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Russian Visa- US Citizen

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
131 posts
6 reviews
Russian Visa- US Citizen

hi! i am going to Russia in July. I was wondering if I can apply for Russian Visa now in January to get everything sorted well in advance, given how painful the process is to get the 3 year visa. Is it allowed or do I need to wait till May/June to apply? The problem is that I will be also traveling in May internationally for work and I am afraid there is not enough time... Appreciate your help

Moscow, Russia
Level Contributor
12,514 posts
223 reviews
1. Re: Russian Visa- US Citizen

> given how painful the process is to get the 3 year visa

What is so painful about that process?

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
131 posts
6 reviews
2. Re: Russian Visa- US Citizen

I think it is as painful as it is getting a US visa for Russians. There seems to be lots of documents they are asking for. I am just curious if I travel in July, can I get the visa now in February/March so I dont have the risk of running out of time.

Moscow, Russia
Level Contributor
12,514 posts
223 reviews
3. Re: Russian Visa- US Citizen

> I am just curious if I travel in July, can I get the visa now in February/March

I don't know. I only know that if I were curious about that I would ask ILS in New York to get a definitive answer straight from the horse's mouth.

Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
58 posts
345 reviews
4. Re: Russian Visa- US Citizen

Yes, you can. We are in the process, as well. I am using an travel agency out of Atlanta. They are very helpful and knowledgable when I call with any questions.

Totowa, New Jersey
Level Contributor
66 posts
122 reviews
5. Re: Russian Visa- US Citizen

Not painful at all. All you need is your application,invite,passport photo and money order.

I was in and out in 5 minutes.

Also I had my visa done in the first week of June for a September trip.

Richmond, Virginia
Level Contributor
21 posts
52 reviews
6. Re: Russian Visa- US Citizen

Good Luck getting ILS in NY on the phone, no luck for two days. :(. But there website really is great on laying things out. I just had a particular question, but no luck.

Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
58 posts
345 reviews
7. Re: Russian Visa- US Citizen

GOTORUSSIA out of Atlanta is so helpful and knowledgeable every time I call. If its during business hours and it goes to voicemail, they are on the phone with another customer. I just call back.

Plymouth, Minnesota
Destination Expert
for Moscow
Level Contributor
6,750 posts
4 reviews
8. Re: Russian Visa- US Citizen

Several things...first, almost ALL Cosnulate web sites, and related ILS, stare rather unequivocally that they do not accept applications for visas more than N days in advance. I think something like 45 days or,so, certainly not 4 months. In reality, I think a number of us have found this to not be true, especially on the off-hand chance one actually drops off one's app in person at an ILS office (their "official" agent, NOt to be confused with a private "visa" agency. When I have asked them point blank why this restriction, they have told me so they can ensure those who need visas by a certain date get them, and are not "crowded out" by folks applying ridiculously early (my choice of words!).

Having said that, while if you follow their stated earliest date, they are quite good at hitting their stated processing time, the concern is of course what happens if either you get something wrong in your application or paperwork, or, WAY less likely, they mess something up (spell your name wrong), then you do run the risk of cutting it short allowing for all the back and forth.

At the end of the day, if you are still worried, you have 3 options - try showing up in person, try mailing early (using overnight service, BUT be forewarned, when they returned mine, they sent it via regular US mail, so could be 3-4 days coming back), or, perhaps use a visa agency (NOT saying this is any guarantee as they do not have "special friends" at the Consulate - just saying they could at least pre-check and present all your stuff). The better ones do seem to provide some extra "service" in more rapidly advising you of any potential issues (missing paperwork).

Littleton, Colorado
Level Contributor
59 posts
5 reviews
9. Re: Russian Visa- US Citizen

I am in the same boat. I have contacted ILS in Houston two separate times. One told me it should be within 6 months and the I just called yesterday and she told me to go ahead and apply for our August trip.

Does any one have a company they recommend for the visa support letter. I saw the ones in the pinned thread, I just thought I'd see if anyone has had a recent experience. Also, all of these companies advertise for a single entry or double entry letter. What do we need as a US citizen applying for a 3 year visa?

England
Level Contributor
17 posts
31 reviews
10. Re: Russian Visa- US Citizen

Hi from across the pond. I have just completed our Tourist Visa application in the UK. We are now required in the UK to have our fingerprints taken as part of the process at the Visa Application centre. (The Russian Federation Embassy outsourced the Visa work to them)

So this meant visiting in person with all the documentation and having your prints taken on the same day. we paid £18.00+ extra for each visa application to be pre-checked. Money well spent in my opinion. They then send them to the Embassy for a decision.

I was very impressed at the professional service we experienced, both from the Russian Visa application centre and the Russian Federation Embassy. Within a week a decision was made and our passports returned + we could track them on line.

It may be worth while using an approved Russian Visa specialist agency to assist with the process as they will also likely assist in your registration in Russia, and as others have said, they are brilliant in responding to enquiries. I am sure you will have a fantastic time whilst you are in Russia.

Warm regards.