As a tourist, there are two types of visas that one can apply to in order to visa Russia: tourist visa and transit visa. See below how to get a Russian visa (2019):
The information we gathered from different sources (Embassies, internet and friends) is that one can only request a Russian tourist visa in one’s own country, except if one’s own country does not have a diplomatic representative (Embassy or Consulate). In this case only, it is possible to ask for a tourist visa in the Russian Embassies of another country.
Transit Visa (our experience June 2019)
Transit visas are much easier to get and also less expensive. You can go to any Russian Embassy, in any country, and all you have to do is prove that you want a visa to transit from one country to another through Russia. For transit visas, you do not require an Invitation letter, therefore the procedure is much more simple.
In our case, we wanted to go from Kazakhstan to Mongolia, via Russia, with our motorbike. As such, we needed to have a Mongolian visa and copies of our motorbike’s documents. If you are transiting to a country where you do not require a visa, you don’t need to provide that, obviously. If you are transiting by bus or train, you need to have copies of the tickets for your trip through Russia.
Besides the passport, copy of passport and one photo, we were also asked to fill in the application form, which we downloaded from this official site. We did not make copies of our motorbike’s documents, but the official was kind and made copies herself.
How many days are you granted when asking for a Transit Visa?
The official at the Embassy explained that they usually grant the necessary days for the transit trip (according to the dates on your tickets). Those that come with one own’s vehicle should know that they grant 1 day per 500 kilometres. As we were driving a motorbike and told her that 500 kilometres were too much for us to drive per day, she was friendly enough to grant us 5 days for 1,000 kilometres.
Urgent or normal procedure
We asked for the normal procedure. We went to the Embassy on a Tuesday and were told to come back on Friday to pick our visa. But, our French travel mate was told to return on Thursday. We all went back on Thursday and all visas were ready. Regarding payment, Portuguese passport holders were asked 15,000 Tengue (roughly 35 EUR), while French nationals were asked 75 EUR.
– Valid passport
– 1 photo
– 1 copy of passport
– Filled-in application form
– Copies of documents of one own vehicle or copies of train/bus tickets
– Visa for the country of destination (if your nationality so requires)