Applying for a Russian Visa can be a daunting process as I have discovered in 2008.This year I am faced with the same problem as we are planning a trip to Russia for 3 months.
What Visa options do I have?
- Tourist Visa (Valid for 1 month only)
- Business Visa (Valid for 6 months – can only apply for this Visa after you previously had a Tourist Visa)
- Home Stay Visa (Valid for 3 months – must have family or friends living in Russia)
We decided to apply for the Home Stay Visa this time. Before I can lodge my official Visa application form I need an official invitation (IZVESHENIYE) from the local OVIR in Russia.
What we didn`t realize at the time, was the pressure that it put on our family in Russia. They (my host) have to apply in person at the local OVIR. Apart from the endless paperwork and personal information that they had to deal with, they also had to brace the winter cold of -20 degrees, take time of work and make various trips to the office.
The process can take up to 6 weeks so plan ahead. I got confirmation today (8 March 2012) that my application have been accepted and the OVIR will issue the official letter of invitation. I am so happy! The document will be ready in a month from now and my husband`s family will then courier it to me because the Russian consulate only accepts the original invitation (not fax or copy).
Sadly this is only the beginning of my Visa application process. Once I receive the document I have to courier my Visa Application to the Consulate in South Africa for processing. The Russian Consulate in Argentina cannot help me with the Visa Application process.
I will attach a copy of the Invitation from to this Blog post when I receive it because I am very curious to see what is looks like.
- Allow for at least 3 months. Paperwork in Russia takes a long time and it is not always easy for people to take time off work.
- Have the document couriered to your address or send it by express mail. If it gets lost in the post you have to start the whole process again.
I received my official invitation form yesterday (6 April 2012) via email. This will now be posted to me and then I can hand it in with my visa. Please make sure that you have the correct dates on your application form because it is impossible to change it afterwards. Also note that the Embassy only accepts the Original invitation form.