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DY, sorry, you are partly correct. Our first port of entry was to Moscow where we had booked the Hilton. Second stop was St. P where we had booked the Corinthian, not a Hilton.
Audited accounts was from the Visa agency, not a story or scaremongering.
Following is an extract from a reply from the Visa agency as to source of income.
“Question 13 need to be amended , according to your tourist conformation and tourist voucher.
QUESTION 14- if you are retired, then please answer that you are working at the moment and type it in retired ( I know, there is no logic for that L)
You should be able to amend or print your application following the link https://visa.kdmid.ru/RetrievePage.aspx“
Effectively I have been told to lie on a Visa application for Russia.
Not scaremongering, just reporting facts, with the exception that I omitted to accurately check the planned itinerary, which actually was port of entry Moscow, then local flight to St. P where I had named the wrong hotel.
Sorry if naming the wrong hotel offends you or is considered scaremongering.
My perception, which is a personal view, is that visiting Russia, other than as part of a cruise, is not worth the aggravation. I hope to be told that I am wrong, and that a Visa can be obtained on a 2 sided page A4 application without giving financial information.
Another point was that I was told to expect that my passport would be needed for 2-3 weeks at the Russian Visa department.9 Jun 2015
FF, it takes a lot more to offend me than to mistake one hotel for another. It just seemed highly exaggerated by stating they needed 3 years bank statements, for a tourist visa. I wonder why when I use VHS in Belgium, going to their Antwerp office, I was issued a three year multi entry visa within 4 working days? perhaps it is a reflection on how arduous the process is for Russians to obtain a UK visa, the Russian’s reciprocate against UK nationals? Not sure, but I have a number of examples of friends I have sent invitations to receiving their visas in a week to 10 days, even an American friend who applied for a single entry tourist visa, but received a one year multi entry tourist visa within 7 working days at the Russian consulate service provider in Geneva.
Russia is a fascinating country to visit, and St Petersburg is by all accounts the best city to spend time in. Well worth the hassle if you encounter one, but not everyone does for sure.9 Jun 2015
Hi DY. It was no exaggeration, they do ask for 3 years audited accounts and bank statements if you are self employed! That is why the agency girl said to state that I am retired, as I was over 60. I basically object to lying on a Visa application form, certainly if it is about me:-).
You are probably correct that it is the difference between a neutral Belgium and an “active” UK. I have 2 friends who had very similar situations to mine, and one took 3 visits to the Russian Embassy, and they held his passport for the duration. He is a Brit living in the UK who works for a German company and was unable to go to the office for 3 weeks. Yes, I know he could first get another UK passport then apply, but why should you have to do this just to visit a country and spend money?9 Jun 2015
Hi FF, it is really ridiculous that they require that. I am Dutch but have a home in Belgium and use the service of VHS in Belgium (they have an office in Brussels and Antwerp) and honestly it was a breeze for me. Of course I agree, such arcane behaviour and requirements makes one question is it worth visiting. But I have to say again, the UK requires two interviews, detailed financial information, family details, all docs of where they will stay, how they will pay, etc. process can take fro 3 to 6 weeks so any Russian wanting to spend their money in the UK could likewise be turned off. Probably why so many Russians flood into Turkey as no visa required by them, but you and I need one! ????9 Jun 2015
Hi DY, I am sure that you are correct that it is a little “retaliation” by Russia. The reality may be that there are more people wanting to leave Russia and stay in the UK than vice versa, but who knows.
I have checked back and it was a Visa company with similar letters, VFS, that were advising me how to complete the forms but I did become nervous. They told me to say that I was retired, and also that I did not need to mention visiting countries which did not have a physical Visa in the passport, so Australia and USA need not be mentioned! “You just enter your visa once (not the stamps which you have all the time when entering country ) If Australian and USA visa is not in your passport ( there is no stamp) then you don’t need to mention it.”
Frankly it just made me very nervous about the process when a Visa agency is telling you not to tell the truth on your application.
A visit to St. P is still on the bucket list, but probably as part of a cruise.9 Jun 2015
Dutchyankee: your description of the hoops mad May requires for russian visitors to the uk is totally correct – even worse, having arrived with a valid visa they are frequently pulled aside and held for extra questioning on arrival with the possibility of being sent back.
Visas are a pain in the neck and much more so now as computers & the web has enabled burocracies to make it even more complicated and give options for con artists to sell so called “visa services”. We regularly have such con-artist posting on this forum with their offers of fake passports, driving licences etc.
Russia is still worth visiting but my re-visit list of Syria/Afganinstan/Iraq is now a dead duck due to the treatment of their heritage in those countries by the ‘believers’9 Jun 2015
I think you’ve hit it on the head Dutch by saying it’s more difficult for UK nationals to obtain a Russian visa in retaliation for what the British put the Russians through. This applies not only to Russia but many other nations as well, S. Africa and India spring to mind here.9 Jun 2015
But they certainly put you through the ringer for India thats for sure….. I also didn’t think you did for South Africa, but someone nudged me on FB recently that some draconian visa measures have just been introduced there does anyone know anything about this??
Still makes me smile the places that people would least like to reside or retire to for any length of time still make it the most difficult for people to enter……and I still maintain having travelled to them all I would gladly pay to leave most of them!10 Jun 2015
The long form only applies to UK, US and Canadian applicants, Non-UK EU applicants only fill the short form. Stay in Russia must be supported by a hotel voucher for leisure travellers, an official invitation for business ones. Make sure not to overstay your visa; otherwise you will spend quality time in a windowless room at the airport and spend considerable amount of money to extend your visa and rebook your flights (which you missed because you were detained). Bon voyage!10 Jun 2015
Kenya: For a long-term visa I ws asked to list all countries I ever been to, the duration and the reason of my stay. And I was advised that if I had gone more than once to the same country I had to list every visit.
I gave them a print-out of 68 eight pages (each page showing 48 border crossings) because once a week I go from Germany to Luxembourg for petrol (around 25 % cheaper there). And anyone asking me the same kind of nonsense gets the same.10 Jun 2015
Just to go back to my original message, VFS did their job and posted my passport back to me without question or issue.
So while the form wasn’t the simplest to do, it seems the VFS process worked for me as they advertise it.10 Jun 2015
Sorry Simon, I was meaning that for South African and Indian nationals who wish to visit the UK, the obtaining of a visa can be a nightmare.
Interestingly there is a back door way into the UK that South Africans can use that does not require them having a UK visa so it makes the visa system a bit nonsensical.10 Jun 2015
Remarkably the least attractive countries to travel to (Russia, India, North Korea and the likes) make the biggest fuss about getting a visa…. They should be more thankful that somebody carries money into their handicapped economy.
Definitely revenge for their citizens having difficulty to get into other countries, revenge for economic sanctions / diplomatic problems, paired with the socialist ideology to control everybody! Additionally squeezing visa applicants is a good revenue source for poor and isolated governments.
Whenever I have to travel to Russia the inviting company has to take care of all visa-related work. A private trip to Russia is out of question for me: totally overpriced if you expect a certain standard, undeveloped infrastructure and – compared with other countries – people appearing more rude, materialistic and uneducated. Oh yes, plus a highly corrupt government headed by a well-known thief and criminal!11 Jun 2015