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Northern Asia Topics specific to Russia, Central Asia (also known as "the 'stans"), Mongolia, Japan and Korea
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  #1  
Old 8 Oct 2012
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Russian LOI & Visa (again! sorry)

I know this has been done to death, but things change fast. I have done a lot of reading but obviously dont have all the answers!

This post relates to the 12 month ME BV or equivalent.

Has anyone had/gone for a 'cultural' visa? Stantours have recommended one if supplying 'company' details is difficult.

I could say I am self- employed and supply statements showing the £££ in my ISA but what happens with the 'inviting organisation'? how and what do I do to get around this?

Other things regarding supporting docs for MEBV are HIV cert? needed?

and this has popped up again - 'Applicants should also have a single or double Russian visa in the last 1 year, without which they cannot apply for multiple entries.'

I did email VFS Global (The UK Visa application company) a while back and they said it wasn't neccessary.

Does anybody have recent experience of applying?

We will be starting ours next month but I just want to get everything lined up prior to applying mid November.

My plan was LOI from Stantours then postal application to Russia Visa Information - UK - Home Page for our Visas with supporting docs.

G
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  #2  
Old 8 Oct 2012
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Hi there

I cannot give you any info on Cultural visa but we applied for 6 month ME BV in March of this year and got it - we had never been to Russia before. I had left my job so was unemployed when we applied but I got my ex boss, who has his own company, to 'lend' me his letterhead. I did the letter and he kindly signed it.

We used the visa agency Real Russia in London for ours and found them really helpful. They supplied the LOI and I transfered that info into my letter. I was forever emailing and asking questions and asking them to change information already submitted and they always answered promptly.

Hope you get the visa you want.

Debz
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  #3  
Old 8 Oct 2012
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Thanks Debz,

Did they 'contact' your old boss in any way? I could use the letterhead for the company I am with now but they don't yet know I'm leaving in December! Last thing I want is for the Russian Consulate to ring up and start asking questions I might have to risk it, or come clean earlier than planned.

G
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  #4  
Old 8 Oct 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Griffdowg View Post
Did they 'contact' your old boss in any way? I could use the letterhead for the company I am with now but they don't yet know I'm leaving in December! Last thing I want is for the Russian Consulate to ring up and start asking questions I might have to risk it, or come clean earlier than planned.
No risk - in my mind.

Russian burocracy is about paperwork matching and then they accept the previous steps must be OK because someone else approved it. It is not for the Officer in current step in the process to query his predecesor but to look at only the paperwork appropriate to his part.
Not their responsibility to check up on the decisions of others !!

And I have never heard of them checking outside parties. For example, back in my Visa days, I regularly provided an "employers letter" from a Company of mine that was dissolved years earlier and had an address which had been demolished as part of the very preliminary Olympics redevelopment about 8 years ago!
Never a query.
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  #5  
Old 8 Oct 2012
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As Tony says, I don't think there's any risk they'll contact them, they certainly never contacted my ex boss.

I used the same letterhead and content for me and my partner, who has never worked with my ex boss, I just gave him a different job title but everything else was pretty much the same. Although I did use different home addresses - I only did this because that's the way we ended up splitting our banks/mail, mine to my folks, his to his.
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  #6  
Old 9 Oct 2012
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+1 for Real Russia

Last year we got a 6 month multi entry business visa. LOI from Stantours and visa application from Real Russia. Worth paying their fees just for peace of mind.
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  #7  
Old 10 Oct 2012
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Just for your all information as i was again last weekend in Russia and had a chat with a guy who run into problems when riding in Russia with motorcycle using business visa.

If your going to Russia with motorcycle you need to always have culture visa. Motorcycle travelling in Russia using busines visa is against legistlation and can get you into trouble (not big ones but means some extra money loss) I know VISA's are not checked very regularly by police anymore in Russia (and i doubth if even all regular police knowns this) but to stay on safe side i in future always apply culture visa for motorcycle travelling.

Business visas are cheaper to apply and issue so that is reason why most agencies deliver them to traveller. I have also had one as i used different agent i normally use. Now it is culture visa.
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  #8  
Old 10 Oct 2012
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Reference to this please, so I can check it out locally.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tirpse View Post
Motorcycle travelling in Russia using busines visa is against legistlation and can get you into trouble
That is news to me and the many riders I meet on their way through or are staying/living here under Business Visas - not to mention the buddies I have travelled with all over the country.

