
Fax: +852 2877 71 66
Web page: www.russia.com.hk
Open Mon - Fri from 9 to 12 and 14 to 17:30
For visa applications from Mon to Fri from 9 to 12
Report 1 from June 2011
Just to report I didn't get visa to Russia from Hong Kong. I have Finnish passport and on arrival 90 days tourist visa to Hong Kong. I tried to get the visa from C.I.S Tour, Global Union Transportation LTD and Russian Consulate. They all said I need Hong Kong ID card. Though I met some other Europeans in elevator to consulate who got the visas without any problem. Maybe they just don't like Finns here :/
Report 2 from June 2011
We managed this week (June 7th 2011) to get our visa for Russia in Hong Kong on our passport from the Netherlands without any problem!
What we needed to bring was: passport (at least 6 more months valid), invitation letter from hotel/tour-operator (with reference number!), filled application form and 1 photo. We also brought an English letter from our health insurance, stating that we are medically insured in Russia, however I don't think you actually needed this. As we wanted to be a bit flexible in our itinerary in Russia, we did not book a tour but got our invitation letter online from http://www.waytorussia.net. This invitation letter is accepted by the embassy.
I read some recent messages in this message tree that people could choose if they wanted their visa the same day (urgent procedure) or follow the normal procedure. However, they told us that the processing time for foreigners who do NOT have a Hong Kong residency permit (like us) is ALWAYS 7 days. No other possibilities. If you do have a residency permit (in general people who can stay more than 90 days), than there is also a faster track. However this is more expensive.
According to the information available at the embassy in Hong Kong almost all nationalities can apply for their Russian visa there. The only thing is that the costs vary per nationality. For us as Dutch citizens it was HK$370 (about 33 euro) for the 7-day process, but if you have a British passport it is HK$600.
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Report from May 2011
For reference, I phoned the visa agencies listed by the Russian Consulate in Hong Kong and received conflicting information:
"Global Union Transportation" (http://www.global.com.hk/ +852 28683231) told me due to recent rule changes for UK passport holders (amongst some other nationalities) I could no longer apply for a Russian visa in Hong Kong without having Hong Kong ID or some proof of staying in Hong Kong for longer than 90 days. I told the person on the phone that UK citizens receive 180 days visa free stay on arrival in Hong Kong and although that was news to her, she said it didn't make any difference. She seemed a bit confused so I hope she's wrong!
"C.I.S. Tour" (http://www.cistour.com/ +852 27355228) were much more hopeful. I stated what the previous agency has said, but I was told that was wrong and UK passport holders without HKID were still routinely being issued visas. Through CIS Tour, a visa costs 800HKD (currently 103USD) for normal (1 week) turnaround or 1400HKD (currently 180USD) for urgent (1-2 days) service. A hotel booking would suffice instead of a tourist invitation/voucher, although they can arrange one for 560HKD (additional 1 day) if you need one. If an urgent application is given to them by 11:30 on Monday a visa can be collected after 17:30 on Tuesday. They're based in Wanchai close to the Russian Consulate.
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Report from April 2010
we're two Dutchies (so, from the Netherlands), we applied for a Russian tourist at the Russian consulate in Hong Kong, in april 2010. We brought a printout of the voucher, which we got through 'Way to Russia'. It went very smooth: the embassy people were friendly(!), they asked us whether we wanted a 24 hours or 1 week processing, We chose the 24 hours processing, and picked up the visas the next working day. Piece of cake!
Report from September 2009
I was in a similar situation, I'm an Irish passport holder on a round the world trip.
We met a lovely lady in the HK embassy. You need an invitation letter ( got mine from realrussia.co.uk ). A colour print was sufficient for the tourist 30 day single entry visa. You also need a passport copy, a photo, filled in application form in which you need a number from real Russia and an insurance policy number.
The cost was approx 75euro, 25 for application fee for 7 day processing and another 50 for next day collection.
The embassy has a super view of HK harbour. We did this on 2nd of September
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Report from May 2009
I just wanted to let people know that I got my russian visa this week in Hong Kong, no problems.
I was really nervous going as it is the last place I thought I could get the visa bar sending it back home but it was so easy. They were so nice in the embassy.
So I hold an Irish passport. The fee is 250HKD for 1 week processing (it seems if you leave it on a monday they are also happy to have it ready by the friday ) and the express processing, for next day, not same day, is 500HKD. I obtained my letter of invitation from waytorussia for $30USD.
The embassy is located near Wan Chai stop on the MRT in the Sun Hung Kai Centre. Just follow the exit for the Immigration tower out of the station and walk across the footbridge. Before entering the Immigration tower go down the steps on the right and walk in that direction for maybe 5 mins and the building is on the left hand side. It's on the 21st floor :-)
So with 1) Passport 2) Copy of Passport 3) Letter of Invitation 4) Completed application form and 5) Money just hand it in at the counter. They have glue etc to attach the photo to the form. On the application form there was the question for the insurance but I just ticked the box saying Yes and didn't write anything else and they didnt ask.
I was there on monday morning and it was so quiet. There was no queue. I handed it all in then paid the lady and was told to collect it anytime after 9am the next day :-) Also someone else may pick it up it you want.
Next day I arrived just after 9am and it was ready, again no queue.
Really a breeze :-)
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Reports from March 2009
I don't know if I'm to late to be useful but I (canadian) got a Russian visa at the HK embassy. Basically they send you to a travel agency which is next door. It was painful to explain that we didn't have a reservation for a hotel as we were entering via Mongolia western border and travelling by bike We had no letter of invitation although they are available from the Way to Russia website and we didn't need to buy the insurance that we'd been told was essential.
We had hours of telling them that as we weren't going to a hotel we couldn't get a hotel voucher - they even suggested we cycled to Moscow so that we could have a voucher. Cyclists just don't fit the rules!
