The Russian Visa: A Country’s Cover Charge

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There are certain things I hate paying for. These include annual fees for credit cards, valet parking, and visas. Trying to avoid both the payment and the process of sending in my passport is why I have found myself in visa trouble. My latest visa adventure went very smoothly. This time I sent my passport into Visahq.com to handle my three-year multi-entry Russian visa. This morning, FedEx returned my passport to my Vegas hotel just in time for my trip to Grand Cayman and Colombia, countries that do not require a visa for tourists.

The cost for all of this was $378. Here’s the breakdown:

  • $193 embassy fee for three-year multi-entry
  • $79 agency service fee
  • $50 invitation letter
  • $56 all shipping including expedited overnight shipping

I could have saved money on shipping if I was not in a rush and perhaps other agencies process visas for cheaper but I do not mind paying the extras for peace of mind. I plan on staying in Moscow and St. Petersburg for a week and will certainly return again to make the most of my visa inconvenience.

The agency received my application on August 17th and returned it to me on August 29th.

Would you skip a country because it requires a visa?

 

 

15 COMMENTS

  1. while riding my bike around the world, russia wouldn’t give me a tourist visa with a duration long enough to pedal through their monstrously huge country. so i flipped it south, kept unspent visa money in my pocket, and met a girl in latvia. and for that i said a spasiba to deities i’ll never claim to know.

  2. yes… i’m willing to pay up to $100 for a visa. That’s why countries like Angola, Mozambique Russia have to wait. Maybe I will go for world cup in 2018 held in Russia. Putin has already said that ticket holders to the games will not be required to purchase visa.

    • At least it’s multi entry. How great is the Chinese ten year for $200? Or the Cambodian 3 year to stay as a tourist…

      • Yes and No. I do not understand why countries would prevent tourists from visiting their countries. I have always wanted to go to Mozambique, Angola, Russia or Congo but the visa adds another 150-250$.
        Compared to citizens of USA only i’m in a ‘preferred’ position because I also hold Polish passport. That passport helped me save a lot of money on visa in countries like Argentina, Brazil, Bangladesh, Chile and Syria (right before the war started).

        In the current situation $200 for a 10 year Chinese visa is a very good deal

        • I hate the money part obviously and it is a deterrent but I think sending my passport away is more annoying than the fee.

  3. I just got back on Sunday from a 3 week trip to Europe which I ended in Moscow on purpose to take the Singapore Airlines flight from DME-IAH. Although I was only in Moscow for less than 24hours I set up a private tour of the city where they picked me up from the airport and dropped me off at my hotel after the tour and took me to the airport sunday morning for that flight. While the Visa process was lengthy and pricey it was totally worth it. I really enjoyed Moscow and was blown away by its beauty. I would definitely do it again in the future.

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