Get a Visa to Russia… (Update – 2011)

Russian Visa...
Russian Visa...

As promised an update on getting a visa for Russia from Ukraine. As the status is right now for me in Russia, I get a new visa to Russia every 3 months. The total process changes like the wind but the basics are stable. But many times, my last update has become obsolete by the time 3 months come around again. So lets do a post on getting a visa for Russia from Kiev, Ukraine… (as of January 2011)

Remember I am an American and this applies to Americans. All other countries have to deal with the rules and regulations associated with your country. The rules at times change as fast as the train trip from Moscow to Kiev. This is also only for a 3 month double entry business visa for Russia and only from Kiev, Ukraine…

So lets start with what items you need:
1. Two Russian style (size) passport photos… (3.5cms X 4.5cms and No Smile on your passport photos. Only Americans smile for a passport photo…)
2. Two completed (filled out) visa applications… (Link to download)
3. Letter of Invitation… (in Telex format preferred by the Kiev consulate)
4. Copy of Migration paper the you received at border for Ukraine…
5. Your American (USA) passport and a copy of that passport… (Color or black and white, does not matter.)
6. $335.00 American dollars! (Not pesos, pounds, hryvnia, euro and or anything else) Make sure that the money is crisp and clean. Torn, wrinkled and trashy looking dollars will be frowned upon and most likely rejected. Did I say dollars… (There is a nice bank nearby that has wonderful hundred dollar bills. The consulate loves those bills…)

Next prepare data before entering consulate in Kiev:
1. Make sure applications are filled out in full… (hand written in blue or black ink or typed and signed by you!)
2. Make sure photos are pasted to appropriate spot on back of applications…
3. Make sure you have the migration card copied before you enter the consulate…
4. Letter of Invitation in telex form should be at the consulate, (verify before going to Kiev) but bring your confirmation letter in case they have to hunt it down. The process of speed is involved with telex…
5. Make sure that you have two copies of your passport. Yes two copies, one for the consulate and one for you to carry until you get your passport back with a new visa…
6. Have everything in a file folder to be able to easily keep track of all papers…
7. Other words, dot all I’s and cross all T’s, before even thinking about crossing the threshold of the consulate doorway…

Process to enter the consulate and get visa:
Be patient and polite and do not express your desire at the fact that you are an American and deserve special treatment. I have watched to the detriment of several fellow Americans get in a rough situation when they try to push their way ahead of the rest of the crowd. I stand in line like the rest of the Russians do and allow what happens to happen…

Since the bombing of the Airport in Moscow certain carry bags are not allowed inside. They will simply not care that all your life is in that bag and it will stay out side off the premises, to be possibly stolen… (mine was, so call ahead of time and verify what you can carry in or not carry in)

Once given the go ahead to enter the consulate by the guard. You must proceed straight to the desk on the right in the lobby and show your passport to the man in charge. So do not put away your passport after the guard at the main door looks at it because you still need it and they seem to be in a big hurry to get you signed in…

Now is where having all your paperwork done pays off. Once signed in they will take you literally straight to have your visa done. If you blink at this point and say, “I need an application! Please…” They frown and you most likely have been set aside and could spend an extra hour getting everything done…

Then with paperwork in hand you get to proceed to the office where the nice lady who never smiles (she is Russian) takes your paperwork and processes it. Please remember to have your paperwork in order because this nice lady controls your life at this point and please make sure that the office door is closed after you enter…

Then after the nice lady is done, she tells you to go to the cashier and pay. She also asks you when you want the visa (I tell next day) and makes sure that you know how much and if it is different from the last time you were there. Don’t ask questions. (Shut up and have your money ready. Do not, I repeat do not say, “Oh I have to go to the bank…”) Also make sure the door to the office is closed as you leave…

Knock on the door of the cashier (right across the hall) first and try to open the door. If someone is in there paying, you will know by the remark of what kind of idiot you are to barge in. Please do not sit on the chair next to the door. It is to block the exit door farther down the hall way. If you sit on this chair someone will tell you to get your butt up. They have cameras and they will see you sitting there. So just stand there and stare at a nice chair while you wait 20 minutes sometimes…