The travel Agency in Hong Kong is:
Room 2124, 21/F., Sun Hung Kai Centre, 30 Harbour Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 3521 0688
Fax: (852) 3521 0650
Hong Kong is a real good place to get visas.
Hong Kong turned out to be quite easy to get a Russian visa in. My boyfriend decided on the express service. He went in on a Wednesday morning (they're only open Monday, Wednesday, Friday for applications) and dropped off his application, support, passport, photo, etc. Came back the next morning just after 9:00 and picked it up, no problems. HK$500 extra for express service on top of whatever they charge for your nationality. Hope this helps, good luck!
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Report from March 2008
The Russian Consulate in Hong Kong is still issuing visas to overseas nationals (since you will almost certainly have a 90 day permit to stay in HK stamped in your passport, 180 days for Brits, and the new russian rules state that you can still get a visa in an overseas country if you have a permit to be there for at least 90 days).
Got mine there a few days ago and they still accept B & W printouts of invitations that have been emailed from the usual agencies. No questions asked, they seem to be a happy bunch of Russians working there.
Report from May 2007
I have just picked up my Russian visa in Hong Kong and it wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be. For those considering doing the same, this is how I did it.
First, I bought a 30 day single entry tourist visa support document online through waytorussia for US$30. It arrived as a pfd email attachment the next day and then I made a couple of good quality colour printouts and a printout of the visa application form downloaded from here.
Then went to the Russian consulate in Hong Kong armed with:
Visa support document
Completed visa application form
A photocopy of the information page of my passport
1 passport photo
HK$400 (US$51.20) for 1 week pick up
Visa section of the Russian consulate in Hong Kong is only open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9am to 12 noon.
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Report from 2007
We made our Russian application on Wednesday morning. It took five minutes to make the application requiring just a completed application form, one photo, one photocopy of the info page of the passport and the visa support, and of course the visa fee which was 400HKD for UK passports, 250HKD for Czechs (the full list is available on the embassy website. NO mention of onward tickets or insurance documents. The staff even made a few jokes, not what I was expecting! The only question was why we wanted express service (an extra 500HKD) when we are not arriving in russia until july, in fact the guy almost refused it until we told him we had to be in china by monday, which was not exactly a lie because today is monday and i am in yangshuo. If you do not want express then it is one week waiting. We picked our passports up on thursday morning. We both went because, even though only one person is needed to collect, the lady told us "but if you both want to come, that is fine, we are very glad to see you!"
Report from May 2006 from someone with a British passport who "applied for a Russian tourist visa at the HongKong consulate with no problems - extremely straightforward (fax tourist invitation ok) and to be recommended. however i was required to produce a copy of my travel insurance, something which may catch others unaware."
Note that UK passport holders are NOT usually required to show proof of travelers' health insurance as the UK and Russian governments have a reciprocity agreement. Obviously, the folks at the Hong Kong consulate seem unaware of this.
This report was received in September 2006:
"I hold a German passport. Today I went to the Russian embassy in Hong Kong to get a Tourist Visa (30 days). It took me 10min and I paid 950HK$. Copies of your Health Insurance and Invitation Voucher are sufficient. (upon request you even get a stamp of approval on your copies what might be good to have on the border). No plane or train onward tickets required. No questions. Very very friendly staff. I suggest you go Tuesdays or Thursdays in the morning for urgent visa processing."
Note that this is good news for German and other passport holders who sometimes are told outside of Germany that they cannot obtain a Russian visa unless they have a local residency permit.
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Report from May 2005
The staff there are great, good english, and the office is easy enough to find - the agencies they recommend on their website seem to charge about 200 HKD handling fee, and given the ease of applying in person I don't think most people would need to bother using an agency service.
Normal service takes a full week, which is perhaps the only major hassle involved. And for normal service you can only apply from 9-12 on Monday, Wednesday or Friday. For UK (and US) passport holders the current fee is 400 HKD for normal processing.
If you don't want/can't wait around in HK for a full week, then you can pay an extra 500 HKD for 'urgent processing'. In theory this means one day processing, but I got mine in 45 minutes. For urgent processing you can apply any day of the week, 9-12 and 2-6. I reckon it might be worth applying during the afternoon, or on a Tuesday or Thursday for urgent processing if you want to benefit from 'visa-whilst-you-wait', as I imagine it might be a bit busier at the other times. When I turned up at 11 am on Tuesday there were 3 other people waiting for visas, so the service might have been even quicker had the others not been waiting ahead of me.
The consulate "prefers" originals. I had originals, so I didn't push the question of whether they would accept a decent copy. But they gave me back my originals and just took a photocopy for their records after i got my visa, and i reckon a decent color copy would have been fine (eg print out from a PDF file).
(Report from May 2005) Managed to secure the visa in hong kong.
it was 400 for visa and 500 for one day express. I got it in 15 minutes. They didn't need to see originals for tourist visa.
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Report from August 2004
"As far as I have found the best and cheapest place to sort out your trans-sib ticket and visas in Hong Kong is a travel agent in Central called Aeroglobal - cheaper than monkeyshine ... - well these two are the only two agents that do trans-sib tickets in HK - the others listed in various LPs and the other nonLP Trans-sib h/bk (forgotten its name!) don't do such tickets."
Trans mongolian ticket from beijing to moscow is HK$2000
They can sort out russian visa for you including hotel invitation etc for HK$600 - obviously you have to book a hotel from them - i chose one that was US$60/night.
They can also sort out Mongolian visa for HK$630.
Another traveler reported that he used the faxed invitation received from visatorussia.com and that the consulate did not ask to see train or plane tickets and that all he needed was the application, the vouchers, a photo and a photocopy of his passport's front page. Also he was a French passport holder and was not made to buy health insurance that would have been required had he applied for the visa in France. He reported but that "the visa costs 600 hkd (7,4 hkd for 1 usd) plus 500 for the express fee (otherwise it takes 1 week to issue)."
