So, you’re going to Russia, the land of onion-domed architecture, epic train journeys, and borscht. Lots and lots of borscht.

But before you start perfecting your Russian dance squats, there are a few things you’ll need to take care of.

Obtaining your LOI and visa are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you visit your local government travel advice website for the latest information about travel to Russia relevant to your nationality.

Now’s a good time to check the validity of your passport too. As a general rule, most countries expect that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. If you have to renew your passport after booking, please notify us as soon as you have a new passport number and remember you will not be able to apply for your visas until you have received your new passport. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your bookings and airline tickets. Take photocopies of your main passport pages with you, as well as save a photo of it on your phone, and leave another copy at home with family or friends.

Train tickets for your travel within Russia are booked with passport numbers. Please make sure you provide your booking agent with a scanned copy of your passport so that we can book your tickets. If we receive any changes or updates to passport details less than 30 days prior to departure we cannot guarantee purchase of train tickets. We do NOT recommend travelling on multiple passports for trips that involve border crossings by train or overland. This can cause difficulties with train ticket bookings and cause significant issues delays at immigration.

Now, onto the paperwork:

Downloading your Letter of Invitation (LOI)

Sometimes called a Voucher or Visa Support Letter, this is a document you need before you can apply for your visa to Russia and can be obtained three months before you plan to enter the country. Intrepid works with a visa partner in Russia, Parallel 60, to provide the LOI for you. Here’s how to get yours:

1. Go to www.visain.ru

Log in using the details provided by your Intrepid agent

2. Fill in the online form with your personal details EXACTLY as they appear in your passport, including any middle names and letters that appear in your passport number.

3. Select your tour code from the dropdown menu. If you are not sure of the correct code, please check with your booking agent.

4. Check carefully that all information you have entered is correct, ensuring there are no errors in spelling or passport numbers. Reprocessing the LOI if you have made an error, changed your travel plans or obtained a new passport may incur an additional fee. Errors may also mean your visa application might not be successful so be sure to double check everything!

6. Once all details are correct, click “Get Confirmation & Voucher”. This will bring you to a new “Confirmation & Voucher generated” screen. This page may take some time to load. Please do not refresh or navigate away from the page during this step.

7. Click the “Download” link. This will open your LOI in PDF format.

8. Save the LOI to your computer and make a record of the voucher ID number. If you need to access a copy of your LOI again, visit the "get created voucher" section of the website using this ID number and your e-mail address.

9. Print out a copy of the LOI. You will need this for your Russia visa application.

If you experience any problems with this website, please contact Parallel 60 at peak@parallel60.ru. Please note that Parallel 60 are unable to assist with any specific questions about your trip or your visa application. For these enquiries, please contact Intrepid Travel or your relevant Russian Consulate or Russian Visa Centre.

Applying for your Russian visa

Once you have your LOI, you can now apply for your visa. You must apply for your visa in advance. Visas are not available on arrival in Russia. It’s your responsibility to apply for your own visa, either directly through a Russian Consulate or Russia Visa Centre by using a visa agent. We do not recommend applying for your Russian visa outside of your home country or place of permanent residence, as your application may be not be accepted.

The LOI you have downloaded, saved and printed out consists of two parts:

VOUCHER (right side) – this confirms that you have advance hotel bookings in Russia, made on behalf of Intrepid Travel by Parallel 60, as well as the time period you will be allowed to stay in Russia. Don’t worry if these hotels and destinations do not reflect your itinerary exactly. These are for the purposes of obtaining the visa only, not an indication of where you must stay or travel in Russia. As long as the dates on the voucher are the same as or longer than your intended period of stay in Russia your visa will be valid for your trip.

CONFIRMATION LETTER (left side) – this confirms your personal details, as well as those of Parallel 60. This is the only information you should use to complete your visa application. There is no need to reference Intrepid Travel or include a copy of your Intrepid itinerary or voucher when you apply for your visa. Please ONLY state the destinations and hotels listed on your voucher, NOT those listed on your Intrepid itinerary, even if they are different. This is because for visa purposes Parallel 60 is the inviting party to Russia, not Intrepid Travel. The information on your application form MUST match the information on this Confirmation Letter exactly for your visa application to be successful.

Here’s a translation of your LOI to help you complete your visa application:

Russian

English

ПОДТВЕРЖДЕНИЕ №

Confirmation number

Въезд с

Enter from

Выезд до

Exit until

Маршрут следования и места размещения

Itinerary and places of stay

Цель поездки

Purpose of travel

Реестровый номер

Registry number of Russian Tour Agency

Имя

Name

Фамилия

Surname

Дата рождения

Date of birth

Паспорт

Passport

Гражданство

Nationality

Пол

Gender

Ж

Female

M

Male

 

In addition to the LOI, you may need to include a photocopy of your passport, passport photos, copy of flight details or tickets to/from Russia, or other information. Please check with your Russian Consulate or Russian Visa Centre for specific requirements and contact us should you need further supporting information for your visa application.

Have a great time in Russia!