Russia Frequently Asked Questions

Russia Frequently Asked Questions

Visas

1. Do I need a visa to Russia?

Most nationals need a visa to travel to Russia.

2. How long does it take to obtain a Russian visa?

There are two types of services available at the moment: express and standard. Express service takes 2 working days, standard service takes 6 working days. Same-day service is not available any more.

3. What documents do I need to apply for a Russian visa?

The list of required documents depends on the nationality of the applicant and type of visa. If you’re a British national applying for a tourist visa, the following documents should be submitted: original passport (valid for at least 6 months upon date of exit with 2 clear pages), 1 photo, electronic visa application form printed and signed, and a booking form from the Russian National Tourist Office. For other nationalities, please call us. A Russian visa is valid in your current passport.

4. What does single/double entry visa mean?

A single entry visa allows you to enter Russia once, while double entry allows you to enter Russia twice within the period of validity of your Russian visa

5. How do I pay for my visa application to be processed through RNTO?

You can pay by debit or credit card (we accept all credit cards, however on AMEX we add a 3% surcharge), cash, cheques (for standard service only), or bank transfer.

6. Can I change the dates of my Russian visa if it has already been issued?

Unfortunately, you cannot change the dates if the visa has already been issued. In this case, you need to reapply, submitting all the required documents for the visa and paying the visa fee again.

7. Can I submit a handwritten application form if I’m having problems filling it in online?

All application forms are filled in online, printed off and signed by the applicant. However, if you’re having problems with the online application form, we can accept a handwritten form from you and type it in online on your behalf for a £10 charge.

8. Where do I collect my Russian visa?

You collect your visa at the same place where you submit your application. 

9. I have dual nationality, one of which is Russian. Can I apply for a Russian visa with my second passport?

Under Russian legislation, Russian nationals need to have a valid Russian passport to travel to Russia. Please click here for further information.

General questions about travelling to Russia:

1. Which is the best currency to take to Russia?

All prices in Russia are given in roubles, and it is prohibited by law for any outfit to accept any other currency except the national one. It would be worth exchanging your cash into roubles upon arrival in Russia. British pounds are very hard to exchange - only in Moscow, St Petersburg and some other host cities - and the rate may not be good, so it is better to bring USD or Euro. It’s also not recommended to bring traveller’s cheques to Russia. Try not to run out of cash, although major credit and debit cards are accepted in Russia.

2. Where is the best place to exchange money?

Changing money is rarely a problem in Russia. Almost every place, even the smallest town, has a bank or a currency exchange office. This is not always the case in the tiniest remote Siberian or mountain villages, but, generally, if the town has more than 1000 inhabitants, legally exchanging money will not be a problem.

3. What is the weather like in Russia?

The best time to visit Russia is May to September. Temperatures range from 21C-32C in the day to 10C-21C at night. Be aware that spring and autumn are unpredictable with snow flurries showing up in May and September, and mud ensuing. Take along with you waterproof shoes and a jacket.

4. Which means of transport is best to use in Moscow/St Petersburg?

The Moscow and St Petersburg Metro is a great alternative to using local taxi services. You'll travel fast, cheap and easy, skip most of the traffic, and save lots of time. This means of transport may not be very comfortable, but nothing beats it as the traffic gets worse by the year. Also, taxis cost a lot these days.

5. Can I purchase train/theatre/museum tickets at the RNTO office?

You can order train, theatre and museum tickets and excursions at our RNTO office. You can simply drop us an email with your travel request or contact us by telephone. We will try our best to find you the best available offers.

6. Who should I ask if I get lost in Russia? Do people speak English?

If you haven't learned to speak Russian yet and find yourself in a difficult situation, you can ask hotel receptionists, guides, translators or any English-speaking people to help you get around and find your way back to the hotel or train station.

In Russia’s big cities, you can buy a map or travel-guide in English with sightseeing locations. Russian transcription is found in most subways. If you get lost, you can turn to any policeman or passer-by for help. More and more people speak English in Russia with each passing year.

7. Are tourist places closed during public holidays in Russia?

There are a total of nine official holidays in Russia. All countries have their own set of holidays, but what’s different about Russia is that holidays last longer.

Another unique feature of Russia’s holidays is that all markets and public places remain open, and people are seen thronging the streets. The entertainment centres and recreational activities can be enjoyed till late evening, making it a fun-filled holiday for Russians.

8. Do I need to carry my original passport with me at any time during my trip to Russia?

Police have the authority to stop people and request their documents at any time without cause. Due to the possibility of random document checks by police, foreign citizens should carry their original passports, registered migration cards, and visas with them at all times. Failure to provide proper documentation can result in detention and/or heavy fines. It is not necessary for travellers to have either entry or itinerary points in the Russian Federation printed on their visas.

Air tickets

1. Do I need to reconfirm my flight before departure?

You do not have to reconfirm your flight before departure if you booked it with RNTO.
For all flights, we strongly recommend that you review your itinerary before travel to ensure you know your current schedule. Airlines do sometimes change flight numbers and times. If changes do happen, we will contact you via email or telephone with further details.
 

2. How many airlines/flights operate daily to Moscow/St Petersburg?

There are 2 airlines which operate direct flights to Moscow daily: Aeroflot and British Airways. Each airline has 2 to 4 flights a day. 
At the moment, British Airways flies to St Petersburg directly from Heathrow and Aeroflot (operated by Rossiya Airlines) flies from Gatwick. 

3. How much is a return ticket to Moscow/St Petersburg?

A return ticket to Moscow/St Petersburg costs approximately £220.00, depending on the season, day and flight availability.

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