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Old Mar 15, 11, 11:11 pm   #1
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
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Few odd visa questions about traveling to Moscow

This is an odd situation so I'm not sure I can get an answer, but I wanted to try here before I try to explain this to a person at the Russian Consulate in SFO.

I am an airline employee. We can purchase stand-by tickets on other carriers. I wanted to try visiting Moscow this fall. I was surprised to find that (from what I could find), at best, there are two direct flights from the US to Moscow from any given city (JFK, IAD, ATL).
So my first question is, how strict are they with the travel dates listed on the visa application? What if I show up 1-2 days later (but still leave on the date listed)?

My second question is (and this is a little stranger), are visas specific about from where you enter the country? I can fly to London, and have a much broader array of choices to get to Moscow (on BMI for example), but I'm not sure if a visa is good for just US-Russia, or if I can enter Russia from the UK, being an American citizen.

And last, do I actually (physically) have to go the consulate/embassy to get my visa? The website I found (which I am hoping is legit), asks which embassy the visa will be picked up at.

The problem is that these decisions have to be made on the fly (if I don't get on the direct flight, JFK-LHR/FRA-DME would be my back up option).
I've never traveled to a country that required a visa so I want to make sure I don't get turned away or have any issues.
I'm planning on paying for a guided tour while I am there (I don't speak Russian).


Thanks,

Last edited by redheadtempe33; Mar 16, 11 at 1:29 am.
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Old Mar 15, 11, 11:45 pm   #2
 
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The travel dates on your visa are just the earliest date you can enter Russia, and the latest day you can leave. You can arrive later, and leave earlier. It is advisable to pad the dates in case of unforeseen events, because it is difficult to extend the visa in country.

It doesn't matter from where you arrive -- taking a connecting flight will be fine.

To get a visa, you can either do it yourself, or use a service provider. If you use a service provider you don't need to show up in person. If you do it yourself, it may be required ... not sure, my hometown has a Russian consulate so I always go there myself to apply and later pick up my passport.
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Old Mar 16, 11, 12:11 am   #3
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ParisMoskau View Post
The travel dates on your visa are just the earliest date you can enter Russia, and the latest day you can leave. You can arrive later, and leave earlier. It is advisable to pad the dates in case of unforeseen events, because it is difficult to extend the visa in country.

It doesn't matter from where you arrive -- taking a connecting flight will be fine.

To get a visa, you can either do it yourself, or use a service provider. If you use a service provider you don't need to show up in person. If you do it yourself, it may be required ... not sure, my hometown has a Russian consulate so I always go there myself to apply and later pick up my passport.
Thank you. It does not sound like this will be as difficult as I thought it would be.

It isn't a big deal for me to go to San Francisco to get a visa. I was just wondering if it was absolutely necessary. Sounds like it would be better to go through the Russian embassy anyway. I'm not sure how I feel giving my passport to a 'service provider'.
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Old Mar 16, 11, 5:04 am   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redheadtempe33 View Post
Thank you. It does not sound like this will be as difficult as I thought it would be.

It isn't a big deal for me to go to San Francisco to get a visa. I was just wondering if it was absolutely necessary. Sounds like it would be better to go through the Russian embassy anyway. I'm not sure how I feel giving my passport to a 'service provider'.
It's nice to hear someone say "it does not sound like this will be as difficult as I thought it would be." We don't hear that much in regards to Russian visas.

Fear not giving your passport to a service provider. It's a way of life for many of us. PM me if you want the name of a great company to work with in the Bay area.

Safe travels and enjoy Russia!
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Old Mar 16, 11, 9:15 am   #5
 
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I use Travisa (and in the past CIBT) for all of my visas--they have my passport right now, in fact, and my Ghanaian and Nigerian visas are in process. I would not stress about it.

I always pad the dates of my Russian visas--no one cares if you show up later than the start date, or leave earlier than the end date, but they will care a lot if you show up too early or leave too late!
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Old Mar 20, 11, 3:21 pm   #6
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
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Arrow Invitation

The other posts give good information regarding the tourist visa (I run a travel company focused on Russia/CIS and get visas every day for people).

One point, though, is that normally you will need an invitation. Visa processing companies normally provide the invitation and (at least us) will give you the full 30 days allowed on a tourist visa. If you get the invitation from a hotel it will only be for the length of your hotel reservation (and many hotels will charge a penalty for leaving early). If you are not sure of the exact dates of your trip it may be easier to get your visa through a visa processing company.

You could get a transit visa, however at least the NY Russian Consulate requires a copy of your air itinerary with the exact dates/flights and not permit any variance in dates).
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