Originally Posted by Tony P
As simple as that? No confirmed accomodation?
To be fair, the tour invitation does suggest I was going to spend the entire 30 days in a hotel in Yekaterinburg but I had nothing to do with the hotel (I didn't book anything or pay the hotel anything and went to a different hotel in Ykb anyway, just 1200RR to the agency for the invitation). I can't read Cyrillic well enough to discover how the invitation indicates I was going to arrive in RU (eg. by air) but I was stomping about the embassy in riding gear and MX boots which should have given the overland nature of my trip away.
I'll be honest, I was quite surprised myself. I'd contacted the RU embassy in London before I left and noted that I'd have been out of the UK for a couple of months before I could use any RU visa and they told me to apply in Dushanbe/Bishkek/wherever I was at the time. The "rules" for visa applications are all in flux so by the time I was in TJ the word on the street was pretty negative so I was debating DHL'ing my passport back to the UK (and subjecting a friend to wasting half a day down at VFS -- a huge inconvenience even if they already live in London!) but even then my nominal employment status (self-employed) suggested I might have needed to make a personal visit.
Pitching up at the embassy and asking politely seemed like a cheaper first alternative!
Also within the 'complex matrix' is you say you got a Tourist Visa.
Tourist Visas are only valid for 30 days maximum.
Indeed, which is why I added the type of visa to the matrix.
I vaguely recall that you couldn't get a business visa if you'd not been to RU before so a tourist visa, for me, was a must. But my memory is failing me and I picked up a few visas on that last trip so I could be mixing things up.