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
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.
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!
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)