Saturday, January 28, 2017

How to Apply a Russian Tourist Visa in Malaysia (A Step by Step Guide)

       Have you ever picture yourself traveling in Russia? Although Russia is not such a “normal” destination in your wanderlust radar, it is slowly gaining popularity. Proof? When I traveled in Northern Russia a year ago, I only spent around $200+ for 5 days, however, few months back I was informed by readers that the tours in the same region are now triple the price! I am not sure if my post about the region that got about 2k shares had anything to do with it, but the fact is: Russian Tourism is catching up. So in order to be able to experience this country when it is still cheap and authentic, you have to come NOW, if not, soon! 
       Although I can’t say that applying for a Russian Tourist Visa Independently is simple, it is certainly not too complicated. I am speaking as a Russian student who needs to visit the consulate every year so I am very familiar with the procedures (well after talking to hundreds of tourist visa applicants throughout the years). Just follow my step by step tutorial here and you’ll get it done by no time. 

STEP 1:  Tourist Invitation Letter

1. You need to book your hotel or tours
  • You need to make sure that they are establishments recognized by the Russian Ministry of Tourism. 
  • I highly advise you to book through and make use of the free cancellation feature. If your hotel refuses to offer you an invitation letter, cancel the booking and book another one that is willing to help. 

2. Request an Invitation Letter from your hotel
  • You’ll need to send them a copy of your passport. 
  • You should get them free of charge.  
You will then receive a 2 pages invitation letter + Travel voucher through email (soft copy).
3. If nobody can help with this, feel free to message me on Facebook, I'll provide you one on the same day of request.  

STEP 2: Online Visa Application 

Fill up your visa application online.

  • Please apply it online as soon as possible
  • Your visa normally take 5 working days (1 week) to be ready (Unless you requested and are willing to pay the extra fees for urgent/express processing) 

STEP 3: Prepare all necessary Documents 

Documents required for visa application include:

  •  A completed electronic version visa application (step 2) form printed out. 
  •  A valid passport (it need to be valid for more than 6 months, and have at least one empty page for the visa). 
  • A passport-size photo glued to the printed application form.
  • An Invitation Letter
  • Other supporting documents: One copy of your passport, A copy of your flight e-tickets (The Consulate may request some extra documentation if it's considered necessary.) 

STEP 4: Visit the Russian Embassy

Address: No.263, Jalan Ampang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Working hours: Monday, Wednesday & Friday 9:30am - 12:30pm

  • The consular officer (an Indian woman, we called her Aunty Cindy. ) will check your application, and if there is something wrong she will inform you to redo it. Normally she will also tell you where you can do it (Printing shop nearby or something, I am not sure because Thank God I never get rejected. ) 

  • Once your application gets accepted, you will need to pay the visa fee at a specific Maybank branch (Just down the road, but still, you’ll need a car).  
- Go immediately because you’ll need to come back to the consular within working hours. 

    - You will get a receipt for the transfer from the bank and head back to the consular immediately. 

  • Aunty Cindy will hand you back your application and you will need to queue up at a counter behind the “waiting area”. From here onwards, you will be dealing with Russians. 
After accepting your application+ bank receipt, the Russian consular officer will hand you another receipt (it's actually just a strip of paper) with your name, the amount paid, type of visa and the pickup date.

STEP 5: Pickup

On the pickup date indicated on the slip, you should return to the embassy and present the pick-up slip to Aunty Cindy. 
  • If you stay outside of Kuala Lumpur, you can actually ask your relatives or friends to help collect your passport (you should give them the slip). 
  • Normally, you don’t have to pass an interview (like the US Visa procedure), but it CAN happen under certain circumstances. 

STEP 6: Check the data!

Receive your passport back, check all the details on the visa!!! Most people don’t do this, but actually, this is the Most important thing to do! Some of my friends have problems with their visa (done in Russia) due to name spelling error, gender mix up and much more seemingly petty mistakes. If the officers at the airport found any mistakes on your visa, they have every right to refuse your entry.  

image via VisaCentral
Make sure you check: 
  • name & surname spelling, 
  • date of birth, 
  • passport number, 
  • dates of entry and exit, 
  • gender, 
  • type of visa 
  • citizenship. 

Your data on the Russian visa will be in Cyrillic alphabets, but there are normally English letters below. 

And then Congratulations, your job is done. Enjoy your trip to Russia! 


