Everbrite's Russia, Belarus and Ukraine Pages

Belarus Info

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:
Irkutsk/Lake Baikal

Moscow Metro 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 in Russia planes, trains and automobiles

Trans-Siberian Trains
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
The Alphabet
Books, Tapes and other Resources
Basic Words

Ukraine Info


Russian Consulates

Armenia (Yerevan)
China - Hong Kong
China - Shanghai
Czech Republic
Estonia (Tallinn)
Finland - Helsinki
Finland - Turku
Georgia (Tbilisi)

Hong Kong
Hungary (Budapest)
Iceland (Reykjavik)
Kyrgyzstan (Bishkek)

Laos (Vientiane)
Latvia (Riga)
Lithuania (Vilnius)
New Zealand
South Africa

Turkey (Istanbul)
Turkey (Trabzon)
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom
United States
Other Countries

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:
A to G
H to K
L to S
T to Z

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Laos (Vientiane) 
Report from August 2009:
In Vientiane now and I can tell you that they only issue visas to Lao citizens and foreign nationals residing in Lao. As I am neither of these I couldn't obtain a visa. great.

Report from May 2009:
I went to Vientiane 2 days later, when I showed up at the consulate the secretary didn't know what to do with me but she asked me to wait for the Consul as he was not in yet. The consul asked to see my passport and invitation. He examined the passport for about 10 minutes and called the agency who provided my invite to see if they/it was legit. I came back to pick up my visa a week later, no problems! The consulate was empty aside for 2 Lao ladies getting translations done as opposed to the one in Bangkok that was mobbed with Russians. Had to pay the visa fee in US dollars as well.

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Report from April 2005:
I though you might want to include some information about Russian visas issued in Vientiane, Laos - this is where my boyfriend and I applied for them.
The embassy here does not seem to be very busy and therefore, we were able to talk directly to the consul, who was very friendly, approachable and helpful. We got his mobile number and he even agreed once to meet us outside the business hours, which was very much appreciated.
The only disadvantage was the necessity to present the original invitations. We used service and got the originals within 4 working days. Unfortunately, we paid 70 USD dollars for the postage (UPS service), but it saved us the trip to Shanghai (which would be probably much more expensive).
My boyfriend (English) paid 30 GBP, me (Polish) - 15 EUR (both payable in USD). The consul agreed to process the visas on a basis of the e-mailed copies and to grant us he visas within half an hour after sighting the originals provided later on. Theoretically, the process should take up to three days, whereas in our case it was about 19 hours, as we waited for the originals to arrive.
My passport was almost full - before I applied for the Russian visa; I had just two blank pages left (not facing!). Was a bit worried about that as heard different stories about the Russian consulates' requirements. In Vientiane embassy though, just one page was enough and consul had no problems with that whatsoever.

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Latvia (Riga) 

Although the Baltic countries are often mentioned as a place to go for Russian visas, this is not the true for Lativa. Janiscelo, a TT contributor says he can arrange a 30 day tourist visa for Russia in 6 business days, Contact him at: Janiscelo.

Report from November 2009:
Riga is an ok place for a US passport holder to make a visa run for a 90 day business visa but you will probably need original documents.

Report from May 2005:
"I have seen your posts on Thorn Tree and want to let you know what I have found out about RF visas. (About me: I work in Moscow, I needed a 3 month single entry business visa + I have an invitation approved by Ministry of Foreign Affairs.) I arrived in Riga on a Monday in May 2005 and saw a very long line at the RF consulate. They accept documents only until 1 pm. You can get a "visa anketa" from the guard. According to a posted notice, they take 6 days or 11 days to issue a visa. So I would NOT recommend Riga. I have heard that starting June 1, they will do it in a quicker amount of time."

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Lithuania (Vilnius) 
Report from November 2007:
"I got the same answer in Finland, and so I just called this Kelvita travel agency in Vilnius as it was my last hope. Your site refers to it as a favorite place for people to go to get visas, and has stories of this agency getting US Passport holders visas fast. A quick google search showed many positive reviews from all over the web. They were much more courteous and informative than the other numbers I'd called, but unfortunately could do no more to get me a visa. The operator told me the same thing that I must either be a Lithuanian citizen or have permission to live there long-term. I stated that I'd heard I could get it there since they're in the EU, but she "not anymore". I find it difficult to believe this would apply to actual citizens of the EU (although it might), but it certainly applies to me. Perhaps there is some agency in Europe somewhere that could get it done for some price, but I've given up, as I doubt I'm savvy/ knowledgeable/ deep-pocketed enough to be able to use this option."