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Russian consulate in Budapest: 35, Bajza utca, H-1062, Budapest V1
Tel: +36 (1) 132 09 11, 112 10 13, 302 52 30 (embassy) +36 (1) 331 89 85 (consulate)
Fax: +36 (1) 252 50 77 (consulate)
Email: email@example.com (embassy), firstname.lastname@example.org (consulate)
There is an agency in Budapest that indicates that they can arrange a 30 day Russian tourist visa for 25.000 HUF (just under 100 Euro) without vouchers/reservations/whatever, all fees included (so they say). Processing takes 4 - 10 days. While this might seem like a long wait, most people can easily spend this amount of time in Hungary.
Note that this is not visa support but the actual visa. Whether or not the price is the same for everyone or only for Hungarians is unclear at present. Unfortunately, their website is only in Russian and Hungarian but should you be interested, you can find the Russian Tourist Firm, 1000 Dorogit.
Report from a Hungarian resident received in September 2006: The 1000 Dorogit travel agency noted above in Budapest says they can no longer arrange Russian visas for foreigners, as the embassy here now only issues these to Hungarians, saying foreigners should get it in their home country. This was in mid-Aug, anyway. The same agency still issues vouchers necessary to get a Ukrainian visa here for Aussies, etc.
Russian visa in Budapest March 2007
A new organization, apparently representing the largest Russian travel agencies and affiliated with the Russian Cultural Centre here, has recently been heavily promoting its services, including getting various visas, here in Hungary. Their main page in Hungarian has the complete info, with only accommodation/tour booking offered on the English pages. If interested in getting the latest on the visas for foreigners issue, you might drop them an email to the contact here to see how they relate to English-speakers.
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A traveler reported in June 2004 that "we went to Reykjavik and applied for our Russian visa. No queue, the lady came out of her glass box and had a conversation with us to make sure we had all the right stuff, was really helpful, and told us it would be ready in 5 working days. Cost 20 euro! It could not have been simpler.
Iceland Express offers cheap flights to Reykjavik from London Stansted and Copenhagen. So it can actually work out to be a viable and affordable alternative to applying in London."
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NOTE from REI: I have had numerous reports of people having trouble getting a Russian visa in Delhi. It does not seem to matter if you hold an Indian passport or otherwise. Visatorussia.com and other companies indicate that original documents are required. The consulate website indicates that round trip tickets are required, although I suspect that this is primarily only for non EU/US/Japan or other passport holders who do not require visas to the Baltic countries or EU.
Address: Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110021
Tel.: (91-11) 26110560; 2467 - 8564
Fax: (91-11) 26110560; 2687 - 6823
Working hours: Monday - Friday 9.00 A.M. TO 2.00 P.M.
There is an Aeroflot office in Delhi. It might be worth checking there to see if they can get invitations and accommodation vouchers for less. After all, they do not have to pay for the courier to get you originals. ;-)
Address: Tolstoy House, 15 - 17, Tolstoy Marg, New Delhi 110 001
Tel.: 2331 - 64 - 14
Fax: 2372 - 32 - 45
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Report from June 2011 - Indian passport holder applying in Mumbai
So this is how I got my Russian Federation tourist visa in Mumbai, India.
Submitted in person -
1. Passport (with validity of atleast 6 months from exit date).
2. Tourist voucher in Original (Visa invitation cum hotels confirmation).
3. Filled application form (available at website) with photo.
4. Return international air flights tickets.
5. Visa fee in cash (Indian Rs).
Other documents like Insurance, employment certificate, bank statements, medical certificate, personal cover letter are not applicable. Processing time is 3 working days and same day delivery also possible for extra payment.
Russian Embassy in New Delhi gives 15 days tourist visa to Indian ordinary passport holders but Mumbai consulate's website says 30 days. Their missions in UAE too allow 30 days. But this point couldn't matter in my case since I had decided to stay for 10 days only :(
I do have Mumbai address in passport plus UAE residence visa. So applying either in Mumbai or UAE was an option for me. I chose Mumbai finally.
By the way depending on your entry - exit route plan documents requirements do change for sure. And please do not even think to submit counterfeit documents. I saw a warning notice outside consulate's office.
In your visa entry and exit dates are mentioned. It means you must start and complete your journey within those days.
Russian Federation tourist visa is a full Passport page sticker. It is colourful, shining and very beautiful. It is printed in Russian and English.
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Report from September 2009
NOTE: Individual was in India more than 90 days and held a Danish Passport.
I managed to get my visa, it was very expensive though around 130 dollars (2 days service but it took 3) but with the Russian exchange rate around 160 dollars. The price differs from country to country.
I got my visa in Delhi and I went through Salvia Travels, they were very helpful, but I suggest that you go directly to them and ask questions cause when you call them you will have completely different information.
I took with me a print our invitation/hotel voucher from www.realrussia.co.uk obtained in 15 minutes.
First they told me that only 15 days visa was possible, and I told them to apply for 30 anyway and i managed to get 30 days.
Also they told me that my Indian visa has to be valid when I enter Russia (I was missing 4 days) but they arranged with the embassy that I could get a visa without having valid India visa on the day of entry. It took a day of talking to the embassy before could apply so really it took 4 days for visa (2 days service).
When I came on the 3rd day to get my visa my passport was not there. As my bus was leaving early the next day I managed to get the director of Salvia travels to go with me the following morning to the embassy and ask the embassy to open 5 hours early (and they did!!! I had very good luck I think).
I advise anyone to go directly to Salvia travels and talk to them, and allow at least 5 days even for the fastest visa service.
One thing that helped me (according to realrussia) is that I stayed in India for more than 90 days, otherwise it would be more difficult.
