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HOW TO GET RUSSIAN TOURIST VISA IN INDIA
How to get Russian Tourist Visa
Create a rough travel itinerary
Book hotels and Air tickets
Get invitation letter from a Russian travel agency
Fill online visa application form
Submit visa application with invitation letter and other documents at visa office
Collect visa after 3 days
Gather information from authorised source
I called the Russian embassy in Delhi to know the process of getting a tourist visa (Russian Embassy’s contact number and address are shared below). They told me to call their authorized travel agencies for a smooth visa processing experience. In the name of providing facilities to the applicants, these agencies charge a ‘service charge’ over the normal visa fee. For example, in August 2017 the Russian tourist visa fees were Rs. 1300 and the service charged by IFS was Rs. 1,180.
I called IFS in Delhi and Kolkata to know the process. They answered my queries patiently. This helped me to get a general understanding of the whole process. In the meanwhile, I came to know that applicants can directly approach the Consulates to apply for the visa. This way I could save the extra amount being charged by the private agencies like IFS and Salvia. I also wanted to have a direct experience with the Russian government officials. However, you can approach the private agencies if you want. Having said this, I would NOT recommend approaching other travel agents (who are not authorized by Russian Embassy/Consulate) who will charge their commission or may even mislead you.
Prepare a rough Itinerary and do bookings
I prepared a rough itinerary and booked hostels accordingly through ‘Booking.com’. I prefer this website for hotel bookings because you don’t have to pay at the time of booking. Also, some of their hotels/hostels offer the facility of zero cancellation charges. This means, if in case I am not able to stay in the booked hotels, I can cancel them without getting charged. This gives me the flexibility of changing my itinerary even after getting the visa. This is the best part of booking.com and that’s why I love it.
I also booked flight tickets, as they are also asked at the time of submitting the application. I used skyscanner.com to get the cheap tickets.
Get Invitation letter from Russian travel agency
After getting the information from the authorised sources I came to know every applicant has to submit an Invitation letter from a travel agency based in Russia. This was something new to me. Till now the countries which I have travelled had just ask the passport and other personal documents supporting my identity, address and income proofs. Also, the Russian agencies should be authorised to issue an invitation letter. After an extensive research, I got the invitation letter emailed from Russia. Based on my experience, I have written this article – “How to get Invitation letter for Russian Tourist visa“. You’ll be asked to send confirmed hotel bookings to the Russian travel agency providing you the invitation letter.
Fill up the online application form
http://kolkata.kdmid.ru/queue-en/To get the Russian visa you have to visit their official website – visa.kdmid.ru . Follow the online process and take the print out of the duly filled up application form. You’ll be asked to choose the visa application centre before submitting the online application form. So choose the center before you start the process. My nearest city was Kolkata and I had two options to choose. The Russian Consulate and the authorised travel agency called IFS.
Russian tourist visa fee chart
Invitation letter from Russian travel agency
While planning my first trip to Russia I came to know that in order to apply for a Russian tourist visa, Indian citizens are supposed to procure an invitation/confirmation letter from a travel agency based in Russia & registered in the Unified Federal Register of Tour Operators (under a reference number). Very few nationals are exempted from this condition. To know how to get the Invitation letter from a Russian travel agency, read my article – How to get an Invitation letter for Russian Tourist Visa.
Documents needed for Russian Tourist Visa
Tourist Invitation letter
Passport in original
Copy of passport
Duly filled application form
Photograph – size 35×45 mm
Prescribed fee – 1300/2600 INR at Russian Consulate/Embassy or 2480/3780 INR at IFS (authorized private agency)
Russian Embassy in New Delhi
Embassy of the Russian Federation,
Nyaya Marg, Chanakyapuri,
New Delhi 110021