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Report from Summer 2007 from a US passport holder:
"In November of 2006 they got me a visa in one day BUT they got the wrong entry date on the visa!! This cost me an extra night in Vilnius, and more expensively a new plane ticket (plus cab to/from airport again). The visa was issued on the 9th but only for entry on the 10th (the form was filled out correctly asking for the 9th). However we all make mistakes :) The cost at that time was about 500 LTs.

In June of this year - I again was in Vilnius and went to the train station. Different folks working there (not sure if that means anything or not) and they seemed genuinely surprised to have a request for a one day turnaround for a Russian Visa - perhaps because it's the summer I don't know. They offered one week. I declined. They made some phone calls and finally agreed to one day - but at a cost of 1000 LTs. I paid. And I did get the visa with the right date!! (of course I had said about 20 times that I would be flying out that next night and it needed to be for that day to enter Russia). The youngest of the women working there was the one you wanted to be dealing with (most on the ball and spoke the best English) She also seemed to understand why I was asking her to make sure that the date was correct (which tells me that there have been others with similar problems).....the airline won't let you fly - even had Lithuanian airlines in November call to see if I could fly into Russia and wait to clear customs after midnight (would have been arriving at 9:45 or something like that. - But NO DICE!!"

Report from August 2006:
"Also, I wanted to reconfirm a posting you made earlier this year about Kelvita Travels in Vilnius, Lithuania. They are still helping folks with Russian visas quickly and effortlessly. This is a good option for folks on a RTW trip who cannot return to their country to pick up a visa. The Russian embassies in Prague and Berlin will only issue visas to their citizens and foreign nationals living there on resident visas...and they are quite rude as they scream at you to call back and speak Czech or Russian!

Kelvita Travels is in Vilnius' main train station, the last counter in the right wing of the building. They issue visas in 1 working day for 500 litas, in 3 working days for 400. A good deal given that you would exceed that amount in express postage and visa fees were you to get it in the US.

Phone/fax is 5 210 61 31
Mobile is 8 606 02510, 1"

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Upate May 2006 - Kelvita is still in business selling their services to obtain Russian and Belarussian visas. For those interested in contacting them directly, here is the information:
Address: Gelezinkelio g. 16, Gelezinkelio stotis, kasa Nr. 30, 02100 Vilnius
Phone: +370 (5) 2106130
Fax: +370 (5) 2106131
Reg. code: 124606121

A Canadian traveler in June 2004 posted this information:
There is a small agency in the railway station just to the right of the cashier wickets that will get your visas for the above within a day or two. (US$1=2.87 Lits). Here are the prices as quoted to me this morning (12th June):
Russia - Within 1 day 460 Lits, 4 days 420 Lits, 8 day 340 Lits for a one month tourist visa.
Belarus - Within 1 day 220 Lits for a transit visa, good for 48 hours
Ukraine - Within 1 day 255 Lits for a 3(!) month visa
All the above prices are for Canadians. I think the prices for other nationalities vary. I am to get the Belarussian and Ukrainian visa. I have to be at the agency at around 8 am, she goes to the embassies starting at 10 am and I should have the visas by the next day.

"Postscript Monday re. Visas in Vilnius, Lithuania
I handed in my passport to the Kelvita Travel Agency, which is just to the right of the train station cashier wickets, this morning at 09:30. The attendant filled in both application forms and I gave two photos and 475 Litas in total. By 16:00 my transit visa for Belarus and tourist visa for Ukraine were done. Nothing else was required. After I told a British national about the Russian visa, he asked the agency what the fee is for him - 364 Litas for one day issuance of a one month tourist visa. They don't care about the invitation as I think the agency makes a bogus copy."

Another TT traveler reported that during the summer of 2003, he went to the Russian consulate in Vilnius with the necessary paperwork to get a tourist visa but did not get into the consulate. While waiting in line, he was handed a leaflet for a travel agency. After the consulate stopped accepting applications, he went to the nearby agency. He paid 100 USD and was able to get his tourist visa the following day. He was given an address in Moscow and when he went there, he was able to get registered in a few minutes.

Posted on TT: "In 2002, in Vilnius l got a 3 month business visa the same day for $55 (must pay in dollars). If you wait 3 days it's cheaper. I used an invitation from There's a small travel agency that provides travel insurance and possibly invitations opposite the Russian consulate entrance. Vilnius is the place to go."

