Most Complicated Visa Application Process

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by milchap, Apr 10, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. milchap
    Original Member

    milchap Gold Member

    Messages:
    27,638
    Likes Received:
    148,039
    Status Points:
    20,020
    I just finished applying for a Russian Visa for a river cruise Moscow to Saint Petersburg. I am a Canadian citizen holding only a Canadian passport.

    This was probably the most tedious and complicated visa application process that I have encountered....and I have done 8 other applications for various countries.
    You require first a letter of invitation from the host organization. Then the two page visa application for Canadians and Americana requires a great deal of personal information shared with the Russian authorities.

    I used a visa service and together with the visa fee it will set me back over $300 CDN.

    Anyone want to share their visa frustration stories? Any country more complex than Russia?
     
    jbcarioca likes this.
  2. MSPeconomist
    Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

    Messages:
    58,563
    Likes Received:
    98,528
    Status Points:
    20,020
    In the US. different Russian consulates tend to follow slightly different rules at times. This was most pronounced when there was a new and more complicated form introduced. By applying through Seattle, I avoided using it, although it was already absolutely required in Washington, New York, etc.

    I prefer to avoid visa agencies if possible (can't for China since they require that documents be delivered and retrieved in person) and I don't have a good feeling about some being recommended on the Russian consulate websites.
     
    jbcarioca likes this.
  3. milchap
    Original Member

    milchap Gold Member

    Messages:
    27,638
    Likes Received:
    148,039
    Status Points:
    20,020
    The Russian visa process is more complex if you had previous military service.
     
    jbcarioca likes this.
  4. MSPeconomist
    Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

    Messages:
    58,563
    Likes Received:
    98,528
    Status Points:
    20,020
    Yes, and IIRC, they also ask about education/training in chemistry, physics, etc. and then want details.
     
    jbcarioca likes this.
  5. HaveMilesWillTravel
    Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

    Messages:
    12,504
    Likes Received:
    20,197
    Status Points:
    16,520
    I was in Moscow and Leningrad in the mid 80s and my recollection is that it wasn't nearly as difficult back then to get a visa to visit the USSR. The various stories about Russian visas contribute to pushing Russia lower and lower on my travel list.
     
    jbcarioca and Chimpy like this.
  6. Bob Smolinsky
    Original Member

    Bob Smolinsky Gold Member

    Messages:
    3,346
    Likes Received:
    14,569
    Status Points:
    10,575
    Not sure if it's the most complicated, but certainly the one where you have to give the most information....
     
    jbcarioca, Junca and milchap like this.
  7. MSPeconomist
    Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

    Messages:
    58,563
    Likes Received:
    98,528
    Status Points:
    20,020
    However, I think in the mid-1980s, it was still the case that a tourist visa required one to participate in some inTourist group tour and take whatever inTourist hotel was assigned to you. You couldn't roam around or make your own decisions in Russia then.
     
    jbcarioca likes this.
  8. HaveMilesWillTravel
    Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

    Messages:
    12,504
    Likes Received:
    20,197
    Status Points:
    16,520
    That's correct (at least in my case). We didn't even know if we'd fly Aeroflot or InterFlug until we got to the airport :)

    We did get to walk around town on our own on several occasions (outside the official tours).

    Certainly was an interesting experience.
     
    jbcarioca and milchap like this.
  9. bakedpatato
    Original Member

    bakedpatato Gold Member

    Messages:
    2,558
    Likes Received:
    13,734
    Status Points:
    10,425
    I was outright refused a chinese visa when I mentioned which branch of the US military I am serving in. I don't blame them,we would've done the same thing for a person in the PLA doing what I'm doing in the Air Force.
    I shudder to think about the amount of flack i'll get if I ever apply for a Russian visa :rolleyes:
     
    jbcarioca and milchap like this.
  10. milchap
    Original Member

    milchap Gold Member

    Messages:
    27,638
    Likes Received:
    148,039
    Status Points:
    20,020
    Bob Smolinsky likes this.
  11. MSPeconomist
    Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

    Messages:
    58,563
    Likes Received:
    98,528
    Status Points:
    20,020
  12. Fredrik
    Original Member

    Fredrik Silver Member

    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    175
    Status Points:
    395
    What's so special about Russian visas? A normal tourist visa is no more complicated than the US visa. Just complete the application form and give it to your TA who will arrange the rest. That's how I did it.I didn't have to answer any questions about military service either.
     