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Report from May 2009 from Kolkata regarding 90 day business visa
Today I got my Russian visa, business 90 days, from the Russian consulate in Calcutta, India. It was actually easy and the people there very very friendly and helpful. There were some problems, but they did their best to help me.
I will explain how I got my visa. Got a business invitation through way to Russia, 75$. The consulate wants the original invitation, so it will cost another 75$ to send it, UPS. I am in India on a tourist visa, but they don't want proof of residency. They also want a ticket out of Russia, ticket for going to Russia not needed. And they also want proof of medical insurance. That is what the problem was for me, have medical insurance, but my insurance company doesn't seem to have a Russian insurance partner, and this is what the consulate wanted. They need to fill this in in their system and the system has to recognize it, or that is what they told me, and if it doesn't recognize it it can not issue the visa, the system. My insurance company only has a service partner in Russia and this is not enough.
But luckily they were helpful at the consulate and the guy there called some office in Moscow, and like after 30 min. waiting there came a confirmation from Moscow that they could issue me the visa. Same day service is possible, 100 Euro, service between 1 and 3 days 70 Euro and service between 4 and 10 days 35 Euro. So all in all it has been a pleasant experience, I have been to many consulates in my life and this was one of the friendliest. So now I am of to Russia.
Oh yeah, I am from Holland, so what I have told you applies to all people from Schengen countries. So I hope I have been of some help to you people out there. In traveling, same as in life, try to think outside of the box. Anything will be possible then, limitless possibilities. Don't follow, think for yourself. And if things don't work out, well that is nature of things, sometimes it doesn't work out. You just do you best.
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Report from November 2007:
"All Russian visas are now processed through Salvia travels, 9F Prakash Building, Connaught Place. Most Tuk Tuk drivers know this address as lots of airline offices operate from there. I took along my hotel voucher obtained from realrussia.co.uk in 15 minutes over the net. As it was a public holiday in Russia on that day I had to return the following day to submit my application before 11am. I had my passport back in my hand at 4pm that day. Salvia travels charge 500rps for this service, along with the usual fee and an urgent fee for same day processing. The normal process is next day service.
There was a special desk used for visa processing and the staff spoke Russian, English and Hindi. They were very friendly and helpful and I have to say this was probably the most stress free day spent in India!!!"
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Report from Summer 2007
A person bearing an Indian passport contacted waytorussia.net, visatorussia.com and most of the hostels in Moscow and Petersburg plus various other agencies. With one exception, he was refused a visa invitation. Below is the information that he received from the Sherstone Hostel in Moscow. In the end he decided against it as they put more and more restrictions on the invitation.
The matter is that the organizations are responsible for the guests who they send invitations to. There were many cases when people from India visited Russia and violated the migration law. They travelled in Russia with expired visa etc. So the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia deprecates but not forbids to issue Visa Support to the set of countries, India is included to.
Our hostel tries to trust people but even we have to insure ourselves according to the recommendations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. If you come to Russia as a tourist, live in our hostel, really not virtually, if you don't ramble around Russia the way we don't know and you don't do there something that violates the purpose of you arrival - Tourism, that's ok, and we'll issue the visa support to you, and welcome to Russia. But if you demand a Visa Support for a month and want to stay with us just 1 night (or even you simply won't come) and the rest of the time make the business we are responsible for but not are informed about (it could be simply something illegal) we cannot issue the Visa Support for you as well as the other agencies.
That's why I have written to you the requirements to obtain Visa. You pay for the accommodation in our Hostel for the Visa Support and we issue the VS just for the dates you pay for. It is a kind of insurance for us that we will see you for the whole period of your staying in Russia, make the copy of your passport and make the registration of your Visa according to the law. As you may demand a Visa Support, order accommodation and than cancel accommodation demanding a refund when you already have the documents you need, we tell you beforehand that the money for the accommodation is NOT refundable.
I really hope you are one of the good tourists, and you will not put us in a spot, because otherwise we will simply loose our license.
Now about Visa Support. It is absolutely legal, it doesn't differ from any other Visa Support issued to any other citizen of any other county. There is a set of countries in Europe, Asia, America who are not satisfied with the fax copies and need the original papers and we don't have the list of them. Please, call to the Russian consulate in India and ask them if they need original Visa Support documents or are satisfied with the fax copies or e-mail scans. Because if it reveals that you need the originals we will have to send them via Express Confirmed Mail (as usual mail is not trustful and slow) and it will cost 85 euro in addition for mailing fee. If fax is suitable so the Visa Support document will be sent to you within 3 WORKING days.
Should you have any questions, please, feel free to contact us.
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There are also consulates in Bombay (Mumbai), Kolkata (Calcutta) and Madras (Chennai):
Consulate General Bombay (Mumbai)
Address: 42, Nepean Sea Road "Palm Beach", Mumbai - 400 006
Tel.: (022) 2-363 - 36 - 27, 2 -363 - 36 - 28, 2-368 - 14 - 31
Fax: (022) 2-363 - 04 - 03
Telex: 1174562 SOVK
Consulate General Kolkata (Calcutta)
Address: 22A, Raja Santosh Road, Calcutta - 700 027
Tel.: (033) 2479 - 70 - 06
Fax: 2479 - 88 - 89, 2449 - 87 - 01
Telex: 218024 RFGCIN
Consulate General Chennai (Madras)
Address: 14, Santhone High Road, Chennai - 600 004
Tel.: (8-10 - 91 44) 2-498 - 23 - 30/20
Fax: (8-10-91 44) 2-498 - 23 - 36
Telex: 417515 RUSC
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Reports from 2011 indicate that it may be easier for Indian passport holders to get Russian visas especially if they live and work outside India but not details were provided to me or reported on the Thorntree.