I have been stopped many, many times on a moto when having 12 month MEB Visas (I now have Residency Permits). That included the ever-sensitive North Caucuses area including the edges of Chechnia and Dagestan. Also as far away as near Vladivostock, so close to the Chinese border that my mobile phone got messages welcoming me there, along the east BAM where there had only ever been 2 foreign motos before (they even took our passports to the Police Station to photocopy them never having seen foreign ones before) and at very regular intervals westwards in both remote communities and large cities.



I would like a direct reference to this claim please (not a second hand tale of an 'encounter' by someone else). Then I can check it out elsewhere, including at my local УФМС office that I am visiting in the next week or two on other matters.
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  #9  
Old 10 Oct 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tirpse View Post
Just for your all information as i was again last weekend in Russia and had a chat with a guy who run into problems when riding in Russia with motorcycle using business visa.

.
We travelled the width of Russia from Vladivostok to Rostov via Volgograd and riding our two motorcycles on a business visa was not an issue - we met many others (none of whom had a cultural visa) also with no problems.

Are you saying that Russia legislates that you cannot come on business riding a motorcycle ?
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Old 11 Oct 2012
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I will also ad here that we travelled in and out Russia on ME business visa with no problems, including a very through passport check in Vlad just before APEC.

All no issue what so ever.

What if your business was exploring overland travel for motorcycles?

I imagine that if business visas were such an issue guys like Tony and Walter would have told us well before now as they would have run into it.
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  #11  
Old 11 Oct 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony P View Post
I would like a direct reference to this claim please (not a second hand tale of an 'encounter' by someone else). Then I can check it out elsewhere, including at my local УФМС office that I am visiting in the next week or two on other matters.
I have also travelled on Russia with motorcycle using both visas (busines and cultural) and havent never had any problems with visas.

This claim comes from a finnish guy who i spoke with last weekend. Several of them had to travel to local police station in Carelia as they were stopped by police and passports were checked. They got fined for travelling with Business visa using motorcycle. This happened some time ago. I think last year. Other members of group who had culture visa didnt get any interest from police.

So i trust this as they got fined and i make sure next year i am applying again multientry one year visa i mention i am travelling with motorcycle and that i need cultural visa.

Friend also asked from finnish travel agency which has organised Russian visas 15 years (Lot of them as travelling between Russia&Finland is now active and there are lot of people crossing borders all the time) which visa should be used when travelling with motorcycle in Russia. Answer was "definately cultural visa".

That said its up to anyone to make up their mind. Most likely you wont have any problems travelling with business visa but there is always a change for that. And Russia is Russia, in good and bad. Thats why i like it so much.
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  #12  
Old 11 Oct 2012
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Looks like we are going with 'Cultural' from Stantours. I just need to sort out the Bank Statement bit of it. The current account is good for 2 months but I may need to wait till the end of November to get the 3rd

Has anyone supplied a bank statement for a savings account? Is that acceptable? I have plenty in there since 2009!

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  #13  
Old 17 Oct 2012
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The business visa was fine for me also, one border guard going from Kazakhstan into Russia (near Pavlodar) raised in conversation "Commercial visa?" to which he shrugged when i said a bit of business a bit of pleasure using gestures and pigeon russian.

Who's to say you could not come across business opportunities while enjoying a nice ride anyway?

You would not need bank statements if a covering letter (on headed paper of a company that will never be contacted) states the applicant will carry enough cash and credit cards to fund the trip...

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  #14  
Old 7 Dec 2012
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Good news. I got the original LOI through the door today and am putting through the visa application online now.

1 more stumbling block is the need for insurance. We have yet to order any for our 12 months away as I was going to max out its length by leaving it till the last week. However It seems that it is 'strongly recommended' to take some out and to send a copy along with your visa.

Should I do this 1st? or have people applied and been granted WITHOUT taking any insurance?

Cheers, nearly there

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  #15  
Old 7 Dec 2012
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and what is with the 'have you visited any countries in the last 10 years'!?
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