I am facing a chicken and egg problem with trying to get a visa as a Canadian to go to Russia, two months out from now, and I have not bought the tickets yet since getting the visa may not pan out. Is it acceptable to give a wider date range of the planned trip on the visa application (e.g. a month), and then proceed with a two week trip that falls within that month? What is an acceptable discrepancy, if any?
It's been a while since I had to deal with Russian visas (my data is more than 5 years old), but looking at the relevant sites it seems that the process hasn't changed much, basically:
- Get an invitation from an agency that arranges for Russian tourist visa invitations, e.g. http://www.russian-visa-invitation.com/ - indicate any 30-day period when ordering the invitation, tickets not required
- With this invitation, apply for a Russian visa indicating the dates on the official invitation. Again, no tickets required, see e.g. http://www.visacenter.ca/russian_visa.php?por=Toronto&country=Canada
- When you get the visa, only then buy the tickets (anywhere within that date range)
Again, my knowledge may be a bit outdated but I've used the process above successfully many times some years ago (actually, I've used a company that handles both steps 1 and 2 together, for convenience. In some Canadian cities you may be able to find travel agents that will seamlessly handle all 3 steps, look for e.g. Russian-speaking travel agent ads in Russian-language newspapers, admittedly this can be difficult if you don't speak the language).