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How I got Russian Tourist Visa in India

by VV
Russian tourist visa
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I got my Russian Tourist Visa in less than 60 minutes. That too without the help of a travel agent. Many of you will be surprised to know this but yes, getting a Russian tourist visa was a cake walk for me. In this article, I will am sharing my experience of getting the Russian tourist visa.

How to get Russian Tourist Visa

  1. Create a rough travel itinerary
  2. Book hotels and Air tickets
  3. Get invitation letter from a Russian travel agency
  4. Fill online visa application form
  5. Submit visa application with invitation letter and other documents at visa office
  6. Collect visa after 3 days

STEP 1

Gather information from authorised source

I called the Russian embassy in Delhi to know the process of getting a tourist visa (Russian Embassy’s contact number and address are shared below). They told me to call their authorized travel agencies for a smooth visa processing experience. In the name of providing facilities to the applicants, these agencies charge a ‘service charge’ over the normal visa fee. For example, in August 2017 the Russian tourist visa fees were Rs. 1300 and the service charged by IFS was Rs. 1,180.

I called IFS in Delhi and Kolkata to know the process. They answered my queries patiently. This helped me to get a general understanding of the whole process. In the meanwhile, I came to know that applicants can directly approach the Consulates to apply for the visa. This way I could save the extra amount being charged by the private agencies like IFS and Salvia. I also wanted to have a direct experience with the Russian government officials. However, you can approach the private agencies if you want. Having said this, I would NOT recommend approaching other travel agents (who are not authorized by Russian Embassy/Consulate) who will charge their commission or may even mislead you.

STEP 2

Prepare a rough Itinerary and do bookings

I prepared a rough itinerary and booked hostels accordingly through ‘Booking.com’. I prefer this website for hotel bookings because you don’t have to pay at the time of booking. Also, some of their hotels/hostels offer the facility of zero cancellation charges. This means, if in case I am not able to stay in the booked hotels, I can cancel them without getting charged. This gives me the flexibility of changing my itinerary even after getting the visa. This is the best part of booking.com and that’s why I love it.

I also booked flight tickets, as they are also asked at the time of submitting the application.  I used skyscanner.com to get the cheap tickets.


STEP 3

Get Invitation letter from Russian travel agency

After getting the information from the authorised sources I came to know every applicant has to submit an Invitation letter from a travel agency based in Russia. This was something new to me. Till now the countries which I have travelled had just ask the passport and other personal documents supporting my identity, address and income proofs. Also, the Russian agencies should be authorised to issue an invitation letter. After an extensive research, I got the invitation letter emailed from Russia. Based on my experience, I have written this article – “How to get Invitation letter for Russian Tourist visa“. You’ll be asked to send confirmed hotel bookings to the Russian travel agency providing you the invitation letter.



STEP 4

Fill up the online application form

http://kolkata.kdmid.ru/queue-en/To get the Russian visa you have to visit their official website – visa.kdmid.ru . Follow the online process and take the print out of the duly filled up application form.  You’ll be asked to choose the visa application centre before submitting the online application form. So choose the center before you start the process. My nearest city was Kolkata and I had two options to choose. The Russian Consulate and the authorised travel agency called IFS.

 

STEP 5

Submit the visa application. Russian Embassy or Travel Agency!

I directly approached the Russian Consulate in Kolkata. Before that, I had to take an online appointment. Click here to get the online appointment. I got an appointment of 10 AM. I reached there 15 minutes before that. There is no parking space nearby the consulate, so be prepared for this. At sharp 10 AM, the guard allowed me to enter the office. A lady asked me to show the documents (List is mentioned below). She was only interested to see the Invitation letter, Application form, flight tickets and the Passport.  However, I carried all the documents mentioned below and would advise you to do so. They may ask to produce any one of those documents. After she found the documents ‘all correct’ she asked me to pay fees. I was given 2 options. Either pay Rs 1,300 and collect the visa after 3 days or pay Rs 2,600 to get it on that day. By now the time was 10:15 am. I paid her Rs. 2,600 to get it on the same day. After about 30-40 minutes she appeared with my passport and the fee receipt. I was really astonished by the speed and the professionalism in their work. I was so happy to see the Russian visa in my passport. Just like Shengen visa they also paste it on a full page of the passport.

I would like to add, accepting of the visa application by the authorized agencies does not guarantee visa approval. The decision to grant or refuse a visa remains at the sole discretion of the Russian consular office. This means your request for the visa can also be turned down by the Russian consular office if the application or documents are not proper. Also, the consular offices reserve the right to extend visa processing time in certain cases. The fees paid to the authorized agency or consulate is non-refundable, even if your visa application is rejected.

russian visa fees

Russian tourist visa fee chart

 

Invitation letter from Russian travel agency

While planning my first trip to Russia I came to know that in order to apply for a Russian tourist visa, Indian citizens are supposed to procure an invitation/confirmation letter from a travel agency based in Russia & registered in the Unified Federal Register of Tour Operators (under a reference number). Very few nationals are exempted from this condition. To know how to get the Invitation letter from a Russian travel agency, read my article – How to get an Invitation letter for Russian Tourist Visa.

