This seemed like a massive effort! However, if you know where to go and what to do it isn’t too bad. Pay a little more and you can get a tourist company to do a lot of the leg work for you… OR follow these simple steps (if you’re a British citizen… might be different elsewhere):
- Get your tourist invite / voucher
You need one of these in order to fill out your VISA form so do this first.
I used this website which was really straight forward and cost £11.05.
You need to have booked your accommodation and confirmed your trip dates as the details are required to fill out the form.
- Visa application form
I used VFS Global – click here to fill out your form.
Details you’ll need:
– Tourist voucher
– National insurance
– Accommodation details
– Your Russia trip dates
– 10 years of trip history
(I got worried about not providing all info so included as much detail as I could on a separate sheet – I think as long as you cover all stamps in your passport, you’ll be okay!)
– Old passports
(I don’t have any old passports so on a separate sheet wrote a letter to confirm why I didn’t include old passport details on my application – if you have any questions, VFS global are very helpful)
– General info about yourself (parents, address, work, social media, medical, are you a terrorist? etc.)
- Have a recent passport photo ready
- Your passport
If you don’t get an express service, you’re going to need to sacrifice your passport for about a month (20 working days) so make sure you plan this time ahead of the trip.
- Going to the Visa application centre
There are a few VFS application centres (London, Manchester, Edinburgh). You have to go and apply in person but can pay to get your passport delivered back to you if it’s inconvenient for you to pick up.
Normal application (20 working days)- £101.40 (inc. admin fee)
Express application (3 working days) – £170.60 (inc. admin fee)
My friends got the express – applied on the Monday and received their passport in the post on the Thursday!
Whilst the process isn’t exactly straightforward, hopefully this guide will make it slightly easier.