1. Hi Andrew,
    Was wondering how you went with the application? I am from Australia, looking to get a Russian 30 day tourist visa and have run out of time to do it at home before I leave.
    If you successfully received a Russian tourist visa in China that gives me a lot of hope for getting one myself (either in Beijing or elsewhere).

    • Hi Xav, thanks for your comment! I got my visa, and had a memorable few days in Moscow, which is an amazing city. I hope to go back to see more of it. It’s a bit of a pain as a process, but if you have all your paperwork in order then they’re entirely reasonable and fair, and you will get there in the end. I wrote this post in the hope that I could save people from some of the daft mistakes I made, so I hope you find it helpful, and that you have great trip to Beijing and on to Russia!

      • Yeah here’s hoping. Just wondering; did you apply for a 10 day transit or a 30 day tourist visa?
        Thanks for the reply, too.

        • I had to apply for the tourist visa in the end. The 10 day transit is for arriving overland, but it’s only 3 days if you’re flying- and confusingly they count the day you arrive as day 1. The only difference is that you need the letter of invitation, but they’re easy and inexpensive to get online. If you make sure you have everything you need when you go into the visa office you should be able to do it in a single day. Good luck! (and when you’re visiting Beijing, check out our sister publication thebeijinger.com for all the top tips on what to do and see, and where to eat and drink.)

  2. Hi Andrew. Your post seems to be literally the only account of a foreigner (non-Chinese) resident applying for a Russian visa in Beijing. I’m gonna be there in a couple of weeks and need to apply both for a Mongolian and Russian visa in order to take transiberian back home to Warsaw. How long did you wait for your tourist visa? Do you remember if there was an express/ rush visa options available? The Mongolian visa takes 3 days so if i need to wait another 3 for the Russian one that means that I need to prepare myself to stay in Beijing for a while… Thanks a lot in advance.

    • Hi Marta, we’re happy to help everyone in Beijing, even if you’re just passing through! For a normal tourist visa it takes ten working days, but you can pay for an express service- I THINK it takes 3 days, but you should check with the VFS Global website. You probably need to allow a day for making each application, so you’re realistically looking at a week in Beijing (day 1 apply for Mongolian visa, day 2 apply for Russian visa, day 4 collect Mongolian visa, day 5 collect Russian…) But there’s plenty to do here! The most important thing is to make sure you have all your paperwork in order, and don’t forget you’ll need an invitation letter for a Russian tourist visa. Also you have to pay in cash, in Renminbi! Good luck, and let us know if we can help further.

      • Thank you so much for such a quick and detailed reply. Are you saying that I can apply for a Russian visa without my passport? I thought: day 1: apply for Mongolian visa, day 3: collect Mongolian visa, day 4: apply for Russian visa, day 7: collect Russian visa.

        • Ah, yes, sorry, hadn’t thought that through, had I? Of course you need to leave your passport, so you won’t be able to apply for both simultaneously. Don’t forget too these are working days, or they certainly are at the Russian visa office anyway. So with weekends, you’re probably looking at two weeks in Beijing, rather than one. But you could look at that as a positive- plenty of time to explore one of the world’s great, historic cities! Check out our site and our sister publication, thebeijinger.com, for loads of ideas for things to do and see here.

  3. Max Collett on

    Hi Andrew!
    I’m an Australian currently on X2 visa in Beijing and hoping to apply for a 30 day tourist visa for Russia via the VFS centre in Beijing. I see that you successfully obtained a Russian tourist visa, well done! When you applied for this Russian visa, what visa were you using in China? Did you have a residence permit? Cheers

    • Hi Max, thanks for commenting and sorry for the delay in responding! I’ve been traveling.

      Yes, I have a residence permit for China. The factor that they took into consideration is whether you have a visa for the next place you’re going after Russia- i.e., they don’t want you stuck there because you have no right to go to your destination! I was traveling from Russia on to Latvia, and as a UK citizen I currently don’t need a visa for any EU state… this worried them a little and they had to check that was correct. So if you’re coming back to China after Russia, make sure you have the appropriate permission to return. If you’re traveling elsewhere, then it doesn’t matter what visa you have here.

      Hope that helps!

  4. hello

    Which company did you use for the invitation letter. Made my first attempt at applying for the visa today and everything else is fine except the invitation letter.

  5. Hello,

    Great help, thank you for sharing!!

    Do you remember how much was your tourist visa?

    Happy Travel!!

      • Hi Andrew,
        My application went through today. They do really check every single details and every line of all documents you provide. You really have to see to believe it.
        Don’t go if you don’t have ALL the documents. Some embassy of other countries would close their eyes on some details. Not the Russians!!!
        Make sure your travel insurance as all the amount of your medical cover (minimum cover of 30k€). Mine didn’t so I had to print a page of the booklet provided with it. They made me pay 8rmb per page!
        It cost me a little more than 500rmb for a tourist visa. Process time 5 working days.
        Your blog was a great help for me to make sure we had all the correct document!
        Spasiba so much!!!

        • Hi Andrew! Did you need the original document of the tourist visa support (The one you have to obtain from an agency), or a printed copy is valid? I read that in Beijing they need the original, but this seems to much trouble to get it via courier.

          • Hi Lorenzo! I got my invitation letter by email and printed it off. That was accepted. I wonder if the rules have changed? I suggest you contact realrussia and ask them. Any problem with the paperwork and they’ll send you away again… but as you say, sending it by courier seems an expensive way of going about it.

  6. Hi Andrew et al.

    We were at the Russian Visa Application Centre in Beijing today (12/10/2018). I am happy to share our experience.

    Firstly, everybody was very helpful and attentive. They found us a Chinese Official who spoke English, who was joined by a Russian Official who also spoke English.

    We were told categorically that UK passport holders will not be granted a Tourist Visa to Russia in China, unless they have at least a ninety (90) day valid visa for China. A thirty (30) day tourist visa for China is not sufficient. However, Australian passport holders will be considered for a Russian Tourist Visa (assuming they have fulfilled all the other requirements), even with a 30 day tourist visa, but the application processing time is longer than normal (although it wasn’t clear what normal processing time was). It seems he processing time and requirements vary depending on the Nationality of the applicant.

    However, UK and AU passport holders could apply for a 3 day (if traveling by air) or 10 day (if traveling by train) transit visa, as long as they held any type of valid China visa, at satisfied the other requirements of course (Entry & Exit tickets, etc).

    One final think to note: Those with Dual Nationality can only use the passport that contains their valid China Visa. It is not possible to arrive in China on one passport, and apply for a Russian Visa on the other passport.

  7. Hi mate.

    Planning to do the trans-Siberian journey from Vladivostok (LOL) to Moscow and then go home to Poland. Need to apply for the visa, obviously.

    Went to the Russian embassy website today and it said this:
    No.5 need a covering letter detailing the purpose of the visit
    No.6 need an insurance policy for a period of stay in Russia

    What’s up with that? Do I need that for transit visa?

    • Hi Greg, thanks for your comment! As far as I’m aware, you do need travel insurance, and you do need a letter. The travel insurance is because they need to know if you have an accident in Russia that you’ll be able to pay for your care. The letter- who knows? Just write a letter saying what you’re doing and where you’re going. Sometimes with bureaucracy it’s best just to tick the boxes and not worry about it too much.

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