Do you need a Visa to travel to Russia?

Feb 9th, 2001, 07:43 AM
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Do you need a Visa to travel to Russia?

A friend of mine wants to visit Russia in a month. Will this be easy for her to do? Does she need a visa? Any recommendation, suggestions, etc, would be greatly appreciated!

Feb 9th, 2001, 07:57 AM
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A few instructions and lessons learned after getting our Russian Visas. We were on a cruise ship so all of this info may not apply to you or your friend.
First- Do you need one? If you only do the organized tours, you will not need a visa. However, if you want to wander off by yourself to shop or sight see, then you will need a visa. If you want to get off the ship or you are not in an organized tour you will need a visa.
Second-How do you get one? It is a little confusing but relatively easy. The Visa agencies that the cruise line directed me to all wanted about $80 per person to do the application plus the cost of the application $65-75. They told me it was difficult and time consuming and tried to scare me off, but it was relatively easy. All you need are five documents
1) Visa Application- get this off the Rusian embassy web site and keep one to use to check the information on the final visa (it is in Russian, but translation is easy with the copy). Make copies in case.
2) Copy of the passport pages with important info (cut to size ) follow instructions on Visa info sheet about placement of pictures and staples.
3) Three pictures
4) Letter from the travel agency IN RUSSIA with REFERENCE NUMBER.
This was the hardest document to obtain because numerous phone calls to our cruise line NCL, got just as many different answers (I even talked to managers). You need to call the cruise line and demand to talk to the cruise excursion desk. They will know exactly what you mean when you ask for a letter from the travel agency in Russia. They can fax a copy of the letter from the Russian travel agency that is handling the ship. It will also have on it a code number that you have to put in the 7th line of the application form.
5) A letter from the Travel agent (if you booked through an agent)
with the information about group, dates etc. (see Visa Info sheet).

Finally, they were very prompt. One week service was 1 week. We could have saved money and used the two week service, but I was scared by the visa agencies that I had called (names given by NCL during the numerous phone calls of misinformation). We dropped our visa applications off at the embassy in DC and picked them up a week later. You can call the consulate to find out if they will handle mail, etc., and allow plenty of time.

Feb 9th, 2001, 08:28 AM
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Thanks so much I will pass on the info!

Feb 9th, 2001, 10:30 AM
Marc David Miller
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You can look at the web site of the Russian consulates in the United States at

for current information.
Feb 9th, 2001, 10:47 AM
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Leo - we are taking a cruise Aug 2001 like yours although a different line. Did your Doctor or official at the embassy recommend getting any vacine shots? such as Hep. B?
Feb 9th, 2001, 05:49 PM
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and search this forum for even more info.
Feb 9th, 2001, 08:09 PM
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If your friend is from the US, a visa is required. Although there are agencies that will do this for a fee, she can send a legal size SAS envelope with a request for a visa "request" form from her nearest Russian consulate in the US (she must get an original visa form, copies are not accepted). Once she receives and completes the form, send it back to the consulate along with her valid passport and a check to cover the appropriate fee. The cost will depend on how quickly she wants the visa processed. She will then receive back her passport with visa thru the mail. The Russian embassy will have info on the costs and processing times.

If she's working with a travel agent and planning to stay in hotels, then the travel agent should have no problem getting her the visa. Hotels automatically register a visitor with the local OVIR office, otherwise she will have to take the time to go to the OVIR office and get herself registered as a visitor.
Feb 14th, 2001, 10:36 AM
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To the top for Kristi.

Sorry MHS, I just saw the question about shots. We didn't get any thing special, but ask your DR.

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