Dad picked up my visa today from the Russian Consulate, which means that I’m officially going to Russia now!
The process isn’t super straight forward, so here’s a what I did:
- Get an invitation letter. I didn’t find any place that cost less than $30. I asked the hostel where I booked my reservations who they recommended, they suggested WayToRussia.net…and that’s who I used. It took about 2 days to processes. They’ll send you a PDF, which I printed out (in color).
- Fill out Visa Application form (US version), available from Russian Consulate. There’s an option for an online version. I tried using it and would not recommend it. It’s much easier to fill it out manually.
- Attach passport/visa sized picture to application. I got my picture taken at FedEx Kinko’s for $12, however later heard that WalGreens is cheaper.
- Write a cover letter (here’s my cover letter to the Consulate General of the Russian Federation in Seattle). The cover letter needs to explain if you are travelling individually, who is going, where to, when and with what purpose, etc.
- Get a Money Order or Cashier’s Check from the bank (it doesn’t have to be from a bank, but it’s pretty easy and you can deduct the money right from your savings/checking account) for the actual visa fee.
- Copy your passports vital page(s). For me, this was just the front page (the one with my picture).
- Mail (or preferably drop off) all of the above, plus your actual passport to your Russian Consulate of
- Pick up passport and visa 6 business days later, in theory.
47 days until I leave!0