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Report 1 from June 2011:
Kuala Lumpur consulate: They told us that we needed confirmation from the consul, who showed up 15 minutes later in person, looked at our passports, and gave his ok. The only requirement is a 90 day entry visa (and the usual tourist voucher, picture, form, etc.)

Report 2 from June 2011:
We could get our Russian visa from the Kuala Lumpur consulate. Their only requirement was the 90 day entry stamp that, with our Spanish passport, we get upon arrival in Malaysia.

Report 3 from July 2011:
russian visa, now is more easy, and especially for EU citizens. i tried in malaysia, i found some agent there they did it in one day, invitation from russia and the visa. it cost only 165 $ US. if anybody need help, this is the email of that tourist agency:

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  • There was no web site for any of the consulates in Mongolia as of spring 2004.
  • Address of the consulate in Ulan Bator:
    A 6, Enkhtayvany gudamzh (Friendship street)
    Tel: +976 (1) 327 071, 326 836, 327 506
    Fax: +976 (1) 327 018
  • Address of the consulate in Erdnet, Orhon aimag, Mongolia
    Tel: +976 1352 73 711, 23 009
    Fax: +976 1352 22 653
  • Address of the consulate in Darhan-Uul aimag
    Zaluuchuudyn gudamzh, 13, Darhan somon
    Tel: +976 1372 2 3996
    Fax: +976 1372 2 3406
  • The travel agent in the Aeroflot office in Ulan Bator is able to organize both tourist and business visa for $150 USD for a 30-day visa and business visas for $180 for a 90-day visa. Process takes 12 days, but it can be expedited for more money in fewer days.
  • Reportedly the Buryat-Erdem agent in the Aeroflot office gets the visa support documents from Ulan Ude. Note that this is handy for registering after entering Russia. The invites come through in about 2 days and the visas take 1 - 7 working days to issue. Private reports to me in the summer of 2002 suggest that the agent seems to have good contacts with the Russian consulate in U.B.
  • Reportedly the consulate requires original documents and will not accept faxes.
  • Also people from countries that are member of the Schengen Agreement, Israel and several others will have to purchase travelers health insurance for $1 USD per day if they don't already have travelers insurance from an approved company. Passports needing health insurance
  • Previously, tour operators and guest house owners have suggested that it would be easier and cheaper for travelers to get their Russian visas in Beijing, China before arriving in Mongolia. This is, however, no longer a possibility. See my information about getting a visa in China.

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Report from July 2011 regarding transit visas and mentioning tourist visas
I've spent every day for almost a week at the Russian Embassy in UB now so am both friends with the staff and pretty well acquainted with the rules!

It is possible for a British citizen (and Aussies, most Europeans and Americans) to get a transit visa at the Consular Section here. They like to make it difficult, especially one particular diplomat who is generally believed to be a mild sociopath (by my queue companions). But less about him.

Visas can be obtained in 4 days (standard service) or 1 day (express service) with fees depending on your nationality. For the Brits, a 1-day service is $116; Aussies $100; Americans $132. A normal service for Brits is $55.

The consulate accepts applications for one hour ONLY each day, 2-3pm. Each application has inevitable difficulties so the one-man service sees on average 3 applications a day. If you want to get your application in, you have to be queuing outside the gate from 1.30pm to be first in! Of course, this is the only opportunity you have to ask questions or find out information too and if you are lucky enough for them to evaluate your application, they will only find one fault at a time. Ask them to check it all to save you correcting one part on each successive day.

For a transit visa you need to show:

  1. an original ticket to enter the country
  2. an original ticket (e-ticket or official certificate) for your exit journey
  3. proof of travel insurance
  4. a properly filled in application form, available from the 'gatekeeper' at the front of the office
  5. passport photo on a white background
  6. your fee in US dollars, post-1997 bills
  7. 2 clean FACING pages in your passport. No exceptions (I tried).
Now. Conditions.
  1. A transit visa entitles you to make only one stop. There is no limit on the number of days that you can stay in Moscow but the city that you arrive in must be the city that you then depart the country from. (Of course, there is no database of this information once the sticker is in your passport so how your plans actually unfold from there is up to the fates...)
  2. You cannot exceed 10 days. Make sure your paperwork lines up with your tickets
Tourist visas, contrary to popular belief, are also available from here for non-residents but you must use one of the agencies and it takes about two weeks. Put it in when you arrive in the country before you duck off out in the the countryside for your Mongolian jaunt.