Report from May 2009 regarding obtaining a 90 day business visa in Kolkata:
Today I got my Russian visa, business 90 days, from the Russian consulate in Calcutta, India. It was actually easy and the people there very very friendly and helpful. There were some problems, but they did their best to help me. I will explain how I got my visa. Got a business invitation through way to Russia, 75$. The consulate wants the original invitation, so it will cost another 75$ to send it, UPS. I am in India on a tourist visa, but they don't want proof of residency.
They also want a ticket out of Russia, ticket for going to Russia not needed. And they also want proof of medical insurance. That is what the problem was for me, have medical insurance, but my insurance company doesn't seem to have a Russian insurance partner, and this is what the consulate wanted. They need to fill this in in their system and the system has to recognize it, or that is what they told me, and if it doesn't recognize it it can not issue the visa, the system. My insurance company only has a service partner in Russia and this is not enough. But luckily they were helpful at the consulate and the guy there called some office in Moscow, and like after 30 min. waiting there came a confirmation from Moscow that they could issue me the visa.
Same day service is possible, 100 Euro, service between 1 and 3 days 70 Euro and service between 4 and 10 days 35 Euro. So all in all it has been a pleasant experience, I have been to many consulates in my life and this was one of the friendliest. So now I am off to Russia. Oh yeah, I am from Holland, so what I have told you applies to all people from Schengen countries. So I hope I have been of some help to you people out there. In traveling, same as in life, try to think outside of the box. Anything will be possible then, limitless possibilities. Don't follow, think for yourself. And if things don't work out, well that is nature of things, sometimes it doesn't work out. You just do you best.
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Here is another Russian Embassy and Consulate for your website (a big embassy too):
Address: Embassy of the Russian Federation, J1. H.R. Rasuna Said Kav. X-7, 1-2, Kuningan, Jakarta, Indonesia
Phone: +62 21 522-2912, 522-2914, 720-2722
Telex: (73) 46056
Fax: +62 21 522-2916
Phone: +62 21 522-5195, 522-2914, 526-1719, 522-2912, 522-2914
Fax: +62 21 522-2916
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April 2010 report from a UK passport holder
Russian Visa in Tehran, Iran
The Russian Embassy in Tehran appears to be a very good place to get a visa. The Consular Secretary speaks perfect English and is very well disposed to western travellers.
Unusually, the embassy will issue visas to non-residents. It also handles visa applications independently, rather than out-sourcing the process to some damn visa agency (as, for instance in London).
I got a one-year multi-entry business visa. I only needed the original invitation and a letter from my inviting organisation explaining the purpose of my visit to Russia. The consul was aware I was not really visiting Russia for business purposes and was fine with that. No bank statement, no HIV test required.
Costs are as follows (payable in Iranian Rials)
Sinlge entry $102 (tourist / transit)
Double entry $138 (tourist / transit / business)
Multiple entry $276 (business)
Visas are issued in one-week. For next working-day processing, prices are 150% of the above.
The Embassy is off Firdausi St on Nofelo Shato (sic) St, behind the British Embassy. The Visa section is over the road (i.e. on the South side) from the main embassy.
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Report from 2010
First be aware that the official website of the embassy is http://www.ireland.mid.ru/ and that the application form you'll get on http://dublin.rusembassy.org/ will be rejected. The two different applications are posted on the wall in the waiting room at the visa section of the embassy with big signs 'correct' and 'wrong' on them. The right application form should have a bar code on it and the space for the ID photo is in the lower part. Applications have to be filled up online on a special website accessible from the official russian embassy website. You'll have to go through all the questions (i.e. name, passport number, etc...) one by one and confirm to get to the next question. This special website seems to be common to all russian embassy in the world and you have to register to use it.
Then to get to the embassy is pretty easy. The report from 2006 on Everbrite website is very good on that point, but the visa section is now open from 9 AM to 11.45 AM. The address hasn't changed but the phone number has
Address: 184-186 Orwell Road, Rathgar, Dublin 14
Tel.: +3531 4922048
Fax: +3531 4926938
So for a 30 day single entry tourist visa I produced:
one copy of the application completed online
one passport photo
one copy of the invitation letter/voucher (I got a pdf document from waytorussia.com in two days for 30 US$)
one copy of the official document from my travel insurance (it might not be compulsory though, but just in case)
plus as I'm holding a french passport, a letter of my employer as a proof of legal residence in Ireland.
The embassy doesn't accept cash, only postal orders or bank drafts.
The cost for a 30 day single entry tourist visa is 70 euro.
There doesn't seem to be a same day visa anymore. 3 day minimum said the guy at the counter the first time I went with the wrong application and cash. Two days later (yesterday), the same guy was there. Surprisingly I got my visa the same day, probably because the guy noticed from my employer letter that I was coming from the other side of the country.
Address: 184-186 Orwell Road, Rathgar, Dublin 14
Tel.: (8-10-353-1) 492-34-92
Fax: (8-10-353-1) 492-69-38
Webpage: http://dublin.rusembassy.org/ - but it is a bit out of date
Despite what the webpage says, you need only the following:
-one copy of application form (downloadable from webpage)
-one passport photo
-one copy of Invitation & Accommodation Voucher
This message was received in August 2005, "They have same day service 100 €, then (I think) it is 7 day service for 80 €, then the standard 14 day service for 60 €.
I have a Kiwi passport and a work authorization to be here, my partner has Kiwi passport and expired work authorization, and neither was a problem."
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Report from 24 April 2006:
Just picked up my russian visa last week at the consulate in Dublin. Thought I'd pass on what information I have as the website isn't the greatest.
The consulate's address is
184-186 Orwell Rd., Rathgar, Dublin.
Telephone +35 31 492 34 92,
Open to the public between 10:00 - 13:00, though if you want a same-day visa you need to be there by 12:00 at the latest.
