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Thursday, 17 March 2011 15:09

Visa support

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The invitation* (for a tourist or a business visa) can be obtained through a Russian travel agency, a hotel or your local travel agent. If you get it through a hotel you will be bound by a fixed itinerary and will have to stay at this particular hotel. The agencies usually offer more flexible options. You simply receive it by e-mail or fax and then bring it along with other documents needed to the Russian consulate.

Only hotels and travel agencies that have a consular reference, that is  the government registration number with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, can issue the confirmations valid for visa purposes. Travelers who plan to stay in more than one hotel would be best advised to seek an invitation through a travel agency rather than a hotel directly to ensure that the invitation will cover the entire length of such stay.

However, Russian Embassies and Consulates are inconsistent and unreliable. For example, depending on the embassy, they may or may not issue visas by mail or in-person only and may not accept faxed/e-mailed copies of the invitation in lieu of the original. Check with the embassy in beforehand.

A business visa requires an entirely different type of invitation. Business invitations are issued by the government and many Russian consulates require the original hard copy, though some will accept a faxed copy. Again, check with the consulate before applying. Obtaining a business invitation is another time consuming and costly process. It normally takes 4 to 6 weeks to receive one. But travel agencies in Russia can help with obtaining a business invitation.

*Note that if you are flying directly from abroad into any of the following cities, special invitation rules are likely to apply: Barnaul, Kaliningrad, Kazan, Khabarovsk, Irkutsk, Murmansk, Nizhny Novgorod, Omsk, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Petrozavodsk, Pyatigorsk, Rostov-on-Don, Samara, Ufa, Vladivostok and Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk.

Read 1642 times Last modified on Wednesday, 27 July 2011 18:10