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Author jeanbon
Registered
#31 | Posted: 31 Jul 2017 07:38 
Solivagant:
This month Russia altered its visa application details for UK citizens (at least) and thus joined the list of countries which, because of their visa regulations, we will NOT be revisiting! They claim that the changes were to provide equality with the requirements by UK of their citizens - and I do know that UK can make things very difficult for some nationalities to obtain UK Tourist visas - my question is whether the sorts of requirements below are being asked of other members of this forum from different countries.Need to
a. attend a Russian Consulate in person to have fingerprints taken - in UK there is NO booking system so one is potentially faced with the problem of travelling 250 miles and finding a mile long queue of others already there!
b. list all countries visited in the last 10 (TEN!) years WITH DATES! (Could be 100 countries in our case!)
c. list all social media IDs - Facebook, Instagram etc (I wonder if they consider this Web site/forum to be "Social Media")
d. Provide details of all previous passports (around 7 in my case!)
e. Banking and income détails
f. Names and addresses of all educational institutions attended and membership of professional etc institutions

Actually Russia changes their visa requirements each year. But it's very nebulous in any case. I used the official french consulate to obtain the visa (in june), but my friends used a private company specialized in the visa obtaining. They finally spent 189€ when i spent 85€. It can be complicated to obtain insurances and a voucher of a hostel (or similar), but you can save 100€! In fact, you should ask for the russian official consulate in England to have all the useful informations.
It's also different if you want to stay there more or less than 15 days.

A) I don't think i needed fingerprints for Russia.
B) bullshits, it's a classic question of several countries, but generally useless. You fill in some of them and that's it, you often don't have enough place to write all of the visited countries
c) Not required in my case. And this site is not a social media :)
d) Wooww...not required, but it's a weird question, what does mean "details"? Adresses, weight? lol
e) not required
f) ?

I can't imagine they will be taxing as well while 2018 World Cup is approaching.

For the moment, it's more complicated for me to go to US (or just transit) because of my Iranian trip (terrorist land you know lol)

Author barabanov
Registered
#32 | Posted: 31 Jul 2017 09:06 
As Russian, who is applying for all visas (USA, UK, Schengen) for the last 12 years all the time, I can say that the UK visa is the hard thing for Russians as well. Last time I obtained it was in December 2016. The cost of multiple business visa valid for 2 years was about 500 US Dollars (official fee plus some most common added services). Application process took about 1 month from submitting all the documents till decision date. The questionnaire is in fact quite detailed and you have to prepare a lot of documents with bank statements confiring you're wealthy, certificates for holding some assets (land, flat, car) and translate all this into English.
For Schengen visa the process is more straightforward. Right now I will be applying for 5-years business visa to The Netherlands. You just have to submit a reasonable set of the document plus quite easy questionnaire.
US Visa is just superlengthy questionnaire, visit to US Embassy for interview/footprints, money and you receive automatically 2-year visa (after that 3-year visa). Recently they introduced all social network logins to be listed, not heard about UK/Schengen.
I will check, but the position of the authorities with respect to the World Cup was very firm: you just have to have official FIFA fan ID and ticket for any match and you can enter Russia without any visas. But this is only for that quite short window in 2018.

Author meltwaterfalls
Registered
#33 | Posted: 31 Jul 2017 09:53 
barabanov:
I will check, but the position of the authorities with respect to the World Cup was very firm: you just have to have official FIFA fan ID and ticket for any match and you can enter Russia without any visas. But this is only for that quite short window in 2018.

Oh thanks for this info, I may have to investigate further if that is the case, it could be a good way to get for a visit during the World Cup (major sports events tend to be a great time to visit a country in my experience).

Even better if Australia qualify as I have a ready and willing group to go with (though we all said this before starting families) and the Socceroo's fanatics perhaps won't be as burdened with threats of violence as the England fans.

Author Solivagant
Registered
#34 | Posted: 31 Jul 2017 09:54 | Edited by: Solivagant 
jeanbon:
A) I don't think i needed fingerprints for Russia.