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Report from July 2009:
Great news guys!
I'm in UB now and I found our yesterday that Russian Embassy accepts applications for tourist visa from some nationalities! And you don't need to be a resident in Mongolia! There is only about 10 nationalities they accept, among them Poland, France, US, Canada, Australia, South Korea and a few other European countries. I can't remember all of them. Contact Legend Tours, they have full list and can help with the visa. The cost and waiting time depends on your nationality. Eg. it's $100 for Poland (including invitation), waiting time is 10 working days, $155 for Australia, waiting time is 16 days.
Embassy issues visa for 21 days only.
We are now waiting for our visas, but the lady at Legend Tours told us not too worry, it will be all ok.
I've just picked up my visa at Legend Tours. This is the full list of nationalities that can get TOURIST visa for Russia in Ulan Bator:
Czech Republic
South Korea

As I mentioned in original post, waiting time and cost depends on your nationality and can be anything between $100 and $200 and 10 to 20 working days. Price includes invitation and accommodation vouchers.

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Report from August 2007:
Been to the UB Embassy (twice) and this is the situation: First, you need original documantation of your invitation / visa suport, as well as clear colour copies of passport/Mongolian visa etc.
The Transit, as well as the Tourist Visas take the same time to process (if opting for the cheaper price - US$36. All EU as well as Aussia and Kiwi passports) seven working days.
For the Tourist Visa you are forced into having the Russian Insurance policy ($10) and as far as I can tell, the cheapest visa support on the Internet is $30 - this brings it to US$76 and two long days of Queeing (the place is only open from 1400 - 1500, hence, be at the outside gate by 1330 at the very latest to stand a chance of getting in!).
If you opt for the Transit visa - you can only do this going West, it seems. as there is no possibility of buying a ticket to Beijing/Harbin in advance outside of Russia.

Another option, is letting PASSPORT TRAVEL do the work for you. They charge $100 for British passports holders and guarentte a 28 days Tourist visa (the embassy, as well as Legend Travel, only give 21 days. Legend also require TWO WEEKS processing time and charge $110 + insurance for $10). Also, Passport Travel is happy to accept any insurance policy that you might already have. Processing time is the same 7 working days / 10 days in total. They are on the same level as Leged Travel, on the far left corner.

The Embassy also says that everyone is now needing to register in EVERY city that you stay for longer than one night. Thus, if you stay for 2 nights or longer, anywhere, you must register locally! The embassy here in UB seem to suggest that you will need to prove upon exiting the country, that you either changed city every night, or have train tickets to prove that you were o board at night, otherwise - you need to show a registration (even for Moscow and St Pete, they say)....

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(posted July 2006) Just to let people know of my experiences getting a Russian tourist visa in Ulaan Baatar. I went through Legend Tour, it cost US$120 including invitation and visa registration fee in Irkutsk (needs to be done within 3 days of entering Russia). Haven't needed to book accommodation beforehand. This is for 11 working days although I've been told that mine will be ready by tomorrow which will be 7 working days (and this is a busy period what with the post-Naadam crowd). I believe 5 working days costed US$195. I know it's cheaper in China but I'd have had to get same day processing with my time frame so would've worked out pricier.

Additional: I have a UK passport and the maximum length of tourist visa available was 21 days. Exact date of entry had to be given along with places to be visited.

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Another report from Ulan Bator (July 2005)
First of all, it's a miracle if you can get to see a visa officer as the office is only open for foreigners from 2pm - 3pm and during this time they see about 4 or 5 people then shut up shop so you need to be queuing outside before 1:30pm if you want to be seen. I think it was on my third attempt (and a lot of time of work) that I got to the counter. There were many others there who had been refused visas, even transit visas, and put up with endless grief.

I had heard horror stories about the embassy from numerous people as I was living in UB at the time so I made sure all my documents were in order. Basically I was getting the train from UB to Almaty in Kazakstan and all I wanted was a transit visa. However, you cannot buy a ticket to Almaty in UB. You can only buy it to Novosibirsk where you change trains. When I told the visa officer this he said "if you really want you can get" and refused to say anything more. Which after further research I discovered that what he had really meant was that I had to go to the Legends travel agency that are in cahoots with the Embassy and pay $150 for a piece of paper reserving me a ticket on the Novosibirsk - Almaty train. A ticket, which if bought in Novosibirsk, would cost about a third of the price. Once in Novosibirsk I had to go and collect the ticket from a travel agent.