To get to the consulate, from Connelly train station - you can take the luas to Abbey Street and then walk to St Stephen's Green (or just walk from Connelly Station to St Stephen's green). Take the luas from St Stephen's Green to Windy Arbour. (The luas stop is on the left hand side of the St Stephen's Green Mall). Once you get off the luas at Windy Arbour, go across the tracks and go left down the road. Take the first road on the right - this should be Orwell Rd. Go up this road - it seems to cut the golf course in two - and the consulate is on the left not far round a bend in the road. It took about 15 - 20 minute walk from the windy arbour luas stop to the consulate, it's not that far to walk.
Each luas station has a ticket machine that is easy to use. Cost is about €1.80 from St Stephen's Green to Windy Arbour.
For a tourist visa the consulate required, your passport, 1 copy of the application form, 1 passport photo with your name written on the back, 1 copy of the tourist voucher and 1 copy of the tourist confirmation (ie, visa support documents. I got mine from waytorussia who emailled me a pdf copy, an A4 page with the the voucher on one side and the confirmation on the other. So, I just printed this out). Supposedly you need medical insurance (ok depending on your passport) but they didn't look at the copy I had printed out.
Prices, cash or cheque:
same day is €100,
5 days €80
10 days €60
(I'm sure the same day visa is €100, just can't find my page were I had written down all the prices).
Medical insurance - I took a copy of the travel insurance I intend to purchase but have not as yet. They never looked at it anyway.
I did arrive at the consulate just before 1200, but there was a small queue so by the time I handed over my documents it was about 1210. They still issued me with a same day visa - just had to wait for 40 minutes during which time the queue disappeared.
They were very friendly. It was a very easy process.
Oh, I was applying on my Irish passport.
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The consulate here reportedly accepts only original documents and requires evidence of your travel insurance as well.
There are four consulates in Japan.
Russian consulate in Tokyo
Address: 1-1, Azabudai 2-chome, Tokyo 106-0041
Tel: +81 ((0)3) 3583-44 45, 3586-04 08, 3586-07 07
Fax: +81 ((0)3) 3586-04 07, 3505-05 93
Webpage: http://www.embassy-avenue.jp/russia/front.html NOTE that this site dates from 1998. Reportedly there is also a site at http://embassy.kcom.ne.jp/russia/index.htm but I have never been able to get my computer to load this page.
Consulate-General of the Russian Federation in Osaka
Address: 1-2-2, Nishi-Midorigaoka, Toyonaka City Osaka 560-0005
Tel: 06-6848-34 51 (-3452)
Consulate-General of the Russian Federation in Sapporo
Address: 826, Minami 14 Nishi 12, Chuo-ku, Sapporo City 064-0914
Tel: 011-561-31 71(-31 72)
Consulate-General of the Russian Federation in Niigata
Address: 1-20-5, Sasaguchi, Niigata City 950-0911
Tel: 025-244-60 15
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Report from September 2011 in Tokyo
A US passport holder in Japan on a 90 day visa free entry tried to apply for a 90 day Russian business visa and was told that he needed the original invitation and even then it might not be possible.
Report from June 2011 in Tokyo
I recently received my Russian visa while in Japan, and wanted to share my experience in case there's anyone else out there in a similar situation.
I'm a US citizen living with a work visa in Japan. I was not too keen on sending my passport home to get the visa, especially considering recent events in Japan, and decided to try and get the visa through the Russian embassy in Tokyo, even though on the phone they had told me that it would take at least one month to process, which would be cutting it quite close.
I got my visa invitation through Russian Visa Online within 24 hours of applying for one (so yes, I recommend it! my two travel buddies had similarly smooth experiences with them). Having also gone through the process of getting a visa for both China and Japan while here, I can say that the Russian Embassy is the easiest, calmest, and quickest! The Embassy was practically empty when I first when there, I waited only about 15 minutes before my number was called. The guy behind the counter was very nice and told me I could either get the visa in one day or one week. Since I wasn't in that much of a rush, I went with one week. It cost 15000 yen, and when I came back a week later I was able to skip the line and just go straight to the cashier to pick it up. It took no more than 5 minutes!
I'm not sure if you're able to get a Russian visa in Japan if you don't have a work visa, but it's worth trying if you're tight on time.
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Report from May 2011 from Sapporo Consulate:
I'm italian on a 90 day tourist stamp in Japan and i just applied at the russian consulate in Sapporo for a one month double entry tourist visa. I paid 2800 Yen, cheaper then in Italy, and the visa will be ready in two weeks. I didn't ask how much is the express service. The visa is for october, my invitation service warned me probably i can't apply more then 90 days in advance, but that was no problem.
Report from March 2009 from Tokyo:
I went to the Russian embassy in Tokyo to apply for a tourist visa as I am taking the TransMongolian on the 16th March from Beijing. Russian consulate in Tokyo told me that because I am in Japan on a 3 month temporary visitor visa (UK passport), I can not apply for a visa there. If I entered Japan with my Turkish passport there wouldn't have been such a restriction. But because there is no Japanese visa on my Turkish passport, I cannot apply for a Russian visa in Tokyo with my Turkish passport as well.
Report in April 2006 from Russian Consulate in Osaka
In the end we had the visas done in the Osaka consulate. The staff spoke excellent english and were helpful. Just be warned that the consulate is in the middle of nowhere, not near the centre at all, if you are going by public transport it will be quite a journey. Luckily we had someone who gave us a lift there both times.
The prices are correct, for 2 weeks it costs 1000Y. We paid 10,000Y to have the passport returned in 2 days. Same day service costs 30,000Y, and 1 week would be 5,000Y. You can't make postal applications but they did say that they would post it to us if we wanted.
Report in June 2004 was that the staff at the consulate in Niigata City speak some English, were helpful and accept applications sent by mail.
There were two reports from travelers getting a Russian visa in Japan in May 2003. One indicated that he got the necessary documents from Intelservice.ru (the same company as visatorussia.com and perhaps some others) and a print out was sufficient for a 30 day business visa.