Interesting that you aren't sure! I can remember ALL the occasions I have had to give my fingerprints - maybe you have had to do it a lot of times!!
This is in fact the major NEW requirement added last month for UK citizens to get a visa and my main reason for asking the question was to discover if this requirement was more widespread or was simply a "tit for tat" for UK citizens. It mirrors the UK requirement for Russians whereby they have to go one of Moscow, St Petersburg, Ekaterinburg, Rostov on Don or Novosibirsk to give "biometric" data - quite a journey if you live in e.g Vladivostok!
It is the "Killer" requirement for us - I just don't want to go to Russia again enough to face all the hassle and cost of an extra trip to London, Edinburgh or Manchester to get a visa

jeanbon:
bullshits, it's a classic question of several countries, but generally useless

Yes - most of the Russian "bureaucratic" questions are similar to those asked by many countries -but they ARE more "extreme". "All" previous passports for instance - it is more normal to ask just for the previous one (Number and date of issue - not "weight and height"!) in order to provide an "audit trail". And countries visited in the "last 10 years" - it is usually over a much shorter period. It is clearly important to make sure you include all countries whose stamps are in the passport you provided but what do you do about other "dodgy" ones - Maybe Russia isn't too concerned but would you like to "guarantee" that the DHS, for instance, doesn't "know" if you have ever been to e.g Syria or Iran in the past - so is it better to be "honest" or "forgetful"? And, as others have recognised, the "Social media" question would seem to be part of an unfortunate coming "trend"

BUT I would advise against treating such questions simply as "Bullshit". The problem is that the more questions there are and the wider they range the more chance there is of some "jobsworth" or badly trained/grumpy clerk making life difficult - and we have had experience of this across the many countries whose visas we have applied for.

jeanbon:
And this site is not a social media :)

Sorry jeanbon but, stricto sensu, this web site IS "Social media"! See the Webster definition - "forms of electronic communication (such as websites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (such as videos)". There is evidence in guide books and on the Web, that some embassies in some circumstances do feed the names of visa applicants into search engines and look at the results. Would you consider "LinkedIn" to be "social media" - if you are on it then it provides a VERY good history of your working life and your professions/contacts! Want to discover if someone has ever visited Israel? If you have used your real name and recorded a visit on THIS Web site then they could find out just via a Google query. OK - 99 times out of 100 they aren't going to look, but you are risking a lot of wasted money on non returnable airfares, the non returnable visa cost and that expensive trip down to London (as well as the loss of a holiday) if you are unlucky and they do find out (One reason, by the way, why I only use a pseudonym on this Web site!
In the last few years we have had experiences whereby the answer to the question "What previous names have you had" on a Pakistani visa application has led to additional problems because, if a woman admits that before marriage she had a maiden name (which is the "normal" response to this question) then they ask for a Marriage certificate etc ! Another difficulty created by Pakistan was the fact that they took a time issuing the visas so that the "bank statements" no longer covered the "previous 3 months" as we had moved into a new month - we had to get a new bank statement to them!!

Our Algerian visa application a few years ago hit the buffers for a while because the list of towns we were visiting (which we of course minimised not mentioning everything!) included one where the clerk said we needed a special "Police permission letter". This was incorrect and we were in a Catch 22 situation - since obviously no such letter could be obtained. The only way was to get the itinerary changed by our Algerian agent - even though we still visited the original town! Gabon wasn't happy with a statement that we were retired and not employed and I had to get a letter from my last employer stating this fact. I could list many more examples of difficulties getting visas and in deciding how fully/truthfully to answer "stupid" bureaucratic questions - the more there are the more "problems" you can have!

barabanov:
I can say that the UK visa is the hard thing for Russians as well. Last time I obtained it was in December 2016. The cost of multiple business visa valid for 2 years was about 500 US Dollars (official fee plus some most common added services). Application process took about 1 month from submitting all the documents till decision date.

