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Russian Visa Advice

(17 Posts)
happypoobum Sun 05-Feb-17 12:19:20

I am planning a trip to St.Petersburg.

I understand that I have to have a visa to enter Russia from the UK ( Am British) and I have no problems completing the forms etc.

However, I have a certain political profile (very left wing) and a Russian friend has advised me that my visa might be declined. Not sure if she is scaremongering.

I would book my trip using expedia or similar and I think I have to have booked a holiday to get the letter of invitation to apply for the visa. I am now worried about what would happen if I book my trip, apply for the visa and it is rejected. I wouldn't want to lose my money.

Does anyone have any words of advice?

CardinalSin Sun 05-Feb-17 18:20:07

I have been there a few times and never had a problem (admittedly, not for a few years now). Living in London I just turned up at the Consuate (early to get in the queue) and waited about inside until it was done.

I don't know if things have changed that much in the past few years. It's possible that you've been profiled if you've been extremely active and come to the attention of the authorities, but I think it's unlikely. If you're worried, make sure you can cancel your booking without penalties, but I've not heard of anyone being refused a visa (the other way is a different matter though!)

Caprianna Sun 05-Feb-17 18:29:06

I have also been to St Petersburg and the visa processing was very efficient. I am not sure what you mean by politcal profile. Have you been arrested or are you some sort of controversial political figure?

St Petersburg is amasing. I hope you make it theresmile

happypoobum Sun 05-Feb-17 18:31:27

Thanks Cardinal I have been refused a visa for a South American country for political reasons so I am a bit worried. In that case though I could apply for the visa before I booked anything so it wasn't a problem.

I am just worried about booking a nice holiday using expedia and then finding I can't go. I think they are mostly non refundable. I just want to look at the beautiful buildings and wander around the Hermitage!!

I have looked into accessing the city from a cruise ship as a friend who would certainly not be allowed in did it that way through necessity, but I really want to spend a few days.

I may have to see whether I can book refundable flights and hotel though which is a PITA.

peasandquiet Sun 05-Feb-17 18:32:41

Visa process is ok, an online form which need a special invitation letter so you need to have a firm booking to get that from your hotel. The form is tricky, we had to re-do part while we were there, along with the rest of the queue tbh. worst part was visa cost £100 a person even for a 1 year old.

happypoobum Sun 05-Feb-17 18:35:29

Sorry x post Caprianna I have never been arrested, no. Trying not to out myself, but it is possible I would be considered a shit stirring threat in Russia.

A quick google of my name would bring up a fair bit of info about my work and my views ( not social media which is all very private)

I really do want to go and see how amazing it is. I have read a lot of Russian literature and want to pretend I am in a Dostoyevsky novel grin

Caprianna Sun 05-Feb-17 18:39:08

Then I would recomment you book yourself a table in The Idiot restaurant when you get theresmile

happypoobum Sun 05-Feb-17 18:40:23

I have read that!!!! Loved it!!

Oh I really want to go!!!!

YouSpinmeRound Sun 05-Feb-17 20:02:35

And I would recommend a walking tour of the city, off the beaten track....

Frazzled2207 Sun 05-Feb-17 20:08:49

My parents got a visa recently for SP no problem at all.
Why don't you just get the visa now THEN book the flights/hotel? Or does it have to be the other way round?

happypoobum Sun 05-Feb-17 20:14:36

You have to have the accommodation booked first Frazzled. I will have to look into it more I think but am really keen to go. It's difficult to explain without outing myself, but there is a chance they will refuse me.

YouSpinmeRound Sun 05-Feb-17 20:16:29

I haven't heard of many tourist visa refusals apart from missing info on the docs. You could mitigate losses by taking out "cancel for any reason" travel insurance. You need to get quotes for that to see if it is worth it

Kebabrador Sun 05-Feb-17 20:36:16

We paid a little bit (can't remember the exact amount, but not that much) to get our visas through We booked our flights and accommodation in Moscow and St Petersburg ourselves (I think after we had our visas) and Real Russia provided the letter of invitation. Our hotel then validated the visa when we got there.

We went 4 years ago so I'm not sure how much they charge now or whether this is suitable for you, but worth a look! I hope you get there, it's an amazing place.

PinkShampagney Thu 16-Feb-17 00:20:08

Maybe try

They deal with a lot of business visas so will have come across your problem before I'd guess. Worth a try.

babybarrister Wed 22-Feb-17 21:03:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Noofly Thu 23-Feb-17 09:15:22

Book somewhere that is refundable and pay for an agency to issue your invitation. That way you have an accommodation booking for the visa form but you can cancel it if the visa is rejected and cancel it if there's a non refundable place you'd rather stay in. You then use the agency invitation regardless.

Noofly Thu 23-Feb-17 09:17:55

Argh, pressed post too soon. Meant to say, similar to what Kebabrador says but now you do need to have accommodation booked as well to get your visa. It's an online form and won't let you leave that part blank.

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