The other traveler reported that the consulate in Tokyo refused a mailed application, but the consulate in Osaka was more helpful, very prompt and friendly on the phone. Visa section there is open mornings only: 9:30 am- 12:30 pm. Contact number within Japan is 06 6849 8357. They do accept mailed applications. Cost is 5000 yen or about 40 USD and the processing time is a week plus the mail time or about 10 days altogether (including day of postage).
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A traveler who obtained a Russian transit visa obtained in Almaty reported that it cost $70, took 48 hours, was valid for 4 days. He also said that, "The Russian embassy there was very helpful, the visa officer has excellent English and didn't require onward tickets or visa - I explained that I would buy my onward ticket in Moscow (cheaper) and didn't need a visa for Latvia."
Report from July 2007 from Astana Embassy
Supposedly transit and tourist visas can be obtain without much hassle.
For a business visa the original invitation is requested. By ministerial principle. They may however offer then that you don't need to pay the sameday - surcharge (and otherwise it is 2 weeks). The difference is almost a hundred dollars.
Golovanchikov at window 4 is a nice man, speaks perfect english and will service you even at odd hours.
The guards and their intercom system at the gate are shit, and they don't mind letting you stand in the blistering sun.
I got the the 3 months, double entry for 8800 tenge. Remember 2-3 passport photos.
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First of all, the Russian embassy in the Republic of Korea (Tel: 318 21 16) in Seoul is no longer in the Gangnam area (near COEX) as mentioned in the latest Seoul LP. It is now located in the Deoksugung palace area, near the Cheongdong Methodist church. To reach the entrance to the visa section, walk around the JP Morgan building, through a little park and you'll find it. It's open from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm and from 2:30 to 5:30 pm, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. The price of the visa is 20 000 Won, if you can wait for 2 weeks.
Embassy Address: 34-16, Chong-dong, Chung-gu, Seoul (zip code: 100-120)
Tel: (02) 318 21 34 (consulate)
Fax: (02) 752 14 07 (consulate)
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Report from May 2010 from French passport holder in Seoul:
To get the Russian visa was easier than expected. I got an invitation from "Express to Russia" an official online Russian agency who for $30 sent it to me by email in less than 12h. Then a color print of the invitation (has to look like the original), 45,000Won ($35) and 2 blank pages on my passport did the rest. Only back-draw is it takes 15 days for non-residents.
Report from May 2009 from US passport holder with residency permit:
I obtained my Russian invitation letter from: (NOTE from REI: Korean characters which I am unable to post) (which roughly transliterates to / kaja "CIS" Hanse yeoaengsa / meaning roughly Let's Go CIS Hanse Travel.) Take the subway to the City Hall station, use exit 10, walk straight ahead. At the first street past Hana Bank, at the corner of Paris Baguette Bakery (not Tour Les Jour), take a right. The first doorway on the right, third floor (above a restaurant) is where the travel agency is located (you'll see a lowish sign to the right of the door.) The cost was 40,000 KRW, and (perhaps because early May is still low season) I received my invitation on the spot.
To the Russian Consulate, continue walking down the same road. You will pass a large gray office building with some placards in English for AIG, ING, Fuji/Xerox, etc., and the red brick Appenzeller Nobel Memorial museum, both on your left. After the rear driveway of the museum, turn left. You will walk through the museum park with wood benches, trees, etc. At the rear of the park, you will see a guard booth at which point you turn right, and through the tall gray gates again turn right.
The posted hours were 0930 am - 1230 pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. There is a 2 page form for US citizens and a 1 page form for everyone else. 1 passport sized photo is needed. The US form is highly detailed including current and last 2 jobs (names of supervisors/address/phone number), all the countries visited in the last 10 years, etc.
I highly recommend that you get there 15-30 min. early and stand in line directly in front of the door due to the line jumping and general lack of orderliness -- and to avoid being behind several travel agency reps with 30ᇆ passports each. In the afternoon, although the service begins at 1430 pm, the doors open at 1400 pm, so I recommend being the first one through the doors and stand in line directly in front of the (middle) window.
I did same day service for 390,000 KRW -- a lot but to me worth it not to have to return on another day.
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Reports from 2008 Busan
1. Report from a Lithuanian passport holder traveling in Korea:
Went to the russian consulate in Busan (Korea) yesterday. After hearing all the stories from the others about how dificult is to obtain a visa for Russia, I wasnt very optimistic. You know what, I met probably some of the nicest bureaucrats there is. Can you imagine russian embassy officials actualy smiling and being helpful to you. They advice you to get the invitation in an office in a building near by. Invitation takes 20 minutes and 30000 won (~31$) then the visa from one day service, 2 days, 6 days and up to the cheapest two weeks.
Im getting mine in two weeks (Im not in a hurry!) and payed 25000won (~26$). There are different prices for different nationalities, I got Lithuanian passport.
I was surprised how easy was it and how nice the bureaucrats are here, so if any of you are struggling with the russian visas, just do it here in Busan!
2. I am a resident of Korea, although I'm a South African/Irish citizen, and they refuse to process a visa for me because my residency permit expires at the end of February. This is rather an irritation considering that I've lived here 2 years and have the papers to prove it. Could you post the details of the place in Busan that managed to sort you out, as I've had nothing but red tapes and big Nos despite the fact that I have residency in this country.
