Applying for a Russian Visa

Whether it's a surviving relic of Soviet Russia or the deliberate actions of a Government that doesn't really want too many tourists roaming its lands, one thing is clear: getting a Russian visa requires you to jump through quite a few hoops. Luckily, some enterprising Russian companies have sprung up to make the process a little easier.

You need to have a rough idea of your itinerary before you start the visa application process, the reason being that you have to state it during application.

Each of the three hoops to jump through is outlined in detail below.

Step 1: Invitation

A Sample Russian Visa Invitation Before you even think about heading down to your nearest Russian Embassy, you need to apply for an Invitation to visit Russia. This is also sometimes referred to as Visa Support.

There are various ways of obtaining this document. If you have a friend or contact resident in Russia, they should be able to obtain an invitation for you, but be warned that you are letting them in for some potentially nightmarish Russian bureaucracy.

An easier option is to obtain your invitation from your first place of stay. Some hostels in St. Petersburg and Moscow will offer Invitations for free (or a small fee) if you book your first night(s) accommodation with them.

But by far and away the most hassle-free way to jump through this first hoop is to apply online at one of the companies that have surfaced to deal with this headache in return for some cold, hard currency. One such company which I suggest you give a whirl is Real Russia.

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