Unless you live in a CIS country, most foreigners needs a visa to go to Russia. In order to get it, you need to get an invitation (aka visa support letter) from Russia first and then apply for the visa at the Russian consulate. You can also have a local agent do all this for you. Be careful, however, because some agents and hotels “lock” people into a fixed itinerary or limit their visa validity to the period they’re staying at the particular hotel.
Use the step-by-step guide below to get your Russian visa online. It is designed for independent travelers who want to have a flexible itinerary and be free of any hotel commitments, and has been recommended by Lonely Planet and Rough Guides.
We also have some insider’s info on the Russian consulates, so that you know how to increase your chances of getting the visa.
The current time in Moscow can be found at this link.
The current time in Saint Petersburg can be found at this link.
What about health insurance while in Russia or Ukraine?
You’ll need it. If you reside in an EU country then both Ukraine and Russia have agreements to cover emergency health needs. USA residents can purchase a Ukrainian health card upon entry to the country but Russia does not have this provision. We suggest you take out a travel/health policy from one of the reputable companies offering these services:
For European travelers: http://www.axa-schengen.com/en/axa-schengen-travel-insurance
More to come…