Documents needed for Russian Tourist Visa

  1. Tourist Invitation letter
  2. Passport in original
  3. Copy of passport
  4. Duly filled application form
  5. Photograph – size 35×45 mm
  6. Prescribed fee – 1300/2600 INR at Russian Consulate/Embassy or 2480/3780 INR at IFS (authorized private agency)
Russian Embassy in New Delhi

Consular Division,
Embassy of the Russian Federation,
Nyaya Marg, Chanakyapuri,
New Delhi 110021

Phone: 011 26110560
Fax: 011 24678564
E-mail: [email protected]
web: www.rusembindia.com

Russian Consulate in Kolkata

Consulate General of the Russian Federation,
22 A, Raja Santosh Road,
Alipore, Kolkata – 700 027

Russian Visa section Telephone: 033 24799973
Working hours:10.00 a.m. – 01.00 p.m (Monday, Wednesday, Friday)
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: www.kolkata.mid.ru

 

Click this link for other Russian Consulates in India 
Private agencies outsourced for facilitating Russian visa in India
  1. IFS
  2. Salvia

24 comments

saurav misra January 8, 2018 - 11:45 pm

hi Varun,
do we need to mention multiple cities (if i am visiting more than 1 city in Russia) on the invitation letter suggested by you (which takes ~$20)?
if i mention 2 cities, does it mean i need 2 different invitation letter? pls answer..

Reply
Prashant Singh January 2, 2018 - 11:39 pm

I want to visit Sweden as a tourist
One of my friend is living there she is from there itself so how can I apply for my visa

Reply
Varun Vagish January 4, 2018 - 10:04 am

You will need a Schengen visa to visit Sweden. Here is the list of documents needed for Schengen Visa – http://www.touristhelpline.com/schengen-visa-documents/
Get in touch with Sweden embassy for more details. They will guide you.

Reply
Manish Singh December 5, 2017 - 9:54 pm

Hi Varun,

Thanks for this great article. I did some research and looks like there is no way to book an online appointment to submit Visa application to Mumbai consulate. So IFS India is the only feasible option.

Reply
Manish Singh December 6, 2017 - 5:11 pm

So I contacted the Russian consulate in Mumbai. There is no need to take prior appointments at Mumbai. You can visit directly on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 09:00 till 12:00

Reply
Varun Vagish December 8, 2017 - 11:27 am

Thanks for sharing the information, Manish,
This will really help those looking for Russian visa in Mumbai.

Reply
Rahul Verma December 9, 2017 - 8:18 am

Hi Manish, thanks for this information. and did they said what documents required ?

Reply
Manish Singh December 9, 2017 - 8:44 am

Hi Rahul,
Never asked for list of documents. I believe they will be the same list what Varun described in his blog.

Reply
Rahul Verma December 9, 2017 - 9:10 am

oh ok thanks ;)

Subhamoy Banerjee November 15, 2017 - 4:39 pm

Hi Varun,

What is the general visa duration for multi-entry visa? I was thinking to go there during the FIFA World Cup during 2018 summer and again around Feb-Mar’19 during winter. My intention is to see Russia in both summer and in winter.

Reply
Ravi Kewat November 13, 2017 - 2:26 pm

Hello Varun. Very informative article. I would like to know if you need paid reservation of flights or you just need a confirmed reservation for visa submission?

Reply
SURAJ DEWANI October 24, 2017 - 9:16 pm

7 October to 10 October I was in Moscow Russia. I did not enjoy that by roaming for 3 days, but the fun came after watching your 10 episodes.. Thanks for being with us…

Reply
Varun Vagish October 27, 2017 - 3:45 am

Thanks, Suraj :)
For others, here is the link to the playlist of Russian travel series https://goo.gl/BB54T4

Reply
Jay Singh October 18, 2017 - 2:34 am

Hello varun…
I like ur videos so much.. keep it up!!!
I have questions regarding the visa I am travelling to bali on coming November so will i get visa on arrival and I have to pay for it or not.
Thanks.

Reply
Praveen Kumar Singh October 13, 2017 - 6:18 pm

hi varun, happy to see your website
1. iam from uttar pradesh lucknow, i want take visa from Kolkata. its possible or need go new delhi?
2. IFS taking 2480 money to get visa in 4-20 days
IFS urgent 4300 money to get visa in 3 days.
but
Russian Consulate taking 1300 RS. IN 3 DAYS
AND 2600 RS. SAME DAY

I WANT TO KNOW ITS ALL REAL PRICE? WHY SO MUCH PRICE DIFFERENCE?

Reply
VV October 23, 2017 - 2:57 pm

IFS is charging their commission. Thats why there is a price difference

Reply
Varun Vagish October 23, 2017 - 3:25 pm

IFS is charging their commission. Thats why there is a price difference

Reply
Barkat Ali October 9, 2017 - 1:21 am

Sir please give ur mobile no

Reply
Arjan Bains October 2, 2017 - 3:13 pm

Hiii

Sir i travelled UAE twice and thailand Thrice and Austria once..i want to travel to Russia on newyear please help me from where i can get invitation letterं??

Guide me steps with required documents
Thanks and regards

Reply
Tinni Dhar Jain October 1, 2017 - 11:56 am

Hello Varun, thank you for all these information. However I have a doubt. Don’t they ask for bank account statement? If so then how much should be there while applying for the visa? When should I apply for visa like one month before of the flight date?

Reply
Varun Vagish October 4, 2017 - 7:12 pm

No bank account statement required to get Russian tourist visa. Yes, its ok to apply for the visa one month before your travel dates.

Reply
Rahul Verma October 14, 2017 - 12:02 pm

Hi Varun, do they also ask to show personal income tax return proof for Russian tourist visa or for guest visa ?

Reply
Varun Vagish October 16, 2017 - 7:03 am

For Russian Tourist Visa, Income tax proofs are not required.

Reply
Rahul Verma October 16, 2017 - 10:25 am

Thank you so much for clearing my doubts. I am watching your Russia trip videos they are awesome and i really love the way you explain everything. And first time at terminal 3 video is brilliant.

Just few more questions did you also filled immigration form and custom form for your laptop, camera etc before taking your flight for Russia ?

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