Even when I went back with everything in order he managed to argue over my home address because there was no number on it as I live in the countryside so I ended up making one up! Honestly he was just so rude but you have to grin and bear it. Admittedly my experience was not so bad, I just had to pay three times the price (rather annoying) and put up with a bit of impoliteness and inconvenience. There were people there who had been trying for weeks and weeks and were in serious trouble as their Mongolian visas were about to run out. It seems they just refuse people willy nilly. Basically, if you really want a visa you are going to have to pay for it by booking tickets and accommodation with the agencies they work with. One guy was refused cos he had booked a hostel in Moscow, rather than the hotel the Embassy said he should stay in.

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A fellow traveler posted an update on the situation in Ulan Bator in June 2004: "just thought I'd let y'all know the Russian visa situation in Mongolia. Expect to take about three days to get all your stuff together for a transit visa. The staff at the embassy are the second least friendly people I have ever met in my life (Vincent Garnier, owner of a backpackers' place in San Jose, CR is still #1).

Transit and tourist visas both take 9 days... the three day express rate is about twice the price. The only way you will get a tourist visa is through Legends Travel. It might be possible on your own, but I highly doubt it. All in all Legends isn't that bad a deal. You have to pay for one night in a decent hotel (to get the invitation), a couple bucks extra for the train ticket and a couple bucks extra for the visa. If you are nice to the girls at Legends', they won't make you buy an overpriced ticket out of the country.

Another side note that I couldn't find anywhere... the China Mongolia boarder is closed on Sundays... if you show up in Erlian on Saturday night hoping to get across on Sunday morning, you are going to have a boring couple of days (as I found out)."

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Report from May 2003. Note that similar information was also posted on the TT in spring 2004 and at the end is a description from summer 2005 and one from 2006
"If you are coming from China, I think these are the only options of getting out of Mongolia, without having a Russian tourist visa:

  • You can pay 250 USD for a Russian tourist visa (which includes three nights of accommodation, this is the cheapest available, believe me we've looked) and then go wherever you like.
  • There are flights to Bishkek via Moscow, USD 570, no Russian visa needed. Kazakh, not Russian, embassy gives visa only with invitation (for all nationalities). Cost is USD 70; processing time is ten days.
  • There's a flight from Ulgit (Western Mongolia) to Almaty, you cannot get visa at the airport, only via Kazakh embassy in UB (USD 70, excluding invitation, registration, etc). This takes probably ten days. With a visa for Kyrgyzstan, you can also get a Kazakh transit visa, but this takes also 10 days. Cost is USD 25.
  • There is a train to Novosibirsk from UB (63 USD, 2 days) and then on to Almaty (USD 102). For the Russian transit visa you need all the train tickets beforehand. 202 legend tour can arrange them, within three days or something. We asked the Russian embassy whether this would entitle us to a transit visa and he said yes, if we can show the Kazakh visa in our passport. However, you can never be sure, two other travelers tried to get to Bishkek by airplane and had only two stopovers in Russia, however, for this they were told they needed a tourist visa, because it was more than one stopover. I do not know how long it takes. Tourist visas take 9 days."

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The Netherlands 
Report from July 2009 for a Dutch passport holder:
First of all, didn't want to supply us with the visa support documents since we want to apply for the visa more than 90 days in advance, which is officially not possible. Then we tried which was not a problem at all... and cheaper anyway. The Russian embassy in The Netherlands was not able to process the visa more than 90 days in advance because they were very busy. If you apply within those 90 days you still might have to wait up to 4 weeks, they told me...

Report fromJune 2007:
For my upcoming Trans-Siberia trip I'm trying to get a Russian visa for my partner and myself. Through I applied for visa support, but I got an email back from them stating: "Please be advised that it is extremely difficult to obtain a Russian visa in the Netherlands at the moment. If you apply for a tourist visa, you need to present a confirmation of your hotel being fully paid" and a little further along: "We strongly recommend that you have a Dutch visa agency ( take care of your visa application (including the invitation and the consulate application). They have long-established relationship with the consulate which makes the denial practically impossible."

Someone replied to the above post with this information:
My experiences are that it becomes much more easy to get visa. This year I was about 5 times at the Russian consulate. Never had any problem getting visa while the years before were more difficult. Only thing stays same, (usual for russia) everything has to be 100% correct. Even the smallest mistake ..... What I do is following. I go to and order online the Tourist voucher for 29,90 USD. It consists 2 papers. Takes less then 3 minutes. Then I fill in this online paper at (for Dutch) and get it printed out. These 3 papers together with a copy of your insurance (where it is written that your insurance has world wide coverage!!) are enough to get your visa, at least for me it always worked. No need to show tickets, no need to show bills ...... Just some patience lol.