I did say that UK makes life difficult for tourists (even our stupid government realises that we are losing loads of Chinese tourists who get a Schengen visa but can't be bothered to go through the additional hassle and cost for a separate UK one!) but getting what is more than a simple single entry tourist visa is always more difficult and costly - and only 1 month to do so was quite good. Our single entry tourist visas for Iran last year took FOUR months to obtain and we had to decide whether to apply to Dublin, Frankfurt, Berlin or Stockholm (no visa issuing in London then) was the easiest. They ALL had different "Difficulties" regarding finger prints, insurance etc etc! (We used Frankfurt and apart from the delay it worked out ok)

Author clyde
Registered
#35 | Posted: 31 Jul 2017 10:06 
Solivagant, I just filled in the electronic form available on the Russian Embassy/Consulate in Luxembourg website, provided the hotel VOUCHER/Invitation (not CONFIRMATION - they are quite fussy on having this specific document and health insurance specifically mentioning that it's valid in Russia.

It's the same procedure I followed last year when I went to Moscow and LUCKILY none of those ridiculous questions where asked - it seems to be a 'courtesy' set of questions for the UK (although I've seen UK expats applying like I did in Luxembourg without any problems or hassles). It might be more convenient for you to hop on a flight to Luxembourg :)

Author Solivagant
Registered
#36 | Posted: 31 Jul 2017 10:15 | Edited by: Solivagant 
clyde:
t might be more convenient for you to hop on a flight to Luxembourg :)

Thanks for the info about the Luxembourg situation which is clearly a LOT easier than that operating for UK citizens but you must be joking about "hopping on a plane to Luxembourg" - I would have to go down to London for that (or change in Paris etc on an expensive scheduled flight from Newcastle), so might as well call in at the Russian embassy there. I am not "made of money"! And many countries (Including I suspect, Russia) will not allow the application for a visa from a country other than one's home residence IF they have an embassy there (purely to prevent this sort of way of avoiding the restrictions placed on certain nationalities), unless the applicant is clearly living temporarily/travelling for a long time away from home -which is how genuine "Expats" living in Luxembourg can get away with it (E.g Yourself with a Maltese passport). And even this latter reason is often NOT allowed - the Thorn Tree etc is full of examples of people who have had to return to their home country in order to apply for a visa for some countries whilst travelling around the World.

Author nfmungard
Registered
#37 | Posted: 31 Jul 2017 11:17 | Edited by: nfmungard 
Solivagant
In Germany most Germans who want to go to Russia use private visa services who handle the consulate hassle etc. I would assume those exist in the UK, too, and that they will be able to take care of those immense requirements for you ... In Gemany this service isn't all that expensive.

If there is no way around those requirements (not even with support by Russians), I wouldn't travel to Russia either. Even though I really liked Suzdal. Kazan should be easy pickings. And venturing off to the remote Northern monasteries would be a dream.

Author Solivagant
Registered
#38 | Posted: 31 Jul 2017 11:43 | Edited by: Solivagant 
nfmungard:
and that they will be able to take care if those immense requirements for you

Yes Nan -that is the approach we have used over the years for some visas BUT, as in the case of our Pakistani visa experience they do not always overcome the problem of awkward bureaucrats - most of them are purely "post boxes" since most embassies in UK no longer accept Visa applications by post. Most importantly - they do NOT overcome the main problem I have cited for the Russian visa - the need to go to the Embassy for fingerprints. At least one such agency has the right to do the fingerprinting on behalf of the Russian Consulate - but one STILL has to go to London to do so -so, at best it avoids any embassy queues.

nfmungard:
In Gemany this service isn't all that expensive.

"Expensive" is a relative concept - in UK they usually cost c £60 and up per person plus all the postage costs etc on top of the visa cost itself - so using one for Russian visa will cost c£150 and up pp for a single entry tourist visa

I have just noticed another Bureaucratic hurdle for obtaining a Russian visa "You .... require an insurance policy for the whole period of your stay in Russia. The policy document should show the validity for the duration of the journey as well as indicate the geographical area coverage as 'worldwide/including Russia'. Out of interest - did you have to show such a certificate for your recent Russian visa?
My Travel insurance certificate simply says "World Wide including N America" - now would you risk using such a certificate when applying? Ok my insurance company "might" be prepared to issue a "special certificate" or I argue that "Worldwide" clearly includes Russia!

