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View Full Version : Best "visa" Getaway Destination



Billie Bob
15-01-2004, 20:37
Hey Folks,

Just got back from my vacation and I noticed that my Russian Visa will expire soon (aka next month).

What would be the best destination, with the least expenses to travel out of Russia (transport, hotel, visa etc expenses).

I've done in the past:
Estonia
Latvia
Finland
Turkey
England
Switzerland
USA

Considering:
Lithuania
Hungary
Czech
Slovakia
?Yugoslavia? :eh:
Germany
-Ukraine
-Kazahstan
-Georgia
-Azerbaijan
-Armenia
?Mongolia? :eh:

Any suggestions, comments, would be appreciated.
:bookworm: :eh:

vaska
15-01-2004, 21:29
If you've never been there, I recommend Prague, it's a great place to spend a few days. US citizens don't need a visa. I went last summer, round-trip ticket on AF $350. Don't know what the embassy there is like, though.

TTL
15-01-2004, 22:36
Prague is great, but I have heard that the embassy has gotten expensive. Check Infinity.ru, Czech Airlines themselves, or Malev for good deals to Central and Eastern Europe in general.

DaveUKagain
15-01-2004, 22:42
Couple of good friends of mine had a great Christmas break over in Tunisia. Which I think has a pretty relaxed visa system... not sure though. And yes, someone DID try and pick his pocket in the local souk......... ;)))

geofizz56
16-01-2004, 09:27
On a related note, has anyone used a visa service in Baku? Our new guy will be going there for his multi-entry visa, and doesn't feel comfortable trying to handle it himself.

albundy
16-01-2004, 09:51
Vienna was good. Fast, cheap air fare etc..

trebor
16-01-2004, 11:08
geofizz56
i worked in Baku for a while but wouldn't recomend a trip there just to renew a visa. There are far better (and closer) destinations.
However, the Russian Embassy there is new and easy to find near the Hyatt hotel. The service is comparable to most Russian Embassies i've been to. Poor at best.
trebor

geofizz56
16-01-2004, 11:44
Thanks, Trebor. Our company has explicitly banned most visa trips - we're now expected to renew them during our homestays. If an exception is made, we have to go to the cheapest destination (considering travel and hotel costs), which means Baku.

Ya gotta love cost-cutting...

davess
21-01-2004, 15:26
i did my visa trip to Baku in November 2000.

At the embassy everything was fine, though I was taken into an office to explain my business in Moscow, as were other westerners. They seemed pretty relaxed as long as it was clear you weren't some crook. Other hassles there were:

1. I had to get an HIV test done (did it there, on the cheap, there's an AIDs prevention centre there, though I no longer have the address).

2. They weren't open every day, so find out.

3. The visa you get for Azerbaijan is given for payment as you arrive (like Turkey), but it requires (or did then) a letter from someone in Baku inviting you (I had a contact), PLUS, although it's theoretically for 3 months, they limit it to the times stated in that letter, so you need to be sure you give yourself enough time (with problems there I didn't, but managed to get out, with an expired visa, amazingly, without bribing anyone, not easy though).

4. I was caught in the first earthquake there for 40 years, but this shouldn't happen to you.

I also am surprised to read that it's a cheap option. It's quite a developed Oil town with a long history as such, so it's a lot more modern and expensive than most would expect, but if you know the prices, you know, and I can't argue. I had a contact who got me a flat for a couple of weeks, which I guess was reasonably priced).

davess
21-01-2004, 15:52
I did my visa in Berlin last time, because I could stay with friends there and because Berlin is a great place to hang out.

BUT.

The only people who are officially allowed to get a Russian visa in a Russian embassy or consulate in Germany are GERMANS or foreigners with a German 'Aufenthaltserlaubnis' (Residency Permit for Germany).

This is supposedly a reciprocal measure because (apparently) Russians can only apply for German visas in Russia (I know this doesn't make sense because it has nothing to do with other foreigners, but this is what I was told).

I got away with it because I simply didn't know about this until I arrived at the Embassy, and did my 'confident Russian-type personality' thing, helping out all the other foreigners talk to the nice girl with weak German and no English, and the gruff young man who insisted on speaking only Russian (shouting at the American 'Did you understand what I said?' (in Russian), when he clearly didn't, and just continuously telling him to get away from the window (in Russian)). I explained to him that I didn't know about these rules, that it would be a real headache for me if they couldn't help me (would have to get a train to Warsaw or somewhere, get a visa, and come back to Berlin for my flight). I got the answer that in my country's embassy in Moscow (U.K.) no one cares if it's a headache for the Russian and he has a ticket back to London, but I played it nice and said I understood, sympathised if Russians had a hard time, and understood he wasn't obliged to help me. He asked me to explain my business in Moscow, I told some white lies (I had an invite from Infinity Travel) and he let me do it.

So you can try, but this is the deal, so they could turn you down quite easily, and this is true for ANY consulate in Germany.

The entrance for the consular section in Berlin is right at the back of the building, on another street, and stops letting in at midday. There are masses of 'German/Russians' there for all sorts of business, but the guy on the door shouts out to get people for visas in before it closes, but you need to be queueing well in advance and to listen carefully (even stand at the door and hassle and ask the guy a little, just to make sure he knows you're there). Coming back to pick it up is just the same.

Also, you CAN'T pay in cash, you have to have a credit card with you.

I guess you won't be going there anyway.

The easiest and fastest and most friendly I've had is Riga. I'm told Prague is O.K., and Warsaw too, but I've never done it.

P.S. could you tell me about doing it in Helsinki?

davess
21-01-2004, 15:56
Also, I've been told that you can't do it in the Ukraine, because you can't do it inside the CIS, but then I did it in Azerbaijan, so.... But still, I was told the embassy in Ukraine has this position, though I have no concrete information. Plus, how 'cheap' is a Ukrainian visa?