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Report from June 2005:
Basically it's not really very easy. The first part as in getting the invitation was quite straightforward and your directions were perfect. After receiving those, going to the Russian Embassy was not so great - the people there certainly don't get points for being friendly. The embassy is in a different place from where you mentioned. It's actually really close to the travel agency where you get the invitation. You just keep walking along the same road for about 50 meters and you come to a park on your left and you simply go into the park, then look a little lost and ask the guard for the Russian Embassy and he will point you in the right direction. In the embassy we were told conflicting reports of how much the visas were. We were in a different situation in that as we are going in twice we needed two entries so the cost went up dramatically. At one window where we put in our application the man told us two quite different prices for an Australian and for a New Zealander, then when we went to the next window to pay, the woman who didn't speak a word of either English or Korean (and didn't look like she had ever smiled in her life) told us the same price for the both of us. In total it ended up costing 60,000 won each for the invitations, and 115,000 won each for the visa - a total of 175,000 won each, which is basically $175 US (note that is for 2 entries). In retrospect it might have been easier just to go through my regular travel agent.
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Report from June 2004:
The agency recommended above still exists but has moved. New directions: City Hall, exit 10, take right in the first street after hana bank (there is a Tous Les Jours boulangerie in the corner). After the tous les jours, there are stairs and the Agency is on the 3rd floor (above the restaurant).
The name is in Korean, so the real name only helps if your pronunciation is good and you now how to read...But "CIS" in the name is not in Korean. I don't have a Korean keyboard, so forgive me for the following...name is: Russia and CIS Ji Yeok Yeo Heng Jeon Mun
Tel: 02 436 6690
Websites: www.gajarussia.com or www.gajacis.com
They provide invitations, cost is 40 000 won, and it takes 48 hours to get the invitation. This traveler reported that the consulate didn't ask for insurance papers (even though she is French and should need to have a traveler's health insurance policy.) They hardly had a look at the invitation letter, but she did present them a copy of her alien registration card. Also that she paid 40 000 w for both visas and two week processing time. She asked about getting the visa mailed to her, but the people at the consulate did not seem to understand.
Report from 2003:
The embassy recommends a nearby travel agency to get the tourist invitation. Its name is Gaja CIS Hanse Yeo Hang Sa. It is located in the room 111 in the basement of the Hana Bank building (tel: 02 778 6690). This building is at the number 28, Seosomunro Street. The closest subway station is City Hall (exit 10 for the travel agency and exit 1 for the embassy. Issuing a tourist invitation takes two days and costs 40 000 won. They need a copy of your passport and a rough itinerary in Russia. They can't book any train tickets or hotels in Russia, so I guess there's no need for this in order to get the tourist visa.
There is also a consulate in Busan. Another traveler reported that he asked in the Russian consulate in Busan. They said it takes two weeks for a visa for Russia, but that you can get it in less time for more money. He was told that the visa cost 50.000 Won and the invitation was also 50.000 W.
Report from February 2008:
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Address: 55 Manas St
Tel:(8-10-1996-1312) 21-177-100, 21-157-103
Fax: (8-110-1996-1312) 61-101-177
Hours for visas: Tuesday and Thursday 14:30 to 15:50
There is reportedly a General consul in Osh, but the address and other information are not on the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs site.
Report from November 2009:
Getting a Russian visa in the CIS without residency is CRAZY expensive. The embassy in Baku was asking $500. The one in Bishkek was similar.
This is one traveler's report from Bishkek.
"Some of your choices for the invitation : Kyrgyz Concept (on LP map of Bishkek) will do it for $150 and it takes a week for it to arrive, when you will take this to the Russian embassy for a 20 day tourist visa. CAT (on map) will do it for $100, takes a week, and ditto re. embassy for a 30 day visa. I chose to go through David Berghof of Stan Tours (see their website), based in Turkmenistan (but he was physically in Almaty at the moment). A real accommodating guy with plenty of references on the Thorn Tree but whom I only know from cyberspace. The invitation is $30 for a thirty day invite, issued in Moscow and you can either have it sent by registered mail (takes 14 days!) or sent by DHL (like Fed Ex) to their office in Bishkek for 50 additional bucks. I did it through his agent here, Celestial Mountain at Kievskaya 131 (see website) and Ian Couter. I paid him 80 bucks, sent the personal info regarding the invite to David by email( you can also pay David directly by either wiring the money to his account with Deutsche Bank in Berlin, or through PayPal...he will explain) and it arrived here within 3 days. You can track delivery on the net at their (DHL) website which I thought was rather cool."
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The bloody consulate (not on LP map but the embassy is) at 55 Manas St (near Kievskaya) is only opened for visa processing from 14:30 to 15:30, Tuesdays and Thursdays! There was a small crowd of people outside, but they are mostly on other business. Say visa in an assertive voice and the guard will let you in. The employees only speak Russian, which I don't, and you need the original invitation/voucher. David says I could have tried in Tashkent with a copy, which he sends you via the web, but then again last year they accepted copies at the embassy in Almaty but this year they do not.
Stan Tours also has agents in Samarkand, Bukhara and Tashkent - so theoretically you could pay their agent in one of those cities while en route, send the info, and have the package waiting for you at Celestial when you arrive, preferably on a Monday so you can submit all documents on a Tuesday. You need the
1) original invitation/voucher, which is really two stamped documents on an A4 sheet
2) a completed application form, which is in Russian and English and quite simple
3) one photo and
4) in the case of Canadians US$76 for one week processing and double for Express (same day or next?).
After you submit the documents window number one will give you a chit which you take to window number two (Kassa) where you pay in exact change the required US dollar sum - not in local currency - and give you a computerized receipt. They will keep your passport so make a copy of the first page, your Kyrgyz visa and finally the receipt that the embassy gives you to indicate the pickup date. This is all in case you are stopped by the police. It's not a problem really, and I am to pick it up at 15:00 today (Tuesday), and I fly out tomorrow at 05:35 (!) So - the quickest way to do this is to pay a Stan Tour agent wherever you are in Central Asia, pick up the package if you are in Bishkek on Monday, and get Express processing on Tuesday. Aeroflot flies every day for $200 to Moscow. Keep a copy of the invitation/voucher in case Russian immigration wants to see it at the airport. Never can tell.
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