This guide is for people who are getting a Russian visa in Seoul and are not staying at their friend’s house. If staying with a friend, the procedure is vastly more complicated and time-consuming (for your friend). Although we had a friend who we planned to stay with in Russia for part of the journey, we realised it was far easier to book fully-refundable tickets through Expedia and Booking.com that we could then cancel after the visa was issued.
Below is our 6 step guide:
Step 1: Figure out first day and last day in Russia.
Step 2: Get tourist voucher and letter of invitation; use RealRussia website: http://realrussia.co.uk/visas/russian/invitations/tourist
RealRussia is very responsive to questions. You can fill out a contact form if you have any questions: http://realrussia.co.uk/Info/Contact-Us#contactus
If your hostel/hotel is not listed, you can email them to have them manually input the information for you.
Letter of invitation and tourist voucher is $23.84 for tourist single entry.
Letter of invitation and tourist voucher is $32.58 for tourist double entry.
Step 3: Check that info on letter of invitation is correct.
Step 4: Complete the online Russian visa application. Make sure to fill out your permanent address. I did not fill this out and was rejected the first time. The second time I inputted my parent’s address and the application was accepted.
Step 5: Go in person and apply at VFS Global. You can also have a friend apply for you if you do not have time to go in person. It is only possible to apply at VFS Global in Seoul. You cannot apply at the Russian Embassy or at the Russian Consulate.
Address: 5F Danam Building, 10 Sowol-Ro, Jung-Gu in Seoul. The nearest subway station is Hoehyeon, but you can walk from Seoul Station easily.
The building will be marked Danam Tower and the entrance will be surrounded by glass. The outside of the tower looks like this:
Visa applications are accepted from 09:00 to 13:00 and 14:00 to 15:00 (Monday-Friday). VFS Global is closed on public holidays.
- Completed and signed online application form
- Current passport which should be valid for a minimum of six months after visa’s expiration date and has at least 2 blank pages which do not need to be consecutive.
- Copies of Letter of Invitation and tourist voucher (you do not need the original)
- Travel insurance certificate – not needed for US citizens, but needed for UK citizens. You should check if your country requires this.
- One recent photo (3.5 cm x 4.5 cm) glued to the indicated space on the application form. The image of the photo must be face forward, with a white background and without head-dress, sunglasses etc.
- Photocopy of the application form after it’s signed and has had a photo glued on to it.
- Alien Registration Card (original) (for non-Korean nationals) should be submitted along with photocopy of ARC both side. This is not required for USA citizens. VFS Global can make photocopies of this if necessary (at least they did for Will).
- If you are a USA citizen and are applying for the double entry visa, you also need to sign a letter stating why you did not apply for the multi-entry visa. You can simply write: “I didn’t get the multi-entry visa because the double entry visa is cheaper.” They will reject your application without this, be warned.
Step 6: Collect your passports from the VFS Global office between 11am and 4pm.
Applicants are free to apply up to 90 days prior to their date of travel. The Embassy recommends that you apply at least 3 weeks prior to your date of travel to accommodate any unforeseen processing delays.
You can send a representative to submit and collect your visa application if you are unable to make it in person. The representative must bring the receipt to pick up your passport. The website also suggests bringing the representative’s Korean ID card and your own, but this wasn’t enforced when we visited.
Tourist Visa is issued according to the dates specified in the voucher and confirmation and can be for a maximum period of 30 days. If you get a double entry visa, you still have to abide by the 30 days rule, which starts the first time you enter Russia and the last time you leave Russia (the second exit).
Cost of double entry visa with the VFS global fee: $185.19
The application takes 1 week to process.