For our RTW trip starting in September, I understand we will need to get visas for:
Before leaving the UK...! My question is what is the easiest (baring in mind money is an issue...!) way of organising all these?? I know you can send passports and application forms off to embassies - but not sure if this will be practical and not sure how long it will take for all of these to be sorted...!
Any help would be greatfully appreciated!!
Im no expert on this but i am going RTW next May and need some visas too. I plan on going to their embasys in London as i live just outside so its not hastle for me... where do you live? Some Visas are avalible over the net eg Oz... or some you can get once you have landed. The best way to find out how to get one is probably to go onto their goverment internet site. Im going Vietnam too and you need one to enter the country hence why im going to London to get it... sorry if im not much help
Thanks - your advice was very helpfull, especially as I didn't realise you can apply for Oz visa online - so that'll be much easier!! I live in Bournemouth so I can get to London without too much hassle, but obviously it does cost
Have you ever applie for visa's at the embassy - I read on one ebassy's website (It thought it was Vietnam, but i've been on so many I can't remember..!) that queues are very long, so I'm assuming would only be able to get one visa per day?!? Also do they always get issued the same day - and is there an extra charge for this?!? Sorry for the questions but my head is on overload at the moment with all the information I'm trying to take in - when all I want to do is get out of this office and see the world!!!
Russia is one of the hardest places in the world to get a visa for and unless you spend very big amounts of money, it does not get done quickly. I applied for mine in Sydney and it tooks 14 business days before it was finally issued and I had made sure that their was no little holes in my story for that section of my trip. You will need to be very careful with your visa to Russia that you don't conflict anything that is written on your application form with what is on the invitation letter you need to give to apply for the visa. You should also try and add a few days at the start and a few days at the end of your proposed dates in Russia (as long as your proof of onward travel doesn't conflict your story). You can enter after the arrival date on your visa but not before and you can leave before the departure date on your visa but not after. They are so messed up with regards to the visas in Russia that you will be in BIG trouble if you were to depart by train on the last day of your visa and not cross officially to another country before midnight.
As far as I know, in London you can apply for the Russian visa up to 3 months prior to your arrival date in to Russia. China wouldn't be able to be applied for until getting close to the arrival date in China (I think it needs to be done a maximum of 30 days prior to the date of arrival in to China otherwise the visa will not be valid when you get to the border (if you got as far as the border).
Not sure about a Mongolian visa, but given its neighbouring countries and how difficult they are to obtain visas you'd probably need to apply in advance.
I haven't applied for a visa for Belarus, but I have heard that it is much the same and possibly worse for Belarus even for a transit visa. If I was in your position unless you have a reason for transiting through Belarus, I would try and avoid it if possible to save yourself a lot of visa hassels and a lot of money for the visa that you'll need.
For Belarus, Russia, Mongolia & China take a look at the Real Russia website - they're have offices in both London & Russia, and I believe can organise all these visas for you back to back (for a bit of a fee of course!).
Thanks for both your replies - I still have a while to go, so hopefully have enough time - I have looked at the real russia website, and for ease I may end up using them, so thanks for the suggestion! But I will work out my money situation first as it would be quite a bit cheaper just sending stuff to each individual embassy especially as there are two of us...! Thanks as well aharrold - I think I may well add a day or two either side of the russian visa - and it'll probably be the first I apply for if I do do them individually so it's out the way...! I also didn't know Russia had to be within 30days - that's going to be very tight as we're travelling overland, leaving UK approx 10th September and getting to China around the 6th October... Do you know if it's 30 days from when application form submitted or date issued?!? I couldn't find this info on Chinese embassy website (I might be looking in wrong place though...!)
I also didn't know Russia had to be within 30days
Russia can be applied for up to 3 months in advance (or 6 months if you apply in Sydney) but will only be valid for a maximum of 30 days but you have to specify the dates you plan on being there. You are meant to pre-book all accommodation before going as well, but you can get around this, although depending on when you travel you may want to book well in advance anyway.
I have just read the wording for the tourist visa application for China (for Australian passport holders) and it states the validity of visa is 3 months from date of Issue for a maximum stay of 30 days. I know that they are extremely strict with not letting you in if the visa is applied for outside of the allowed validity range. Some people I know got turned back at their flights because they applied rather early for the visa and then because it was their fault they didn't read the instructions correctly, the travel insurance company didn't cover them even though they ended up losing well over $10,000.00 worth of travel arrangements that were non refundable!
The biggest pain for the visa will most likely be Russia, so do apply for that first and do allow the extra couple of days before and after your proposed entry and exit dates as long as any flights you have are not going to conflict this information. On the visa invitation letter you have, in all probability the accommodation places mentioned on the letter will not be where you actually stay, but you need to make sure on the visa application you fill it out as the places it mentions on the invitation letter so that you don't have complications with the application. After that you should probably apply for Belarus visa because that is also meant to be rather painful. Then probably apply for the rest of them in the order that you plan on visiting them.
The visa for China didn't take too long to get, so that can wait towards the end of all the applications. The visa for Vietnam is issued very quickly so that could wait until a little over a week (as long as no public holidays were in that week) from when you were to depart. Mine was issued the same day they would have received the application in the post.
I don't need a visa for Australia, but from what I have heard for UK passport holders unless you have a criminal record it is a very easy and quick process.
From what I have read, the same regulations apply for Mongolian visas as they are for the visa for China. This is in relation to the maximum length of stay and also the time frame of which you are allowed to apply for the visa before it will not be valid at the time you go to use it.