  • Well as you can see, I can’t say applying for a Russian Visa independently is “easy” but it is certainly doable
  • If you are a Malaysian, you don’t have to apply for the visa in person. You can seek assistance from agents. Normally their service fee starts from RM700, but if you wish to save money, then feel free to do it yourself. 
  • As stated on the consulate website, “Processing time, requirements and fees are subject to change without prior notice”! Hence, this article serves as a reference only. 
  • There is no official “Russian Visa Center” in Malaysia authorized by the Embassy of the Russian Federation, so don’t get scammed. 
  • What should you do if things go wrong with your visa? It actually depends on your luck, honestly. So make sure you pray before passing the passport control, I am not kidding.Sometimes officers in Russian International Airport will help you to correct the insignificant misspell. But most of the time, unfortunately, your entry will get denied and you’ll have to fly back to Malaysia, go back to the Consular and pay for Express visa. 
  • Don’t think it won’t happen, it happened to my friends too many times, in serious cases, they might even quarantine you. I advise everyone to keep the contact of Malaysian Embassy in Moscow and also the transiting country. 
  • When you reach Russia, you are not yet “done” with your visa matters!
    Remember to get your “registration slip” from your hotel, and bring it with you at all times, along with your original passport and immigration card (printed in the airport if you arrive at Domodedovo, Sheremetyevo or Vnukovo. If you arrive at other smaller airports, you’ll need to fill in the form manually). 

πŸ“ŒFor more travel tips, like Eat Love Travel Breathe with Miss HappyFeet. 
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Thank You for Reading! 
This post is based solely on my personal experience. 
 If you have a different experience, feel free to share your thoughts with me by commenting below!


Anonymous said...

Hi .. Thank you very much for the info.

Btw.. how much it will cost for the visa (tourist visa)?

babechiwa said...

how to get an invitation letter after apply online from the website?

Miss HappyFeet said...

Hi anonymous, it varies depending on your need (single or double entry). Please check the Russian Embassy website. The last time I did, it was RM300+.

Hello Babechiwa, you should get the invitation letter from your hostel/hotel or ask a Russian friend to make you one. If you need an invitation letter, feel free to visit my Facebook page (embedded in the right side bar) and drop me a message.

Nsw said...

hi, I'm planning to join a local Russian tour to Lake Baikal and need an invitation letter for visa application. The agency will not provide the supporting documents and refer us to a 3rd party visal assistance company. Why are they so unhelpful? And why are the invitation letter such a task?

Miss HappyFeet said...

dear Nsw, sorry to hear that. In my opinion, they should have helped you with the invitation since you are their guest. It could be caused by communication problem (due to the language barrier). If you still have this problem you can send me a message on Facebook (page link in the side bar) and I'll assist you.

Maiya Suhaimi said...

Hye miss..thanks for sharing.. i will visit russia end of november..your post very helpful.. call embassy diorg suruh google sndiri..
Nsb baik jmpe blog ni..thank you so much

Miss HappyFeet said...

You are most welcomed, Maiya! Happy planning!

Maiya Suhaimi said...

Miss..regarding the photo.. have specific photo or not..i mean..must blue background or white.. photo must be color or black and white. And how much the fees for single entry visa per person.. thank you in advance..

Miss HappyFeet said...

RM300+ for single entry. Photos no specific requirement.

Miss HappyFeet said...

If you need invitation letter, message me on my Facebook page and I'll assist.

Maiya Suhaimi said...

Thank you so much miss... 😁

Siti Hajar Madina said...

Thank you so much for sharing. My parents and I are planning to visit Saint Petersburg for 5 days before taking the train to Estonia in April 2018. Ive tried reserving a few hotels but sadly none of them can provide invitation letter. (probably because some of them are apartment owners). I will still try to look for the hotels that can provide us the invitation letter. but just in case we couldnt secure such letter, can we ask you instead? By next year will your offer still valid?

Miss HappyFeet said...

Hi Siti, yes, definitely. Please contact me on Facebook (link above) if you can't get one. :)

Hazhari Ismail said...

Hye, i want to ask . should i state bin or binti as my name for the application? :)

Miss HappyFeet said...

yes you should, Hazhari.

SC said...

Dear Ms HappyFeet,
Just want to find out if the "invitation letter" that you mentioned, should it be a original or a scanned copy is accepted too?

Maiya Suhaimi said...

Hye miss happy..i wanna ask you 1 question.. we gave them paspport photo..but they not put the photo in the visa.. it is true? Same like your example. I forgot to ask them

Anonymous said...

i am not staying at a hotel so how do i get an invitation?

Miss HappyFeet said...

Hi SC, you just have to print the email version out.
Hi Maiya, its correct, don't worry.
Hi Anonymous, you'll have to buy one in that case. If your friend is a Russian, he/she can make you one.

PS: Please message me on my Facebook page, I can reply everyone faster on FB :)

Maiya Suhaimi said...

Hye miss.. moscow is awesome!! 9days i stay in moscow.. really enjoy..thanks a lot..this article so helpfull..

Miss HappyFeet said...

Hi Maiya, I am so happy for you! 9 days in Moscow sounds incredible, Thanks for sharing it with me :) :) :)

Ten said...

Dear Ms Happy Feet,

I've fill up the visa application online and submit to Embassy.
However after submission, noticed error on the visa application form.
May I know how to edit details ? Should I get a new draft id or any other solutions ?
New draft id does it means redo the visa application online? Will my details duplicate in the system?

Hope to hear from you soon !


Matthew said...

Great post !