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Old 12.01.2016, 17:39
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Tourist visas for Russia

I'm organising a trip to St. Petersburg for 13 people. The requirements involved in getting a visa is frustrating. Our travel agency has just informed me that we should use Kontiki (an agent in dealing with Russian visas) due to the the high probability of not acquiring a visa on our own because of the complexity of the paperwork involved. The agent's services cost SFr. 230 per person.

I was wondering what experiences others have had in getting tourist visas for Russia. Did you do it on your own? We'll be in Russia for 4 days. I've been to St. Petersburg before but only on a one-day tour from a cruise ship.

By the way, everyone in the group has Swiss passports.

Thanks for your feedback.
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Old 12.01.2016, 17:45
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Re: Tourist visas for Russia

I 've used CIBT for most of my business travel, and a couple years ago, they turned a Russian tourist visa around for me in about 4 days IIRC.


Pricey, but have never let me down.


They have an office here in CH.


http://cibtvisas.ch/
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Old 12.01.2016, 17:51
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Re: Tourist visas for Russia

I went to Moscow last November and used these guys in Bern: http://www.openup.travel

Service was flawless, can recommend them. If I remember correctly was their fee less than 150 for a single entry tourist visa.
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Old 12.01.2016, 17:59
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Re: Tourist visas for Russia

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I'm organising a trip to St. Petersburg for 13 people. The requirements involved in getting a visa is frustrating. Our travel agency has just informed me that we should use Kontiki (an agent in dealing with Russian visas) due to the the high probability of not acquiring a visa on our own because of the complexity of the paperwork involved. The agent's services cost SFr. 230 per person.

I was wondering what experiences others have had in getting tourist visas for Russia. Did you do it on your own? We'll be in Russia for 4 days. I've been to St. Petersburg before but only on a one-day tour from a cruise ship.

By the way, everyone in the group has Swiss passports.

Thanks for your feedback.
I did it on my own* - UK passport, applied for in London but just taken a quick look and the paperwork appears exactly the same for Switzerland. 2 of us had no trouble at all, the only things I recall being a pain were:

1. the online system being a bit buggy
2. the "requirement" to list every trip abroad in the last 10 years. In reality, and as actually advised by the agent at the application centre, making sure that you list everything you have entry stamps for and a few European trips so it doesn't look suspicious is fine
3. If you've visited any territories that Russia doesn't recognise, in my case Kosovo, list it as the recognised country - so Serbia in my case.

* You do need a "visa support invitation" as well - we paid something like £15 each for these as obviously couldn't be done ourselves - but this was unavoidable and much less than the £100 + for the full service application on our behalf exclusive of actual visa costs.
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Old 12.01.2016, 18:11
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Re: Tourist visas for Russia

In 1997, I went to St.Peterburg with the help of http://swisscenter.ru. They helped me and my US-roommate to get the visas quite easily. We lived with a lovely family in the very center of St.Peterburg, Irina, the landlady, spoke french and we had a ball! They also organized several cultural events for us, Ballet at Marijnskij-Theatre, some Folklore - very funny event because the wooden seats were so old that many crashed during the concert. I'll never forget it :-) Maybe they can help you!
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Old 12.01.2016, 18:16
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Re: Tourist visas for Russia

I used http://www.consular-service.ch/en/ in for a business week trip in November. St Petersburg-Ekatrinburg-Chelyabinsk-Moscow.


Came out to about 250 CHF
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Old 12.01.2016, 18:19
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Re: Tourist visas for Russia

I have been told if you book your hotel through Bookings.com, they will provide the necessary support invitation. Can't remember if it was free of charge or not.
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Old 12.01.2016, 19:01
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Re: Tourist visas for Russia

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I did it on my own* - UK passport, applied for in London but just taken a quick look and the paperwork appears exactly the same for Switzerland. 2 of us had no trouble at all, the only things I recall being a pain were:

1. the online system being a bit buggy
2. the "requirement" to list every trip abroad in the last 10 years. In reality, and as actually advised by the agent at the application centre, making sure that you list everything you have entry stamps for and a few European trips so it doesn't look suspicious is fine
3. If you've visited any territories that Russia doesn't recognise, in my case Kosovo, list it as the recognised country - so Serbia in my case.

* You do need a "visa support invitation" as well - we paid something like £15 each for these as obviously couldn't be done ourselves - but this was unavoidable and much less than the £100 + for the full service application on our behalf exclusive of actual visa costs.
About "the "requirement" to list every trip abroad in the last 10 years." I hope it is a long form; I visit Germany most weeks!
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Old 12.01.2016, 20:36
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Re: Tourist visas for Russia

Booking a hotel will get you a visa for the lenght of your stay in the hotel.
I would advise you to write to (or call) Ligua Consulting

http://rusvisa.org/index.php?option=...id=5&Itemid=25

I spent many (perhaps too many) years in Russia and this is the place that can do it all.

I can also recommend you to visit the www.redtape.ru forum for any questions you might have on Russia, folks are opiniated, but full of useful information and tips ...

Feel free to PM as well

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Old 12.01.2016, 21:22
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Re: Tourist visas for Russia

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I'm organising a trip to St. Petersburg for 13 people. The requirements involved in getting a visa is frustrating. Our travel agency has just informed me that we should use Kontiki (an agent in dealing with Russian visas) due to the the high probability of not acquiring a visa on our own because of the complexity of the paperwork involved. The agent's services cost SFr. 230 per person.

I was wondering what experiences others have had in getting tourist visas for Russia. Did you do it on your own? We'll be in Russia for 4 days. I've been to St. Petersburg before but only on a one-day tour from a cruise ship.

By the way, everyone in the group has Swiss passports.

Thanks for your feedback.
I used http://www.gotorussia.com/visa_servi...ia_support.htm for a private trip for the letter of invitation - $20. No problems at all getting the visa from the Embassy in Bern.
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Old 12.01.2016, 22:02
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Re: Tourist visas for Russia

I have gotten 7 visas from several Russian consulates in Geneva, Washington and Tehran in the past; once in my Swiss passport and the rest in my Iranian passport, the latter being valid only 5 years, I prefer to use it for my single-entry visas.

Last time was in Nov 2015 and I paid SFr. 83.-. The Russian visa fee for U.S. citizens is SFr. 173.-

The application process always went smooth and easy, I had an invitation letter (Priglashenie) for my first visa application and the officer didn't even bother to look at it.

I have always used these websites:

www.vhs-swiss.com/main.php?id=travel&lang=de

visa.kdmid.ru


Good luck
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Old 12.01.2016, 22:48
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Re: Tourist visas for Russia

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I 've used CIBT for most of my business travel, and a couple years ago, they turned a Russian tourist visa around for me in about 4 days IIRC.


http://cibtvisas.ch/
The Business Travel company I worked for in the U.K. always used CIBT also. I used to talk to their staff several times a week, and what they don't know about visas you can fit on the back of a stamp. Excellent service and a very proactive team who get the job done, and raise any potential issues before they become real problems.
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Old 05.04.2016, 11:28
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Re: Tourist visas for Russia

While the visas are being processed, could someone kindly advise me what kind of money we should use and where to obtain it? Do I need Euros or Rubels? Should I get my Rubels here or there?

Thanks!
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Old 05.04.2016, 11:39
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Re: Tourist visas for Russia

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While the visas are being processed, could someone kindly advise me what kind of money we should use and where to obtain it? Do I need Euros or Rubels? Should I get my Rubels here or there?

Thanks!
Russian rubles can be obtained from an ATM at the St. Petersburg airport:

https://www.pulkovoairport.ru/en/pas.../services/atm/
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