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Schaible: Certainly Russia, India and some other places (Nigeria) can be unpleasant to visit if you have been featherbedded throughout your travels by vast corporate expenditures and not learnt to cope on your own!
One’s prejudice about political systems can also impact but for me both India & Russia have much to see, are easy to negociate and are well worth visiting. Places like Saudi Arabia you can keep – what might be interesting you cannot visit as a non-believer – indeed you cannot even enter the country with pretending to believe in an almighty fairy! Then there are the delights of the public floggings of rape victims! Certainly Russia & India are to be preferred.11 Jun 2015
I apply for a multi entry visa to Russia every year, and it is not a difficult process in reality, and a lot simpler than for Russian colleagues visiting the UK.
Re the list of countries, don’t worry if you forget any, I am sure that I have a different list every year! I end up writing down the last 10 visited countries, if I recall them correctly.
VFS will check and process your application, although, if you are in Edinburgh, don’t expect a welcome or a smile or any thanks for your business.11 Jun 2015
Thanks everyone for the lively and informative feed-back!
I find out now that I need to be in Asia for the next couple of weeks so will skip St. Pete for now.
However, I probably would have “toughed” out the visa process and gone ahead to Russia all things considered.
-Rave11 Jun 2015
Hi Rave, Hope you will have a chance to visit Russia soon. The visa procedure is a bit of a hassle, but pretty efficient. If you don’t fancy doing it yourself, or are miles away from London, then several agencies like Real Russia or Russia House will do a good job for you at reasonable cost. Biggest downside is having to go to London or Edinburgh to do the biometrics. I get an annual multi-entry business visa which is fantastic as it provides the flexibility to come and go at will and at short notice. Try visiting some more rural parts of Russia too, where folks are often a lot friendlier than in Moscow.11 Jun 2015
The shady Dubai based organisation to which several countries (Russia, India and the UK amongst others) have outsourced their visa processing services has come in for some well-deserved bad publicity. Apart from what is mentioned in these articles, I would have some concerns about the integrity of their data security.
Probably a reason not to go to Russia – I had been toying with a trip to St Petersburg later this year but there are other places which I can visit with less aggravation, and where I’d rather spend my time and money.
Not much we can do about it, in most cases they have a captive audience.
Last time I applied for an Indian visa, I went into the consulate next to where I was working at the time, left my passport, and got the visa next day. Having had dinner the day before with Mr. Consul would have helped, he was being transferred to Pretoria and I shared a lot of information with him. A most delightful gentleman.20 Aug 2019
Given the visa issues one wonders if Wizzair will have more success than did LCCs Easyjet and Pobeda (whose STN service ceased after six months on the St Petersburg route).20 Aug 2019
A Swiss friend who travels regularly to Russia just told me his new multiple entry visa took 72 hours to obtain from the Russian Embassy in Berne.
Fine, but I was recently thinking of visiting St Petersburg with a friend as a personal trip to celebrate a milestone.
After a quick online search to see what the Visa requirements were, we decide to go elsewhere (without a visa cost/requirement).
“You pays yer money, and takes your choice” !21 Aug 2019
Heading off to Russia in a few days. Acquiring the visa in London was one of the most painless (if expensive) visa application processes ever.
Dropped passport off in a 15 minute in and out experience on a Monday afternoon, delivered to my home on Thursday morning.
The only “intetesting” set of questions on the online application is of relevance to firstly ex-military types as they ask if you have served in any military organizations and if so what conflict zones have you served in, and secondly to all social media devotees they ask for details of all such accounts. The other challenging request was to detail all countries visited in the previous 10 years with dates.21 Aug 2019
In fairness, much of the daft information requested by the Russian Embassy is simply tit-for-tat after the UK significntly increased the number of questions which they ask visa applicants to answer a few years’ back. If you can be bothered, take a look at the British visa form and you’ll see that the Russians have largely cut ‘n’ pasted from it.
On the subject of cost, my (Russian) wife’s 5 year British visa came to well over a thousand quid, just so we can pop back to the UK a few times a year to visit family (we live in Moscow).
My advice to those who haven’t been to Russia before is to either ignore everything you’ve ever seen/read in the international media, or to believe the opposite. Most people’s reaction upon arrival is something along the lines of “Oh wow, it’s normal – I never thought it would be like this”.
Russia certainly doesn’t go out of its way to attract foreigners into the country but those who do make the effort are typically rewarded. I wouldn’t live & work anywhere else.22 Aug 2019
The above is certainly true and I was pleasantly surprised on my last trip to MOW in about 2005 to find how much freer and safer it felt since my previous visits during the Soviet era. I found people quite helpful once you engaged with them.
I would quite like to go back but honestly can’t be bothered with the visa rigmarole. In fairness, I try to avoid any country that needs a visa since I don’t like being without a passport, since I now only have one.22 Aug 2019
I think we are all pretty wise but the following may be helpful :
Exclusive: How ‘scam’ websites are adding 500 per cent to the cost of tourist visas
I certainly don’t have a problem with paying a fee for a value added service, but some of these agencies are just adding more cost at no benefit, and possibly even making the process more complex. I read somewhere not long ago (I forget where) about someone who applied for a visa through a third party, who made a mistake on the application which was treated as a false declaration, and as a result they had to jump through endless hoops and hurdles to have their record cleaned and get a visa.
The best way to find the official site is go via the “entry requirements” section of the country’s page on the Foreign Office website.
1 user thanked author for this post.28 Jan 2020
Happy to say that the Russians have eased visa requirements for parts of their country. My St Petersburg visa was applied for online, cost nothing and needed no supporting paperwork. Delivered in 2 days. Valid for a maximum 8 day stay, including the days of arrival and departure, which is good enough for a short break.31 Jan 2020
Happy to say that the Russians have eased visa requirements for parts of their country. My St Petersburg visa was applied for online, cost nothing and needed no supporting paperwork. Delivered in 2 days. Valid for a maximum 8 day stay, including the days of arrival and departure, which is good enough for a short break.
Does this also apply for British passport holders? I know Swiss can use this facility but I believe you can only enter via certain entry points.
I’d love to go by train from Helsinki and then fly back to Switzerland.4 Feb 2020
My wife and I gave up our planned visit to Moscow as a result of the visa process, particularly trying to remember everywhere we had been in the previous ten years. It turned out to be a blessing as we went to Berlin instead and my wife ended up in hospital there!4 Feb 2020