How To Apply for Russian Tourist Visa in the Philippines
By DAN FORTEZA
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You should totally go to Russia! Yes, you! See the beautiful Red Square perhaps, explore the downtown Moscow City, or even drink some cold bottles of vodka. I mean why not? Getting a Russian Tourist Visa is not that hard to get, in fact, it is the easiest tourist visa I have applied for.
LIST OF REQUIREMENTS FOR RUSSIAN TOURIST VISA
For us Philippine passport holders, application for Russian tourist VISA application requires only five (5) documents:
A. DULY ACCOMPLISHED VISA APPLICATION FORM
B. VALID PASSPORT
C. ONE PASSPORT-SIZED PHOTO
D. TRAVEL VOUCHER / CONFIRMATION
E. CONFIRMED FLIGHT TICKETS
This is the shortest list of requirements I’ve ever seen in my entire life!
Although they require the silly ticket reservations, kudos for not requiring the Certificate of Employee, Bank Certificate, Income Tax Return, detailed itinerary..and the list goes on and on. That’s a relief to most of us.
But before I give you the details on how to apply, I’d like to start off by saying that no one can give you the guarantee of your Russian tourist visa’s approval – not me, not even a lawyer or a travel agent. If anyone does, is most likely a scammer!
As a travel blogger, what I can offer you here is just a guide with helpful tips to increase your chances of getting that Russian tourist visa.
So let’s get started.
GET YOUR RUSSIAN TOURIST VISA IN 4 EASY STEPS!
STEP 1: PREPARE THE DOCUMENTS REQUIRED
Now that we know the required documents, let’s break them down.
A. Visa Application Form – Go to this link to start your application. Make sure you read all the instructions before proceeding. Fill up the form completely ONLINE. You basically need to fill up your visa details, personal details, passport details, visit details, and your appointment details. When you get to the Visit Details page, you will need to provide the confirmation number on your Travel Voucher/Confirmation. More details on how to get your voucher on section D.
Note: Even your application form is not yet finished, you can save it and retrieve when you’re ready to edit again. Just make sure you save your Application ID code.
B. Valid Passport – This is an easy one. Just make sure your passport is valid not less than six months from the date of your departure from Russia.
C. One Passport Sized Photo – This is an easy one, too. This photo will be glued on your printed application form.
D. Travel Voucher / Confirmation – Now, this is probably the trickiest one.
What exactly is a Travel Voucher/Confirmation? This is probably the trickiest item in the list so I look for further explanation on some travel blogs and travel forums around. In simple terms I can put it, this is just a certificate being requested from a certified Russian travel agency in partnership with hotels or any lodging accommodation. It contains the dates of your arrival and departure in Russia, your hotel name and address as well as your personal information.
There are a couple of Russian travel agencies or websites which do offer this and you’ll find them over the web. During my application, I tried one at www.moscow-hotels.net. Good news is it’s FOR FREE! Provided that you’ll either book hotel accommodations at their website (*which I find very expensive by the way*) or at booking.com using only the link from their site. By using the link, the moscow-hotels receives a small commission from Booking.Com due to referrals. I do prefer using booking.com link because I can find a lot of cheaper accommodation there.
Go to this link to get to the page on the snapshot below (please read the full instruction in their page). Just click that circled link and it will lead you to Booking.com. From there, book your hotel/hostel accommodation and pay it in full.
Yes, you have to pay it in FULL, otherwise your voucher will not be processed. After booking your accommodation on Booking.com, you will receive a confirmation email with a booking number. And so by following the next step, you just need to provide your personal and travel information including the booking number to complete your visa support request from Moscow-Hostels.
I submitted my voucher request at 1:00 PM then at around 9:00 PM on the same day, I got an email with my travel voucher attached. Woo hoo!!
E. Flight Tickets– Yes, this should be booked prior to your application. The dates (arrival and departure) here should be the same as in the confirmation and application form. This will also be the date of validity on your visa if approved. (You may search Kayak below to find the cheapest flight in and out of Russia.)
STEP 2: SUBMIT THE ABOVE-MENTIONED DOCUMENTS TO THE RUSSIAN EMBASSY
Please print the documents and head to the Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Philippines to submit your Russian tourist visa application.
Where: Room 402 A, 4 fl., RCI Building, 105 Rada Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City.
Working hours: Monday – 08:00 AM – 5:00, Tuesday, and Friday – 08:00AM – 4:00PM
Take note: The application typically opens at 10:00AM until 1:00PM. So please get there in the morning. Get there as EARLY as 6:30AM if you want to be the first in line. It is a ‘first-log-in, first served’ basis.
