I will be backpacking across Europe and SE Asia in May, my problem is getting a Russian visa. I am from Australia, so i wouldn't have a problem getting a visa from an embassy here in Brisbane or Sydney. I've been pulling my hair out trying to figure this out.
I will be in England for 3 weeks from 15 May to 1 of June when I will get to Paris. I will then spend 2 months going through other European countries (mostly Schengen Zones) before finally hitting Russia (moscow) but Visa's start from date of issue, so if i were to get it whilst in Australia the 90 (is the tourist visa even 90 days, now I can't even remember) days would be expired before I even hit Russia- I wanted to be in Russia for a week or so before I caught the Trans-Siberian to Beijing. Are there embassies or consulates in Europe that would allow an Australia to get a visa?
I don't believe visas start from date of issue and I believe they've lifted the restriction that you need to apply in the 90 days before the visa start date, at least that's the case for Brits getting the visa in the UK.
Take a look at the Real Russia website, I'm about to use them for a visa for Easter and will be applying in Feb after my next trip is done and I can spare my passport for a while.
We're a visa agency dealing quite frequently with the Russian Consulates in Canada and we are quite familiar with their visa requirements.
The way it works now is that your visa is valid from the dates that are listed on your Tourist invitation.
So you can apply as early as you can, and your visa will be valid for ONLY that specific period. Tourist visas are single-entry, maximum of 30 days.
Now tourist invitations (or vouchers, as they are sometimes referred to), are provided usually by hotels/hostels in Russia or any Russian Travel company you might be dealing with.
Alternatively, we can assist you with Russian visa invitation.
Without the invitation, you can not submit a visa application to Russia.
Hope this helps!
PS. Good source of information is official Russian Consulate page in Sydney. http://www.sydneyrussianconsulate.com/visa.html
In order to apply for a Russian visa you need to arrange an invitation (they call it visa support letter) through a travel agency. You can for sure get help with this in each European country you plan to visit - WHICH MEANS YOU CAN DO IT WHILE IN EUROPE THIS SUMMER. I arranged visa through a travel company for my trip to St. Petersburg. Note that your visa is going to be valid for the period, which is stated in your invitation eg., 15-25 September and not for 90 days from the application date.
[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]