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 booking.com 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 (softcopy).

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


Website: http://malaysia.mid.ru
  • 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! 



NOTE: 

  • 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 RM100, 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). 

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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!

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi .. Thank you very much for the info.

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

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