Somehow, while many people shy away from visiting Russia due to the seemingly daunting process of getting a visa, our experience proved otherwise. It was pretty straightforward, though we experienced slight inconsistencies in the process.
Here’s the requirements to obtain a visa:
- Russian embassy in Doha has a website, Russian Embassy Doha Website where you can find the requirements for a tourist visa
- Application forms must be completed online at this link: http://visa.kdmid.ru. The completed form must be printed. The embassy no longer accepts paper application forms.
- One photo. The website says passport size, I brought 2×2 size and they accepted mine.
- Valid passport with at least 2 blank visa pages and valid at least 6 months after the Russian visa validity date
- Copy of the main page of the passport
- Copy of Qatar Residence ID
- Medical insurance valid in Russia and covering the duration of the trip. It can be purchased in travel agencies in Doha. I got mine online at www.worldnomads.com. Price is about 100QR
- Tourist voucher. Not to be confused with hotel voucher. This may be obtained online through agencies that specialize in Russian tourism though a bit pricey and difficult to find one that caters to Philippine passport holders. Price range about USD70. Some hotels also offer this for a fee (or free) and we got ours for USD14 only.
Yup. No airline reservations and hotel reservations. No bank certificates or employment certificates were required. Easy peasy.
Only complete applications will be accepted by the visa officer. We were charged 455QR for visa processing. We were unsure if this was because it was a rush service as when we called earlier to inquire we were told that visa fee for normal processing is 200QR and 400 for rush. Oh well, papel… A bit of a dent in the pocket but there we are. There was no turning back. We didn’t get a receipt but we were given a claim stub which says that our passports are with Russian Embassy for visa processing.
One puzzling thing was the length of visa processing. Ours took 2 weeks while I heard some applicants will get theirs in various timeframes. As long as we get it right on time, it doesn’t matter I guess. Also, while me and my friends will be travelling at the same time, I was given a 9-day visa and they were given an 8. Hmmm…
And don’t be alarmed when your name is spelled wrongly at the bottom portion of the visa. I thought they printed mine incorrectly, until we checked and 2 of my other companions also had their names “incorrect”. Must be the Russian alphabet, eh?
So you see? Getting a Russian tourist visa isn’t so prohibitive as we thought it was. What are you waiting for? It’s summer and it’s the perfect time to visit Russia! Let’s go!!!
Disclaimer: This post is based on my experience when I applied for a visa. It is recommended that you contact the embassy and/or check the Russian Embassy website for current requirements and procedures.