I am a US citizen currently in Thailand and heading to Japan in about 10 days, looking to get my tourist visa for Russia (to ride the trans-siberian railroad). I will be entering Russia by sea at Vladivostok, and exiting somewhere along the Belarus border by train, wherever the primary exit is towards Minsk.

I found a service online that will handle my invitation letter as well as my visa, but requires me to mail my passport back to NYC. My thought is to get the letter of invitation online through a service, then take that to the local consulate in Bangkok or Tokyo. Reading up here and here seems to point to most forms being available online, which I can fill out and bring with me to the consulate.

From what I gathered, I should be able to take my invitation letter and filled out form to a local consulate (in Bangkok or Tokyo) and get it within 3-5 days. Am I missing any important steps here?

  • How was your plan going? I would like to know if you got visa without problems.
    – Blaszard
    Commented Dec 6, 2016 at 11:34
  • @Blaszard I did not end up getting my Russian visa, so I have no new info :\ Commented Dec 7, 2016 at 13:54
  • Small world, I'm following Shane on Insta and Twitter
    – The Onin
    Commented Apr 29, 2018 at 7:34

2 Answers 2


In Thailand you can get a Transit visa (even if you Thai visa/permit/certificate allows you to stay less then 90 days), but you can't use it for Transsiberian Railway.

Transit visa. A transit visa allows a single entry into Russia on a transit trip. Passengers traveling by aircraft are issued a visa for up to 72 hours only. Passengers traveling by land transport are issued a visa for a period sufficient to proceed through the territory of the Customs Union (Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan) by the shortest route possible, but not over 10 days.


Foreign nationals traveling along the Transsiberian Railway should apply for a tourist visa.


Seems like your plan should work in Tokyo. US citizens can obtain a tourist visa in Japan. Get your passport, photo, fill application forms, get your tourist voucher and go.


In most countries foreigners need to have a permit/visa to stay longer than 90 days in order to receive Visa in Russian embassy, but in Japan they not so strict about it. I would better call them to confirm it:

CONSULAR SECTION Tel: +81-3-3583-4445 (Japan)

  • the page you link to for Thailand specifically says foreigners taking the TransSiberian (as the OP stated he is doing) need a tourist visa not a transit visa.
    – user13044
    Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 13:03

One important issue ... the Russian Embassy in Thailand can only issue visas to foreign nationals (ie non-Thais) who have a residency certificate or a visa that allows stay over 90 days. This later part pretty much eliminates tourists from applying.


Not sure if a similar policy holds true for Japan.

  • Thank you, this is exactly the sort of info I'm looking for. Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 10:00
  • Hoping someone can chime in about any experience with doing it in Japan as well :-) Commented Feb 28, 2016 at 12:38

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