Author jeanbon
Registered
#39 | Posted: 31 Jul 2017 11:51 
I believed it was not so hard for british people to obtain visas (like for French)

Solivagant:
Interesting that you aren't sure! I can remember ALL the occasions I have had to give my fingerprints -

Really? In fact, i remind it was not for Russia. I read it for another country, maybe for US, i am not sure. Or Iran? No I'm sorry i don't remember, but i'm sure now it wasn't for Russia!

Solivagant:
"All" previous passports for instance - it is more normal to ask just for the previous one (Number and date of issue - not "weight and height"!) in order to provide an "audit trail". And countries visited in the "last 10 years" - it is usually over a much shorter period. It is clearly important to make sure you include all countries whose stamps are in the passport you provided but what do you do about other "dodgy" ones - Maybe Russia isn't too concerned but would you like to "guarantee" that the DHS, for instance, doesn't "know" if you have ever been to e.g Syria or Iran in the past - so is it better to be "honest" or "forgetful"?

Ok. I didn't know this kind of question. How can you remember the numbers and dates of issues of previous passports??
You're right, you can write the names of countries which are notified in your passport, it's better! But for example, it's useless to write France or Spain. Or a further country where you have been 9 years ago (and if it's not in your passport). It clearly depends on the countries you've visited. I wrote "Iran" in the russian registration, but diplomatically, there is no worry...When i will change my passport and go to US, i will forget to write Iran and Russia :D

Sorry jeanbon but, stricto sensu, this web site IS "Social media"!

I'm impressed! So many examples! No but I guess you can forget to write this private forum! I think i am more optimistic than you.

Author Solivagant
Registered
#40 | Posted: 31 Jul 2017 11:52 | Edited by: Solivagant 
nfmungard:
For me it would be foremost the language barrier. The place is great but really hard to navigate with nobody speaking even the tiniest amount of English.

At least Cyrillic is easy to learn compared with other non Latin scripts which increases the ease of using phrase books and dictionaries compared with e.g Arabic! A low %ge of English/French/German/Spanish speakers does of course make independent travel more difficult and Russia is going to be at or close the top of a dual "Alphabet/lack of people speaking other European languages" double difficulty.

When we were in S Korea earlier this year we expected to be able to meet enough English speakers to be able to handle the language/script difficulty - and all the important signs/notice boards one is going to come across as a tourist were written in Latin and Hangul – and this was usually the case But, at the Daegokcheon Stream Petroglyphs neither of the 2 ladies at the visitor centre spoke any English and I had 2 questions for them
a. Can I drive to BOTH petroglyph sites - if so - How!
b. If I can only have time to walk to one of them which is the better to choose ?
These rather stretched my vocabulary of "gestures" and signs - but it was no problem! One of the ladies got out her mobile, I spoke into it and it came up with a Hangul text version which was perfectly adequate. She then reversed the procedure and, bingo, we had an answer in English!!!

Does anyone have experiencing of travelling with technologies such as "Voice Translation"? Any recommendation as to a good app for this?
"Image Recognition" is another technology which I understand is useful in China – take a "photo" of a Chinese sign or a word on a page and get it translated. Has anyone used this around the World?