STEP 3: PAY FOR THE VISA FEE
Once done submitting, you’ll be given a deposit slip to be paid at UCPB. The Embassy does not accept cash. The nearest UCPB branch is Herrera branch shown below.
Regular processing fee costs PhP3,612.00 in two weeks time to claim.
Once payment is done, you need to come back to the Embassy to get your Claim Slip.
STEP 4: WAIT. RETURN. CLAIM YOUR PASSPORT/VISA
Typically, the Embassy will schedule you to come back in 2 weeks time after your application. The Embassy will give you a claim slip when you finished the application process.
My PAID Claim Slip is shown below.
MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE:
I must say that reading blogs really helped a lot from the very start of my application. After getting all my document ready and printed, time to head to the Embassy! I was guided by the blogs that I need to go the Russian Embassy Consular Office EARLY in order to log on to the applicants’ list as it is a ‘first log, first serve’ basis.
By the way, do not be confused with the Russian Embassy Main Office at Dasmariñas Village, Makati. All visa application shall be made at 4th Fl., RCI bldg. in Rada St, Legaspi Village, Makati – the Consular Section is located here. So I walked about 15 minutes from Ayala MRT station to the location. Google map is always a friend you can depend on!
I arrived at the Russian Embassy Consular Office at around 6:30AM and I am the second person to log. The Office opens at 10:00AM, so imagine how much time you need to wait. Patience is the key! You can tambay muna sa 7-11 store (back of the RCI building) if you want.
At about 9:15am, we were told by the guard to proceed to the 4th floor and wait. The waiting room is small with about 15 seats only. But it was not that crowded, see photo below. The time the window opens at 10:25 AM, the guard orderly organized the queue. Releasing first then Application next.
When it was my turn, I just handed over my documents to the Consular officer at the transaction window. He checks them then asks me if ‘Regular’ or ‘Fast’. ‘Regular’ processing costs P3,612.00 in two weeks time to claim. I choose ‘Regular ‘ and he gives me the claim stub that needs to be paid to the UCBP bank – the Herrera branch which is a few blocks away . Once paid, I returned to the Consular office and show the ‘paid’ stamped slip. The slip is yours for claiming so keep it! Finally, I was done at around 11:30AM.
Moreover, I was told by one applicant there (I think she works in a tour agency since she has these tons of passports and other documents with her) that Releasing is only done in the morning and so is the Application. The Consular office is closed normally in the afternoon, she added. Again, important to take note of: the Consular office is only open M-Tu-F as they have different working days!
Then after two weeks…
I returned to the Embassy. Same process as before: RELEASING process first then APPLICATION process next. I patiently waited till my passport is handed over to me. When my name was called, the Consular guy happily gave me my passport with an APPROVED VISA!
Woo hoo! Again, I believe as long as you have completed the requirements, you have a big chance of approval!
RECOMMENDED PACKAGE TOURS
In case you’re also looking for package tours to justify your tourism activity in Russia for either visa purposes or simply jumpstarting your actual itinerary, I highly recommend booking tours through Viator which is perfect for your Russian itinerary. See tours and packages I personally handpicked for you:
- Small-Group Moscow City Walking Tour
- City Sightseeing Moscow Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour with Optional Cruise
- Moscow Metro Tour
- Moscow Private 2-Day Tour
- ALL-INCLUSIVE: Full-Day Tour of St Petersburg
- St. Petersburg Shore Excursion: Small-Group 2-Day Visa-Free Tour Including Boat Ride
(you may choose one or more tours that suit your travel needs)
- Hotel / Hostel
- Moscow-hotels.net via Booking.com. Use the link I shared above to book your hostel.
- KAYAK. All of my flight bookings are all from KAYAK. Kayak is one of the world’s leading travel search engines and searches hundreds of travel sites.
I suggest you check Kayak (click HERE) as they usually offer cheap fare rates compared to other booking sites.
- Travel Insurance
- World Nomads. If you don’t have travel insurance when times get tough, basically you are screwed. Traveling always comes with inherent risks attached. Whether you are trekking in the Ural mountains or wandering the streets of Moscow, unforeseen events can suddenly upend your world. Generally speaking, travel insurance covers you for the following: Medical Costs – hospital visits, emergencies, evacuations; Property Loss – luggage and their contents; Travel Issues – accommodation and transportation expenses. Thus, I highly recommend you guys getting a travel insurance. I bought one from the World Nomads (available in 130+ countries) where most travelers get their travel insurances.
Go to this link to get to your World Nomads travel insurance.