When it is your turn to pay. Make sure that the door is closed behind you and stay quiet and pay what ever sum was told to you in the other office. The cashier will give you two very important pieces of paper. Do not loose them. They are a receipt for what you pay and a paper stating when you can pick up your passport. Anyone with that paper of passport pickup can get your passport no questions asked. So do not loose them! It is appropriate after paying, to comment on the picture behind the cashier of her and Jean-Claude Van Damme. She is proud of it and you will get one of those rare Russian smiles when you do…

When you are done with all the above. Leave the building quickly and quietly with your receipts for your passport and visa. Then go back the next day at the appropriate time frame and wait in line again to get your passport back with your new visa. Much of the above information is appropriate for the second day entry into the consulate. Other words get in and get out quickly and quietly… 🙂

Some notes:
I am in Kiev 4 times a year just to get a visa, so I know what I am doing. Even if you don’t think I do. The list of items to gather is always the same. With the exception of the amount you pay. It was $450 for years, then became $250 and now has become $335. I see no rhyme or reason in the price. What I do know is that prices vary from where your home country is… (I have seen people pay over a thousand dollars at times…)

Remember Telex. Remember politeness. Remember cold hard American dollars. Remember to dot the I’s and cross the T’s. Remember to be flexible…

What has very much changed is the process to enter the building to obtain your visa. That is why I went into detail. The staff of the Kiev Russian consulate has had a huge change over in the last year. Looks like a new boss. So of course things change, just as when terrorists attacks happen in Moscow, they affect the rules at all the embassies and consulates associated with Russia…

Number to call for information at the consulate –

Country:
Ukraine
City:
Kiev
Address:
Ukraine, Kiev, Vozdukhoflotskyi, 27
(phone +38 (044) 244-0961, 244-0963, 244-0967; fax +38 (044) 246-3469; email embrus@public.icyb.kiev.ua)

Some of the few links, Windows to Russia has on getting a visa and stories associated with getting a visa… 🙂

http://windowstorussia.com/going-to-ukraine-and-get-a-visa-to-russia.html
http://windowstorussia.com/pickpocket-we-all-think-that-it-will_2958.html
http://windowstorussia.com/from-russia-ukraine-trip-will-last_20.html
http://windowstorussia.com/the-next-visa-to-russia.html
http://windowstorussia.com/making-a-visa-run-to-ukraine.html
http://windowstorussia.com/part-2-ukraine-visa-trip-january-2010.html
http://windowstorussia.com/visa-trip-to-ukraine-for-russian-visa.html
http://windowstorussia.com/get-russian-visa-from-ukraine-part-1.html
http://windowstorussia.com/pickpocket-we-all-think-that-it-will_1437.html
http://windowstorussia.com/pickpocket-we-all-think-that-it-will_04.html
http://windowstorussia.com/pickpocket-we-all-think-that-it-will_8063.html
http://windowstorussia.com/pickpocket-we-all-think-that-it-will_28.html
http://windowstorussia.com/windows-to-russia-kiev-visa-trip-4-20.html
http://windowstorussia.com/getting-visa-to-russia-here-is-how-we.html
http://windowstorussia.com/russia-visa-time-soon-onward-to-israel_29.html
http://windowstorussia.com/russia-visa-registration-update-july_16.html
http://windowstorussia.com/russia-visa-part-4-homestay-visas_11.html
http://windowstorussia.com/russia-visa-part-3-transit-visa_10.html
http://windowstorussia.com/russia-visa-part-2-tourist-visa_09.html
http://windowstorussia.com/russia-visa-part-1-business-visa_08.html
http://windowstorussia.com/russia-visa-information_27.html
http://windowstorussia.com/russia-time-to-get-new-visa_20.html

Read some articles on getting a visa. I have given you a world of information for free…

Windows to Russia!

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