Author Solivagant
Registered
#41 | Posted: 31 Jul 2017 12:22 | Edited by: Solivagant 
jeanbon:
When i will change my passport and go to US, i will forget to write Iran and Russia :D

So - it is the year 2020 and you have a new passport. with no Iranian visa in it! You apply to go to USA on the visa waiver program and fill in the ESTA form - No you haven't been to any of the "Terrorist countries" in the last 5 years"!
BUT - the CIA/DHS etc has a web crawler application which uses words like "Iran" just to catch out potential terrorists like your good self - this matches "Iran" with "M Jean Lecaillon" and (even Google!) comes up with you at the very TOP of the page!!! -
https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=%22jean+lecaillon%22+iran&oq=%22jean+lecaillon%22+i ran&gs_l=psy-ab.3..35i39k1.6859.9435.0.9936.2.2.0.0.0.0.116.220.0j2.2.0....0...1.1.64 .psy-ab..0.1.115.TlycIhCZzjw-

Oh - don't bother to erase this info - it is already held FOR EVER on the Wayback Machine Web archive! Don't believe me? Try it! So the CIA/DHS aren't going to worry about a few megabytes of "history".

Ok they may not bother, but the CIA knows "everything"!! For instance - they DO catch out people who say they have never been arrested because they pick up such information and keep it - are you sure they don't do the same for Iran and Russia! A friend of mine had a common name which was the same as someone who had committed a crime - they also shared a birthday! He had to get an official letter with his photo stating that he was NOT "person XXXX" in order to avoid being arrested at entry points and being held whilst getting the UK police to confirm it wasn't him!

Author jeanbon
Registered
#42 | Posted: 31 Jul 2017 12:26 
Wow...but that means i will never can go to US anymore? And transit? you're scaring me

Author Solivagant
Registered
#43 | Posted: 31 Jul 2017 12:32 
jeanbon:
but that means i will never can go to US anymore? And transit? you're scaring me

No - only for 5 years after your visit ...... unless your passport photo shows you with a beard of course!

Author elsslots
Admin
#44 | Posted: 31 Jul 2017 12:50 
clyde:
Solivagant, I just filled in the electronic form available on the Russian Embassy/Consulate in Luxembourg website, provided the hotel VOUCHER/Invitation (not CONFIRMATION - they are quite fussy on having this specific document and health insurance specifically mentioning that it's valid in Russia.

It's the same procedure I followed last year when I went to Moscow and LUCKILY none of those ridiculous questions where asked - it seems to be a 'courtesy' set of questions for the UK (although I've seen UK expats applying like I did in Luxembourg without any problems or hassles). It might be more convenient for you to hop on a flight to Luxembourg :)

I just looked at the criteria for Dutch citizens applying for a Russian visa in NL, and the procedure seems to be unchanged as well (and similar to the Luxemburg one).

Author nfmungard
Registered
#45 | Posted: 31 Jul 2017 13:26 | Edited by: nfmungard 
jeanbon:
Wow...but that means i will never can go to US anymore? And transit? you're scaring me

I think they are messing with you. Having been to Iran does not cancel any US trip for 5 years. It just makes you unsuited for ESTA. Instead you have to go the embassy, do a Gesinnungscheck as we would call them in German and then you get a Visa; a friend recently did. I think on top it costs you 100$. It should go without saying, but I would definitively NEVER lie to the American (or German for that matter) immigration authorities. And yes, a simple transit via the US requires ESTA or a normal visa, making flights via the US very unattractive for anyone. Apart from the paperwork you may also spend hours in immigration at the arriving US Airport albeit you don't even plan to visit.

Solivagant:
one STILL has to go to London to do so -so, at best it avoids any embassy queues.

With Russia I am less certain of everything being set in stone. If you find the right people, that is.

Solivagant:
so using one for Russian visa will cost c£150 and up pp for a single entry tourist visa

Looking at your missing map, I doubt you were opting for the weekend getaway. If you stay several weeks, I would find the costs acceptable, especially if the FX rates work in your favor and you travel a lot in the rather cheap country side.

Solivagant:
Out of interest - did you have to show such a certificate for your recent Russian visa?

Wrote my travel insurance and asked for the letter. They provided it as PDF, no fuss, as they seem to get this request regularly.

Solivagant:
Oh - don't bother to erase this info - it is already held FOR EVER on the Wayback Machine Web archive! Don't believe me? Try it! So the CIA/DHS aren't going to worry about a few megabytes of "history".

I would also not bank on the Americans forgetting information about American citizens or not having access to sensitive data.

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