    nipun likes this.
  13. MSPeconomist
    Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

    Messages:
    58,563
    Likes Received:
    98,528
    Status Points:
    20,020
    What country are you coming from? The US application for a visa to go to Russia is extremely long and complicated, as well as expensive.
     
    milchap likes this.
  14. Fredrik
    Original Member

    Fredrik Silver Member

    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    175
    Status Points:
    395
    I am Swedish citizen. I started to think about it and I'd think the Russians are retaliating against the US because of US visa rules.
     
    jbcarioca likes this.
  15. milchap
    Original Member

    milchap Gold Member

    Messages:
    27,638
    Likes Received:
    148,039
    Status Points:
    20,020
    ...and against Canada and the UK also because of same rules.
     
  16. Fredrik
    Original Member

    Fredrik Silver Member

    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    175
    Status Points:
    395
    I have to correct what I wrote a little bit earlier because a Russian visa is more complicated than a US ESTA visa because of the colour photograph to be attached and the document from the insurance company.

    At the bottom of the page you can see two sets of application forms. One for the Schengen countries and one for US/Britain. One is more complicated for sure.

    http://futuristus.customers3.travelize.se/travel/uk/VISA-INFORMATION-1-23.html
     
  17. MSPeconomist
    Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

    Messages:
    58,563
    Likes Received:
    98,528
    Status Points:
    20,020
    Very clearly. Russia is one of a number of countries that charges US citizens the same price that their citizens pay for US visas.
     
  18. ItsADryCold
    Original Member

    ItsADryCold Silver Member

    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    61
    Status Points:
    195
    Three words: Barry. Martin. Travel. Those guys have been visaing-up reporters and businessmen for decades. Barry & Co are purveyors of quality fixers and are always good for a meet and greet anywhere in the former USSR and China.
     
  19. SgtPeppers
    Original Member

    SgtPeppers Silver Member

    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    92
    Status Points:
    295
    Tell me about it. Getting family here in US for visiting is a painfully long and tiresome. I am not from Russia but US visa for non-European is very complicated as well.

    No offense, but almost every country wants to protect its border, control traffic (and tourism) and in some cases countries want to make visa process painful and hence filter some applicants.

    I have heard visa for Brazil for US citizens is complicated as well. Not been to Brazil so don't know about it.
     
    Lyssa and Chimpy like this.
  20. Bob Smolinsky
    Original Member

    Bob Smolinsky Gold Member

    Messages:
    3,346
    Likes Received:
    14,569
    Status Points:
    10,575
  21. TRAVELSIG
    Original Member

    TRAVELSIG Gold Member

    Messages:
    3,942
    Likes Received:
    5,509
    Status Points:
    4,145
    For Canadian and American passport holders, Brazil can be very time consuming (in terms of waiting time for the visa- without your passport) and a bit expensive.
     
    Lyssa and milchap like this.
  22. joanek
    Original Member

    joanek Silver Member

    Messages:
    222
    Likes Received:
    208
    Status Points:
    445
    My China visa took 3 visits to the visa office (they don't like the gov't agency I work for), and I practically had to raise my hand and vow that I was really going to visit family and not work. For the india visa, I was told (by embassy employees) NOT to state I was journalist, but find another form of employment.
     
  23. MSPeconomist
    Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

    Messages:
    58,563
    Likes Received:
    98,528
    Status Points:
    20,020
    I've personally done both Russia and China as a US citizen and Russia is MUCH worse.
     
    goodandclassy likes this.
  24. milchap
    Original Member

    milchap Gold Member

    Messages:
    27,638
    Likes Received:
    148,039
    Status Points:
    20,020
    I finally got the Russian visa this am. :cool: May the vodka martinis flow now.
     
  25. jbcarioca
    Original Member

    jbcarioca Gold Member

    Messages:
    17,507
    Likes Received:
    57,455
    Status Points:
    20,020
    I have one comment for you poor people with military service from countries the Russians seem to have reciprocity issues. Get citizenship somewhere that has Russia visa-free travel. We Brazilians, for example, show our passports at Russian Immigration and go about our business. No Visa, no fees, no hassle.:D
     
    mynameismud and Ygor like this.

Share This Page