The OP followed up with this post:
Hi everybody! Last thursday I got my Russian visas! I did as vikfed suggested and got the visa support through My insurance policy didn't have "world coverage" written on it, so I contacted my insurance company and they sent me a letter for the Russian consulate stating that my medical expenses would be covered while in Russia. Did the same for my partner and delivered the insurance letters, tourist vouchers and passports to the consulate in the Hague on July 10th. Last Thursday (19th) the visa's were ready for pickup. I was there around 11:00 and 15 minutes later I was out again. Everything was pretty straightforward as JaakvdLaak and Vikfed said it would be and there was no need to go through an agent. Thanks again, everybody, for the advice.

I got a private report from someone using an Argentine passport that he successfully obtained a Russian visa in The Netherlands. (summer 2003) Russian consulate in The Hague

Another traveler reported that if you got a Dutch residence permit, you can obtain a Russian visa at the consulate in The Hague. All you need to do is to send a copy of the residence permit with the application.

Another TT traveler based in Holland recommended this agency as "really good and cheap":
VNC Travel in Utrecht
Tel: 31 30 231 15 00

Another agency recommendation is eurocult ( They ask reasonable prices for full visa support including the invitation and vouchers. Prices are EUR 85 for three week processing and EUR 120 for one week, or EUR 45 for visa support.

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New Zealand 
IMPORTANT NOTE: May 2011, Faxed copies of documents no longer acceptable at the Russian consulate in New Zealand. In addition, several travelers have reported being unable to obtain their Russian visa in Wellington unless they could show prepaid accommodations. However, there are several reports of persons being able to obtain their visas almost 6 months in advance of entry.

Embassy of the Russian Federation
Address: 57 Messines Road, Karori, Wellington
Tel: (8-10-644) 476-6113
Fax: (8-10-644) 476-3843

Consulate of the Russian Federation
Tel: (8-10-644) 476-6742
Fax: (8-10-644) 476-3843

Consular Service Fees per person in NZ dollars for tourist visas:
October - March processing time (12 work days)/(2 work days)
May - September processing time (15 work days)/(5 work days)
Single-entry (not longer than 30 days) $ 65.00 / $ 95.00
Double-entry (not longer than 30 days) $ 80.00 / $ 110.00

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Reports from May 2011
Print outs of documents from were not accepted at the consulate. The consulate required an original invitation plus proof of payment for accommodations. Another NZ passport holder recommended using a NZ based agent such as (Ian Robertson) who will "guarantee" your visa, but at a cost...

Reports from 2010
Report number 1
I've just had my visa application accepted on my third attempt directly at the Russian Embassy in Wellington. The problem is that the Embassy won't accept an invite on it's own, they require proof of the trip that you have booked with the supporting agency. This means that simply paying $19 for an invite off the internet won't do the job! They see it as being a fake and say that the supporting agency don't know who you are or where you'll be whilst in Russia and won't provide you with any support should you require it.

To have my application accepted i had to have all of my trains booked (a self written itinerary with train numbers and times was sufficient) and i booked and paid a deposit for hostels in each city that i am staying in. Doing this actually made the need for an invite redundant but did the job and come friday i should have my visa :)

Report number 2
We are plannnig to travel independently from Beijing to St Petersburg on the trans Mongolian Express. After having done some research on visas, we contacted for the purpose of obtaining requisite invitations. Unfortunately they replied with the below info. We already have our flights and don't want to do a tour, so do you have any suggestions? Booking and paying for our accommodation at every stop is going to be problematic especially as we aren't completely sure where we will be every day.

Please be advised that while this is generally possible to obtain a tourist visa without actually prebooking a hotel, the requirements at the Russian consulate in Wellington are especially strict at the moment. The experience shows that it may not be sufficient for you just to provide an invitation with a hotel's name listed in it. You will be asked for the actual hotel payment confirmation.

This is why, though we would be glad to provide a tourist invitation, we do not guarantee that the consulate will accept your application for a tourist visa unless the hotel is actually booked for your whole trip.

We have our visas! Very exciting. We did through an Auckland'based company and it was no problem at all. We had our visas back within about a week. Not cheap but recommend it rather than all the hassles we would have had otherwise.

