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Another Visa Question

Ohio
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Another Visa Question

Russian embassies and consulates I have found online require that I send them my passport for processing of the Visa. Tracelrussia.com requires either the passport or a copy of the passport. I am hesitant to put my passport in the mail. Has anyone had their visa processed by submitting a copy ? I also have found different charges for the visa. What can I expect to pay for one ?

Moscow
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1. Re: Another Visa Question

Official Russian visa charge for USA citizen is equal for USA visa charge for Russian citizen and it's $130. To get visa into your passport you must provide this same passport in original, no border control will be satisfied with copy.

Baltimore, Maryland
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2. Re: Another Visa Question

Actually, the base charge is now 140- more if you want expedited service. You can't have the visa processed with a copy as the visa itself is a sticker placed in a page in your passport. I know the consulates in Washington DC and NYC do not accept mailed in applications anymore. If you are not close to a consulate to apply on your own you will probably have to use a service which will include processing fees on top of the visa base price.

Santa Cruz...
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3. Re: Another Visa Question

We used a service, and I, too, was hesitant to mail our passports off. I sent them by express mail (plus whatever the post office recommended....certified? or ?

They were returned with the visa pasted inside.

Be sure to allow enough time. It took about a month.

Plymouth, Minnesota
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for Moscow
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4. Re: Another Visa Question

Whatever you do, as others suggest, make sure you use the most SECURE method since it is your only original passport...either USPS Express OR FedEx...any one that requires careful tracking/scanning!

I am a bit surprised it took a month to get your visa back. Most visa services will get this done in 2 weeks...including the "underlying" 6 business days the Russian Consulate requires (unless you do rush)...but better safe than sorry when planning if you want to leave a month...

BTW...as Blumagoo writes, base fee thru-out US from Russian Consulate is now $140 for the "6 biz day" option, then visa processing firms will usually tack on $50-??? on top of this...

Cincinnati, Ohio
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5. Re: Another Visa Question

With the expeditors fees, I believe it now will cost almost $200 for each visa itself plus the expeditors' aid. I believe I paid $170 four years ago for my land trip visit, and yes, you have to send in your original passport. It was almost four weeks before it was returned to me with the precious visa pasted in to cover one of the passport pages completely.

For our cruise ship visit, adding not all that much more in monetary outlay and I get two days of private touring, lunches, transportation and admissions! It is very frustrating for one who much prefers independent travel.

St Petersburg Russia
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for St. Petersburg
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6. Re: Another Visa Question

The original passport is required to be delivered to the consulate, so you might have misunderstood the Tracerussia.com instructions, or misunderstood what you were ordering. I sounds more like the visa support documents than visa processing.

The consulates are quite reliable to deal with, when they say 6 or 7 days, it is ready on the morning of the 6-7th day that your receipt says. Actually it is ready on the same day it is dropped off from my experience. The expedite charge is simply for releasing it to you on an earlier date. One time my plans changed and I dropped by the San Francisco consulate to as if it was possible to pay the extra fee so my application package that I dropped off the day before, could be gotten earlier. The answer was "when do you want it?" I replied as soon as I can get it and the visa desk official told me the price, I agreed and prepared check(it was a business visa so company checks were accepted) and he disappeared from the window for 15 seconds and returned with my passport and new visa inside. Since that time, I tried it in Finland and also was able to get it earlier.

Visa agencies are pretty low on my favorites list, since being burned and seen many visitors here get burned or conned and pay much more for their visa's than normal. For example visa services charge for each tourist invitation for an entire family when the normal process is to join all names of relatives traveling together onto one visa support document( which is often free from their hotel anyway). Another trick often done by visa services is to call with urgent news that the processing is delayed and th only way to get the visa processed in time is to pay an extra $200-450 per visa to the "consulate" when it was actually just goes to the visa service to pocket.

The other scam is that they are selling a visa support document that is accepted by the consulate but not by Russian Immigration because its not within the bounds of immigration law. I got caught on that when getting a support document from TraVisa, a national visa service company with offices all over the US. I spent weeks and thousands of dollars on hearings, lawyers and fines trying to resolve the problem. Most tourists do not have weeks to devote to dealing with Russian law so it will ruin their vacation. TraVisa refused to talk to me about what their scheme got me into. Another one on ,my black list is GoToRussia.com for their unprofessional and endangering actions.

It is best to do it the legal way, the only people who can provide a legal visa support is your hotel or Russian tour operator...not your US based travel agent. No one else is authorized to provide it.

If you know someone in a city with a consulate, send them your completed application and have them drop it off and pick up the passport with visa inside in a week. That is most sure and cheapest way.

Baltimore, Maryland
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7. Re: Another Visa Question

Interesting. I encountered a man at the Russian consulate in DC who also had a huge problem getting a business visa though TraVisa but it didn't have to do with his support documents. Also, there was a man with a handful of yellow redemption slips from some agency advertising that he could overcome any hurdle and get anyone a visa. He seemed to know the people behind the counter quite well. Whatever the case, I would not be intimidated by trying it on your own if you can make it to a consulate or know someone who can do it on your behalf (especially with a single entry tourist visa). Just be sure to read the directions carefully and call the consulate if you have any questions.

Sydney, Australia
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8. Re: Another Visa Question

Does anyone have any experience with arriving a hour or two prior to entering Russia e.g. if arriving via a transfer flight from Moscow the day before the visa officially commences? A flight which arrives at 23:55 for example, versus a flight that arrives at 21:50? Officially the visa commences at 0:00 the next day. By the time one collects luggage etc it would be okay for the 23:55 arrival, but what about the earlier one?

St Petersburg Russia
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9. Re: Another Visa Question

Passport control is before customs and luggage claim so you will have to wait in the arrival hall before going through passport control.

New York
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10. Re: Another Visa Question

There was a post here some time ago from someone who was denied boarding because his flight was arriving in Moscow shortly before midnight and his visa validity was starting the following day. They seem to take visa validity dates very strictly - don't risk it.