Applying for a Russian visa
I don’t know about your country’s politics, but in Romania, there is a third party agency handling the visa application. The Russian Embassy is not receiving any applications anymore, except for urgent matters. Of course, that agency is charging a fee for this service. Convenient, right?
- A passport! Will be used for all the below!
- An invitation. There are many online agencies, you fill in your info, pay online (I paid 12 Euros) and they email you the invitation (you need to know the dates of your visit and which cities are you visiting)
- Travel insurance. Usual travel agencies or normal insurance offices offer this. Again, you need the exact dates.
- Fill in an online form from the embassy. Print it.
All these are needed to apply, in my case, to that agency handling the application. It took around 1 week to get the visa. A friend of mine waited 10 days. It’s recommended to go 1 month before your departure.
Tips for travelling to Russia
At the passport control checkpoint, you will get a small piece of paper, which you need to keep in your passport at all times. An immigration form. I was always afraid of losing it. They check that everywhere. And your passport of course.
Is English travelling to Russia, too?
Most Russians I’ve come across don’t speak English. Almost at all. Sometimes it was a struggle: in the airport, in shops, at the hotels, asking for directions, reading the Russian signs (yeah, you start learning the alphabet by yourself, only by reading street signs and advertisements)
Random facts I’ve noticed
After landing in Russia, the airport seemed like a prison.
People working in the airport don’t speak English.
And LinkedIn doesn’t work there. Apparently, it’s banned. It took me a while to realise it. In case you need it.
Starbucks is more expensive. Actually, international brands are more expensive there.
They say Moscow is one of the most expensive cities in the world. I dare to differ.
Food is cheap. And vodka. That’s cheap too. And plenty.
Nightlife is expensive. Beer is expensive in supermarkets (~4 euros), so imagine the price in a bar. Imported beer.