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I had been sure from topics here and on other forums that it was not possible for me as an Australian citizen to obtain a visa for the Russian Federation anywhere other than the Russian Embassy in Australia and that many other nationalities could also only apply in their home countries?

But in a comment posted on another question today our user Roflcopter states that they were able to obtain Russian visas as a Lichstenstein citizen in both Switzerland and Germany.

So for once and for all, what is the possibility in reality for an Australian to obtain a Russian visa while not in Australia? Was roflcopter subject to special rules due to their country being especially small or do the rules vary from country to country? Or are there not really rules with everything depending more on luck and how friendly the officials you deal with at any particular Russian embassy or consulate might be?

(In case it makes a difference, I'm in Georgia now.)

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3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Be exceptionally polite : ) It did the trick for us.

We applied for a Russian single entry business visa in Mongolia, with a Dutch passport. I kept my mouth shut and my girlfriend did the smiling and talking.

And no, I'm not talking about a bribe. Paying money to get things done is something, I feel, should never be encouraged.

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Would you be able to tell us what passport(s) you were travelling on and in which country you applied? –  hippietrail Aug 25 '11 at 13:59
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Are you talking about a bribe? –  RoflcoptrException Aug 25 '11 at 13:59
    
I'm accepting this answer since it gives me a little hope whereas Roflcoptr's is mainly about the 90-day rule. –  hippietrail Oct 9 '11 at 8:10
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I quote from WayToRussia:

It is only possible to apply for a Russian visa in the country that you are a national of or in the country where you have a residency permit valid for longer than 90 days. This means that if you come from an EU country, you can apply for a Russian visa in any other EU country, because you are entitled to permanent residence in any of these countries by European law. However, if you're from the US, then you can't apply in Finland, for example, unless you have a valid residency permit there.

Therefore, if you're planning a long journey, you should always apply for the Russian visa before you leave. It's possible to get a tourist visa support at any moment before your journey, however, you can only apply for a tourist visa not earlier than 90 days before the date of your first entry to Russia. Business visa support can be obtained not earlier than 45 days before your first entry to Russia. These rules, introduced a couple of years ago, make it very complicated to get a visa for Australian citizens who usually go on a long journey through Asia and Russia into Europe and leave their country earlier than 90 days before their travel (so they simply can't apply in Australia, and the Russian consulate in China will not accept their documents either because they don't have a residency permit there. However, according to our own information, the consulates in Austalia and New Zealand are often willing to make exceptions and issue visas beforehand. But check with them first.

If you have a problem with this 90-day rule, there are several ways to solve it. First, you can apply for a Russian visa by post. Make sure you get all the documents together first and once you're 90 days before your journey, simply send it off to the Russian consulate in your country, ask them to send it back to your address back home, and ask your friends or relatives to forward the documents wherever you are at the moment. This may not always work, though, because not all consulates receive applications by post. In that case you could try to find a local travel agency and send the documents to them, so they can apply on your behalf. Second, you can try to get a temporary residence in the country where you want to apply. For example, if you are an American, you are automatically entitled to stay 90 days in any EU country. So, say, if you're staying in Russia on a multiple-entry visa and need to prolong it, you would not be able to travel to Helsinki for a visa run, because you don't have a residency permit for Finland valid for longer than 90 days. The best solution in this case would be to either find a country where as a US citizen you can stay longer than 90 days or try to get a local residency. It's usually possible if you bring your bank accounts to the local immigration office and tell them you need to stay longer to start a business, for example. Finally, there are some countries where the Russian consulates are not that strict about the 90-day rule. You should always try to call them before. Also, from our own experience, if you're getting a business visa this rule is not so strictly enforced, so this may be an option as well.

As I said the rules are theoretically strict, but sometimes there are exceptions.

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Thanks very much. I'm interested now in hearing other people's stories (-: –  hippietrail Aug 25 '11 at 13:46
    
Actually it seems that this answer mostly deals with obtaining a visa more than 90 days in advance. One part does mention mailing your documents but doesn't say whether your passport is one of those documents. It may be illegal to be in some countries without your passport. –  hippietrail Sep 28 '11 at 21:54
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Some people say that it's illegal to send documents in the mail. In Australia I had no problem sending from Adelaide to Sydney and back. In Europe I haven't done it. I've had trouble with visas. Always seeking Russian business visas and some countries say they can't do it, but when a colleague of mine calls them they say they can. Having issues at the moment after booking travel to Ukraine, now they inform me that they won't do it for legal reasons. There's nothing written about it. I think the 'be nice' factor is key. But the problem is that often you'll need to call a consulate or email them to ask if they will do it or if they still exist (when I went to Florence, the consulate is no longer there), and it can put you on the bad side of them for some reason which hurts your chances of a visa. Sometimes I just think they don't want to help Australians.

Good luck.

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