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Report from Warsaw in July 2010
i went to russian embassy in warsaw last month + i was told bluntly there that they wouldnt serve me there as i come from ireland despite 1 staff member telling me the previous afternoon that it shouldnt be a problem. ( on a side note the chinese embassy there were nearly as bad + only reluctantly waivered this rule when i showed some previous china visas in my passport but then ruined things by insisting on seeing a full invoice for my train or plane ticket to china which put me completely off as i didnt need this for my previous visas )

Faxed copies of documents were reportedly acceptable at the Russian consulate in Gdansk.
15, Batorego ulitsa
Tel: +48 (58) 414 200, 419 639

Cost in June 2004 was reported to be $142 for 2 days processing, around $65 for one week processing and $200 for either next day or perhaps even same day processing.

Drop off documents in the morning; pick up reportedly in the afternoons.

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This information was posted August 2007: Russian embassy in Bucharest requires original documents.

Report from August 2009:
Dutch passport holder living in Singapore on a student pass
Getting the Russian tourist visa in Singapore was easy provided that you have a resident permit.
Just need 1 photo, 1 form, 1 invitation and the resident permit.
1 week service costs S$70, for S$140 they do it in 2 days.

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Report from July 2010:
I tried unsuccessfully in July 2010 to apply for a tourist visa with a US passport in Ljubljana.
They wouldn't accept my application without a residence permit, even though I've had several previous visas and I pointed out "on the basis of reciprocity" that a Russian citizen can apply for a visa at any US consulate.
My Russian friend called them as well as the consulates in Zagreb and Belgrade, and they both told him on the phone that they wouldn't do it either.

This information was sent to me in July 2005. "By the way, I got a Russian visa for 55 dollars at the Russian Embassy in Slovenia, with next day service. They did not check medical and did not keep hotel confirmation papers. I just used a printout of hostelworld confirmation for my hostel in St Petersburg. The whole process took one hour. (US passsport)"

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South Africa 
Russian consulate in South Africa requires copies of tickets into and out of the country reportedly.
Cape Town Consulate General of the Russian Federation
Address: 2nd Floor, Southern Life Centre, 8 Riebeek Street, Cape Town, Republic of South Africa
Tel: (8 10 2721) 418 3656, 418 3657
Fax: (8 10 2721) 419 2651

Embassy of the Russian Federation
Address: 316 Brooks Street Butano Building, Menlo Park 0081, Pretoria or
P.O. Box 6743, Pretoria 0001, Republic of South Africa
Tel: (8 10 2712) 334 4812, 344 4820
Fax: (8 10 2712) 124 328 42, 343 8636

Consular office
Address: 135 Bourke Street, Sunnyside 0132
P.O. Box 5715, Pretoria 0001, Republic of South Africa
Tel: (8 10 2712) 344 4812, 344 4820
Fax: (8 10 2712) 343 8636

Spring 2007
Russian visa also good, a Russian consulate conveniently located here in Cape Town, and UAR Tours in Cape Town, a Russian tour company who run UAR Tours do mainly incoming tours from Russia applied for our invitations etc. Very friendly young Russian couple, Anastasia and Oleg. They of course deal with an agency in Moscow for the invitation. They quoted me US$50 which includes submitting the application to the embassy and getting it back.

I wrote a covering letter along the line of your suggested accompanying letter, and although we do not have entry details as we will be entering Russia on a bus run daily from UB via Khyakta to UU, I detailed our INTENDED travel plans re entry to Russia, and they were happy with that! I included a copy of an email from the bus/tour company giving me departure details from UB.

Maybe it helped that UAR tours are well known to the staff at the Russian consulate in Cape Town.

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The website of the Russian Federation embassy in Spain. The consular section has its own site for Visa Information, which indicates that the consulate is open on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10:00 - 13:00. It is open on Tuesday and Thursday only for Russian citizens. They take telephone calls in the afternoons from 16:00 - 19:00.
Address:Madrid, c/Joaquin Costa, 33
Tel: (8-10-34) 91-411-2957
Fax: (8-10-34) 91-562-7830

This consulate only deals with citizens of Spain who reside in CC.AA. de Castilla - La Mancha, Castilla-León, Asturias, Cantabria, Galicia, La Rioja, País Vasco, Madrid, Extremadura, Canarias, Andalucía (salvo la provincia de Almería), Ceuta y Melilla, así como el Principado de Andorra. All the rest are directed to the Consulate in Barcelona.

