Obtaining visas can be a daunting process – and we are here to help. Here are some of the questions that clients ask us, and our replies:
Q: Do you need my passport to get me a Russian visa? If so, how long do you need it for?
A: Yes – we do need your passport because the visa is stamped on a blank page in the passport. The passport and applications are processed by the Russian Consulate – the timeframe depends on the cost. The shorter the time of processing, the higher the cost. Please see price list for full details of prices and processing times.
Q: Why do I need a visa?
A: Certain countries require a visa to grant access to that country. Each country has the right to control entry to their own territory – and granting visas is a way in which countries can check visitors before they arrive. Visas are usually obtainted prior to travel (Russia, China, India, Belarus, Uzbekistan in particular), but in some cases, visas may simply be granted on entry. Some countries require visas for certain nationalities and waive visa requirements for other nationalities.
Q: I am travelling to Russia. Is a “letter of invitation” the same as a “tourist acceptance voucher”?
A: Yes – in order to obtain a tourist visa for travel to Russia, your application needs to be accompanied by an invitation letter from a licensed Russian agency or hotel. Your tour operator or hotel (tourist visa) will provide this for you. If you need a business visa, the company you are visiting should provide this for you. If you do not have this document, we can provide one for you for the relevant cost – see price table for details.
Q: I am going on a Baltic Cruise and looking forward to visiting St Petersburg. Will I need a Russian visa?
A: This is an interesting one! If you travel on excursions organised by the shipping line, you do NOT need a Russian visa, but you must stay with your group at all times. If you wish to travel ashore independently, or extend your stay ashore without your group, you DO need a Russian visa.
Q: I understand that I need photos for my visa – how many photos do I need?
A: For Russia, China and Belarus – just one. For Ukraine you need 2. Uzbekistan requires 2 photos and 2 application forms. Requirements can change at short notice – so always check with us in advance. Please also check the type of photo. Russia for example requires a recent standard passport photo in colour confirming to current passport agenct standards. India requires 1 photo but of a larger size format – check with us for for current details.
Q: How do I send my passport to you?
A: You MUST use a secure method of post. Do not use standard mail – you should use a secure method with possibility of tracking the item – Royal Mail Special Delivery is best recommendation. If you are local to us, hand-delivery is the most secure option of all, although our experience of Special Delivery is that it provides an excellent and reliable service at sensible cost.
Q: What do I need to do once my passport is returned?
A: You MUST check that the visa accurately reflects the dates of your travel and that all personal data is correct. Please check name, date of birth and passport number. It is your responsibility to ensure that your visa reflects correct travel data – failure to do so can result in denied entry to your destination country. If there are any errors, you must notify us immediately to ensure that the visa is reissued. Please remember that the responsibility is yours to ensure that you have a correct and valid visa.