Visa confusion

Old Jan 28, 19, 5:59 pm
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2019
Programs: BA Executive Club
Posts: 1
Visa confusion

My wife and I are travelling to Moscow in July for a couple of days. I have seen the eyewatering visa fees which are going to be the most expensive part of our trip (avios redemption for biz flight, good deal on a decent hotel). The problem we will have is that as we are based in Somerset the need to travel into London to submit our visa applications is a real issue - as far as I can see it is working hours/working week only. Nobody at the visa service is being particularly forthcoming about the likelihood of them processing our application in a reasonable timescale.

What experience do you have? Do you have any advice because it is really putting us off the trip despite being very keen to go.

JonBurr is offline  
Old Jan 30, 19, 1:01 am
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: ZRH
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Provided that you have the application form completed and all required documents, it should be a straightforward process. Here is a good summary including options that might make an in-person visit obsolete (not sure if this works in the U.K. though):
ParisMoskau is offline  
Old Feb 4, 19, 12:33 pm
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 7
I am also off on an avios trip in April - taking advantage of the good value business class and treating the visa fee as an additional tax! The very cheap saver tickets for proper long haul biz more than offsets the additional visa cost compared to other euro destinations where the experience is gloried economy (AKA Club Europe!)

For the visa the Russians use VFS Global and you have to go to their office to have finger prints taken and submit your forms. Its quick and painless when you get there - I have had lots of Russian visas over the years, normally visit around lunchtime and never had to wait very long (5 - 30 mins - London office). I have always found the the staff are helpful in checking the form over and correcting where needed. My mate was sent to get a new photo because they noticed he was using the same one he used last year and the photo should be less than six months old - so they appear to be quite on the ball...

For timing I have my visa in for processing at the moment - was given a four week turnaround time for the non express service (20 working days). My mate submitted a few days later he was also told 4 weeks (due to pick up next week and will update you if they don't keep to time). I am sure it used to be quicker and they have slowed the process down for some reason or another - the UK and Russian governments are not best of friends at the moment! If you cannot be without your passport that long they offer an express service - for more money! They will also post your passport back for an additional fee...

They give you a reference and you can check progress online.

As a warning the visa form is a complete pain to fill in - set aside the whole evening! They want to know everything and everywhere you have been in the last 10 years!

You will also need a visa invitation and I always get one online (lots of agencies offer for 20 or so by return of e-mail). I ask for the invitation (and so visa) to start a few days before my flight out and last for a few days longer than I need - just in case flights don't go according to plan. The Russians have no problem allowing you to enter after your visa starts and leave before it expires. Years ago got caught in some Lufthansa strikes and it was good to know I could be flexible with re-booking and not worry about visa dates.

Hope you have fun and enjoy your trip..
TPlanner is offline  

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