Address: Barcelona, av. Pearson, 34
Tel: (8-10-34) 93-280-02-20, 93-280-54-32
Fax: (8-10-34) 93-280-55-41

Most recent report from Spain is from May 2006, "I got my visa in Madrid, Spain the 24th of May.
Prior to getting to the Russian embassy in Madrid to ask for the visa, you've got to call the embassy, arrange a meeting date and appear in front of it in the arranged date. The phone call to the Russian embassy is pretty expensive: 1€ per minute! And it's really hard to get your call be picked by the other side."

There have been several reports regarding the consulates in Spain. One in 2003 from someone at the Madrid consulate indicated that original documents were needed. Another in spring 2004 posted the following:
"I just got my 30-day tourist visa; it was 58 euros for a two-week processing. Although inside the consulate there were some posts stating that "for individual travel only original voucher and invitation will be accepted," I presented my faxed documents (I didn't have the originals) and they took them. Also, I have an Argentinean passport, and they asked if I was a permanent resident in Spain (which I am) but they didn't demand to see my alien resident card (which I don't have yet) or anything."

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Report from November 2007:
"The first thing I did when trying to obtain a visa was go to that website. I am an American citizen (U.S. Passport) living in Sweden for a semester on a tourist visa. The website informed me that as of some date in the middle of October 2007 the rules have gotten much more strict on getting a visa in another country. Basically, I thought I could get it in Sweden b/c I have a student visa for more than 90 days, but I cannot get it in other EU countries.

Sweden wasn't even an option, I want to leave on the 22nd, and I know it will take too long. They are rude on the phone, it almost seemed like this guy was speaking to me on a deeper level than I was speaking to him. I was not at all surprised to see on your website that the consulate in Sweden is looking for spies. I have exhausted many other options hoping this was false information, but I am not confident that it is correct.

I got the same answer in Finland, and so I just called this Kelvita travel agency in Vilnius as it was my last hope. Your site refers to it as a favorite place for people to go to get visas, and has stories of this agency getting US Passport holders visas fast. A quick google search showed many positive reviews from all over the web. They were much more courteous and informative than the other numbers I'd called, but unfortunately could do no more to get me a visa. The operator told me the same thing that I must either be a Lithuanian citizen or have permission to live there long-term. I stated that I'd heard I could get it there since they're in the EU, but she "not anymore". I find it difficult to believe this would apply to actual citizens of the EU (although it might), but it certainly applies to me. Perhaps there is some agency in Europe somewhere that could get it done for some price, but I've given up, as I doubt I'm savvy/ knowledgeable/ deep-pocketed enough to be able to use this option.

NOTE from REI: This was posted on the site and confirmed on the TT in Spring 2007.
Important Update!:
If you are getting a tourist Russian visa in Sweden then you are in trouble. In January 2006 a new consul was appointed who was apparently given orders to catch spies. So now if you want to apply for a tourist visa in the Russian consulate in Sweden you need to present a confirmation that your hotel stay was fully paid (issued by the same company that issued your visa support together with the hotel). You will also need to present originals of all documents. If all this is OK for you, then you don't need to read further. For those, who are concerned, there are two solutions: Solution 1): You can get a business invitation. In this case the purpose of your trip should be providing consulation to the inviting organization. If you are a young person and unemployed, then there's a special type of business visa called "youth connections" visa, which means you're traveling to Russia to establish links between the two countries. If you apply through this site, specify you need this one in the Comment field of the application form. Please, note, that a business invitation is usually more expensive and take 5 to 10 days to process. So, if you're in a rush, you've got another solution. Solution 2): You can apply for a tourist Russian visa in Norway, Denmark, Finland or any other EU country (except Germany and Switzerland as the consulates there are sometimes a bit strict) using the same invitation. As far as we know, these consulates can even accept the documents by post.

On the same thread it was noted that the St Petersburg International Hostel refused to provide support documents for the embassy in Stockholm because they require too much additional information and paperwork.

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Report from February 2010 regarding a 90 day business visa
A US passport holder reported being able to get a 90 day business visa in Geneva.

Report from April 2008
I'm an Australian citizen without residency in Europe who just had a tourist visa application approved at the Russian embassy in Geneva.

There didn't seem to be any hitches except the queue - get there hours early or you'll miss out!! When I initially called to inquire they said I should choose the 2 week option for pick up as it would be harder to process so same day wasn't an option.

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last revised 16 September 2011 © 2003-2011 Ruth E. Imershein
The information contained on these pages is intended to assist in making travel plans but things change, mistakes can be made.
Please do not depend entirely on this information when making your decisions.

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