Monday, December 3, 2012

How To Apply For A Russia Tourist Visa In The Philippines

Between you my fellow Pinoy backpacker and fulfilling that Trans-Siberian dream is a Russia tourist visa on a fierce stance with a heart attack-inducing price tag. You think of raising the white flag without even putting up a fight, but deep down you know those images of rustic Siberian houses hugging the Trans-Siberian railway will continue to haunt you if you don't give it a try.

Victory ain't far-fetched if you got the right ammunition. And in this case, you actually don't need a lot.


Russia tourist visa application requirements:

1. Original passport (and a photocopy of the bio-data page on A4 paper), valid for at least six months. Must also have at least two blank pages. 
2. Filled out visa application form (printed on A4 paper), two copies.
3. Two passport size photos (with white background).
4. Tourist visa invitation.

This may be the shortest list of visa requirements I've encountered to date, but it demanded a great deal of planning... Which by the way I now have a profound repugnance for.

The first three are clearly no sweat items. The last one, however, can test your patience. But hey, at least patience is easier to work on than say, a hundred-thousand peso average daily balance in your bank account (*cough*China visa*cough*).

View Larger Map. Embassy of Russian Federation

Visitors joining a group tour just hafta sit pretty since the visa processing is included in the package. For indie backpackers, the Russia tourist visa invitation can be obtained through an accredited travel agency in the Philippines. And this means you pay not only for the visa fee but also for the agency's legwork.

Now if you got heaps of time in your hands and not a lot of dibs in your pocket, one way to get around this is to book a hotel in Russia (that provides a tourist visa invitation) yourself. Keep in mind that the travel period indicated on the visa invitation is the exact date range that will be marked on your visa. The hotel will charge you for the service, but it should be cheaper than a travel agency's fee. Whether or not you push on with the booking or cancel it once your visa's approved, that's up to your fickle mind and anorexic wallet.

The Embassy of Russian Federation accepts applications Monday, Wednesday and Friday. 9:00 AM to 12:00 noon. Processing takes 4-10 days and the fee depends on how soon you need it. I paid more than $200 for mine to be granted in two days.

Six hours of waiting on application day and this teeny trooper's still smiling. Sort of.
You see, because of a typhoon that turned Metro Manila into waterworld, we failed to apply at an earlier date. We went to the embassy Monday morning at around quarter to nine. Accommodated and assisted by the lone guard. We were number eight on the list. All of those that came before us are agency reps.

The Russian consul arrived at eleven. Our turn came past one in the afternoon, the hubby represented all of us. He explained our predicament. To our awe, the consul advised us to come back on Wednesday so he could endorse us to their other office in Dasmarinas Village where the visa processing actually takes place (they used to entertain applicants here too until the opening of the satellite office).

Once approved, standard protocol requires applicants to come back and claim their passports from 11:00 AM to 12 noon on the consul's specified date. And payment should have been made via UCPB bank deposit. Present the deposit slip to the consul upon claiming.

The Embassy of Russian Federation 
RCI Building, 4th floor
Room 402
105 Rada Street
Legazpi Village, Makati City

How to get there: Nearest bus stops along Ayala Ave. are in front Makati Stock Exchange Building and across Insular Life.


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Lehboy said...
December 3, 2012 at 3:30 PM

Had a similar experience around year ago, they're only open monday-wednesday-friday and those are the only days they count as processing so it took us close to a month just to get the visa

Anonymous said...
December 3, 2012 at 7:44 PM

wow, super galing nito. no need for financial documents etc. may ma-suggest ka na hotel/hostels?thanks for sharing! more power always. God bless! ;)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
December 3, 2012 at 10:31 PM

I love gulay too :) Anyhoo, will check my notes back in Pinas. We're currently overseas. Can't remember cause we didn't really stay there.

