Travelling to (and inside) Russia

Russian is a fascinating country to visit but it can be daunting for a number of reasons.  One of these, of course, is the language.  Going on an organised trip usually gets around that problem if you cannot speak the lingo but another is obtaining a visa.  Getting the necessary documentation together can be a real pain and filling in the form, very frustrating, particularly when the official web site tells you not all of the fields are necessary and you get your application returned (and delayed) when you find out that some of the 'non-mandatory' items are required after all.  Although it is not necessary to get an agency to process your forms and charge a fee for doing it, it does give you a degree of insurance; your forms are checked as soon as you have paid your fee and any mistakes can be rectified very quickly, without delaying the application at all.

Travelling inside Russia can also be problematical if, for instance, you want to travel by train.  Through bitter personal experience, the web sites that allow you to book tickets are not as reliable as they should be and it's often impossible in practice to rectify errors not of your own making when picking up tickets at the station prior to boarding your train.  Again, here an agency can help.  Real Russia (see below) is one of the better ones and their fees are very low.

Getting a visa the easy way

The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, made it a priority in 2011 to obtain agreement with the EU for visa-free travel and has opined that we will see a breakthrough 'this year'.  However, the EU are less enthusiastic about this ideal, fearing an increase in crime and illegal immigration, so it is likely that the visa requirement will be with us for some little time yet, particularly given the current feeling of unpleasantness between Russia and the west.  Having said that, the Russian Government has made it easier and less cumbersome for UK passport holders to enter the country whilst we wait by relaxing the three working day registration requirement to seven working days and from my own, personal, experience, you are no longer asked to produce your registration certificate(s) at passport control when you exit, (valid as of December 2014).

The company 'Real Russia', based in Islington, (north London), is long-established and is the only visa agency in the UK to own its own travel agency in Russia - which makes getting a visa a real breeze if you're not familiar with the process and makes it considerably quicker than filling in the original online form.  The author of this site has been using this company for the past nine or ten years, particularly for obtaining business and multi-entry visas, and has never had a problem.

Click on the image below to go to the site...

Real Russia