We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Obtaining a Visitor's Visa to Russia

Brisbane
1 post
1 review
Save Topic
Obtaining a Visitor's Visa to Russia

Hi, a friend and I are doing a fleeting visit to north-west Europe. We arrive in Helsinki this Sat 13 August and plan to leave on the Tuesday to make our way up to St Petersburg. We know it's a short period of time but work is not as flexible! I have been told that it is possible to get a visa to visit Russia on the train from Finland. Is this true? If no, can anyone advise the fastest, easiest way to obtain one. There are a number of websites but unsure of how legit they are.

Many thanks!

Chloe

Mentioned in this post
Europe
Europe
World
Helsinki
Helsinki
Uusimaa, Finland
St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg
Northwestern District, Russia
Russia
Russia
Europe
Finland
Finland
Europe
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
3,304 posts
11 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Obtaining a Visitor's Visa to Russia

Dear me no! The on-board services are immigration and customs - for both Finland and Russia. The Russian immigration official will expect that you already have a visa inserted in your passport. If you are Australian (your ID says "Brisbane") then based on our recent experience - we got our visas in May 2011 - you will have needed to apply for the visas from Australia. (Might be wrong about the location, but your passports will need to be sent away to have the visas inserted - as I understand it, to your country of origin.) As you live in Brisbane you will be expected to apply through the consulate in Sydney - NOT the Russian Embassy in Canberra (which only handles diplomatic applications so I was told). Be sure to use the Australian Russia Embassy site in checking all this out. Practices differ from country to country.

Although we were independent travellers, we found the process was clarified by working through a travel agent. We used Diploma Travel who charged a very reasonable fee to ensure that our application was properly completed and to handle the transmission of our passports to the Sydney consulate, via a local agency who seem to consolidate applications from Brisbane.

Now there will be some who say you can do it all directly yourself - but I wouldn't. Call me a wimp, but it seemed hassle enough to get the form filled correctly - with the promise that any errors would see the application returned with the application fee forfeit. Not to mention the delay effect.

You can make a visa free visit to St Petersburg - as you might have read from other posts on the SPB forum - by using the ferry from Helsinki to SPB. But that doesn't leave every day - I can't help with the details - and there is a three day limit to the visit, I understand. Also the cruise ships make similar visa free stops, but that doesn't sound like you.

The last thing I would do is just board the Allegro and hope - and it is probably easy to do because there are no immigration or passport checks before you board, with helpful officials to ask you where your Russian tourist visa is. Although you might, hopefully, get pulled up when you go to buy the tickets at the station. The Russian officials are efficient and thorough - just not as friendly as their Finnish counterparts. I would not rellish being found on the train without all my papers in order. Check carefully before you go further - even with a local tourist agent, wherever you are, or one in Helskinki. Even ask the Finnish Rail people.

Great idea to visit SPB - we loved it - but don't muck it up for yourself by hoping to smile your way through.

Mentioned in this post
Finland
Finland
Europe
Russia
Russia
Europe
St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg
Northwestern District, Russia
SPB Tours
SPB Tours
4,181 Reviews
St. Petersburg, Russia
Helsinki
Helsinki
Uusimaa, Finland
St Petersburg Russia
Destination Expert
for St. Petersburg
Level Contributor
2,713 posts
26 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Obtaining a Visitor's Visa to Russia

GoingAroundAgain has it right...except that it IS easy to apply for a visa since a very simple 1 page form has been used for most countries.

You can't get a visa at the border, but also as mentioned, you can book an inexpensive ferry trip that does not cost much more than the train for two people since the ferry is charged by the cabin. That would get you up to 72 hours in St Petersburg without a visa.

There is no other way.

Mentioned in this post
St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg
Northwestern District, Russia
3. Re: Obtaining a Visitor's Visa to Russia

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 07 October 2012, 11:20