Micamyx|Senyorita said...
December 4, 2012 at 2:34 AM

I remember nung kwinento mo 'to nung despedida hehe :D Russia is not included in my dream destinations (yet), but I have a feeling I'll go there rin soon hehe. Oh, Luna's kulit photo made me click the link :D I miss you and Luna girl na :)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
December 4, 2012 at 2:39 AM

Go, Mica! It's a taste of Europe without the bitterness of applying for a Schengen visa.

Anonymous said...
December 4, 2012 at 12:18 PM

wow.mukhang hassle free.

The Nomadic Pinoy said...
December 4, 2012 at 8:24 PM

Russia (and it's former comrades the Stans) are notorious for this letter of invitation - which takes time.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
December 4, 2012 at 8:37 PM

Aww, would love to see the Stans too.

Escape Manila said...
December 4, 2012 at 9:27 PM

Very informative Gay. I would lve to go to Harbin in China then to Vladivostok in Russia. Hopefully within 5yrs from now. :)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
December 5, 2012 at 9:24 AM

Oh I'd love to see Harbin too!

Anciro said...
December 5, 2012 at 3:17 PM

napansin ko talaga ang cute ng baby mo..

Anonymous said...
December 5, 2012 at 5:37 PM

You can get tourist visa invitation as well in :-) Can't wait for your Russia post! :D

Leah | Travel Quest said...
December 9, 2012 at 10:40 AM

Interesting thanks for sharing this :) btw nice blog!

nik rielo said...
December 9, 2012 at 11:57 PM

thanks for this one. seems easy ha. sana nga. getting ready here for a trans-siberian experience :)

SunnyToast said...
December 11, 2012 at 6:10 AM

cant wait for your russia post:)

Traveling Morion said...
December 11, 2012 at 1:17 PM

helpful and detailed. Russia post SOON @ pinaytravel junkie's blog- aabangan ko yan :)

The Sunset Goddess said...
December 13, 2012 at 3:34 PM

Hi sexy Gay!! Does Chinese visa really require P100k ADB? I thought it was just P50K per person? And please do share about your recommended hotels in Russia ;) Thanks!!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
December 14, 2012 at 11:51 PM

It used to be just 50k, now it's P100k ADB for the past 6 months. I'll look for the name of the hostel we stayed in Moscow. Can't remember, argh!

Eleyn said...
December 21, 2012 at 7:01 AM

Thanks a lot for the tip! It haven't crossed my mind to travel to Russia until I read your blog post. :)

soloflightEd said...
December 22, 2012 at 1:50 AM

Andami mo nang "How to Apply for Visa" posts gayE! aside from being handy, ayos na ayos para madaming unique visits! gawa ka na ng niche blog! Sana matuloy yung visa ko for next year. :)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
December 22, 2012 at 4:22 PM

Ed, haha! Visa application website?

Anne Antonio said...
July 26, 2013 at 1:19 AM

Hi! Russia Tourist Visa is the only thing needed for the trans siberian railway? planning on doing this.. any suggestions or steps on what to do? said...
July 26, 2013 at 7:27 AM

Which stations of the Trans Siberian or getting on/off?

Anne Antonio said...
July 26, 2013 at 8:40 AM

End to end, beijing to moscow.. said...
July 26, 2013 at 9:05 AM

The main route (end to end) of Trans-Siberian is from Vladivostok to Moscow. Beijing-Ulaanbaatar is the Trans Mongolian. As far as I know. said...
July 26, 2013 at 9:05 AM

And if you're coming from China, of course that means a Chinese visa :)

AJ Poliquit said...
September 19, 2013 at 12:40 AM

Ugh, I hate invitation letters. So backpacker unfriendly. Planning a Harbin-Vladivostok adventure, but I think I'll cut the Vladivostok leg. Vladi hell that visa. :( said...
September 19, 2013 at 8:39 AM

Haha! Yeah! VLADI HELL!

Joel Recto said...
October 15, 2013 at 12:29 PM

What travel agency did you use? if none, what did you do?

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