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New Russia visa process

#1 mendeleev

mendeleev

    Platinum Member



Posted 23 April 2012 - 09:22 PM

It seems that Russian consulates no longer accept visa applications but require all applications to go thru an organization called Invisa Logistics Services.

This organization, which states on their website, "We will do our best for you to get a visa to visit the Russian Federation; it has become a very comfortable and pleasant procedure." also states that they do not accept visa documents by mail. Every visa I've gotten so far (on the order of ten -- 8 in my just expired passport and maybe 2 or 3 in the one before that) I secured thru visa agencies to whom I mailed my passport and other needed documents. This ILS organization does not provide any telephone numbers on their website.

It looks like it'll be a curious escapade getting my next visa, once the invitation arrives. Is anyone a little further along in this new process than I am? I am currently quite puzzled.
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5-15-2002 Met, by chance, while I traveled on business

3-15-2005 I-129F
9-18-2005 Visa in hand
11-23-2005 She arrives in USA
1-18-2006 She returns to Russia, engaged but not married

11-10-2006 We got married!

2-12-2007 I-130 sent by Express mail to NSC
2-26-2007 I-129F sent by Express mail to Chicago lock box
6-25-2007 Both NOA2s in hand; notice date 6-15-2007
9-17-2007 K3 visa in hand
11-12-2007 POE Atlanta

8-14-2008 AOS packet sent
9-13-2008 biometrics
1-30-2009 AOS interview
2-12-2009 10-yr Green Card arrives in mail


#2 eekee

eekee

    Diamond Member


  • Group: Members
  • Joined: 23 Dec 2007
  • Country: Russia



Posted 24 April 2012 - 03:47 AM

When was the last time you applied for a visa? I don't think this is new; it's just that you fill out the visa forms online. I did it this way last fall. You can still use an agency to do things like take your passport to a consulate and arrange everything. I believe that it's just instead of filling out a paper form, you fill out an online form. It's simpler, IMO.
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#3 yuliya

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 05:17 AM

It seems to me that it is just to get more money from your visa application. If you apply via an agency you may notice that your fee will be higher by about 40$ (i.e., the exact amount this new institution charges). Perhaps it is an action in response to an increase fee for a tourist visa by the US?
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#4 eekee

eekee

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  • Country: Russia



Posted 24 April 2012 - 05:24 AM

It seems to me that it is just to get more money from your visa application. If you apply via an agency you may notice that your fee will be higher by about 40$ (i.e., the exact amount this new institution charges). Perhaps it is an action in response to an increase fee for a tourist visa by the US?


The Russian consulate ALWAYS raises to their fee to match the US increases. That, at least, is nothing new. And like I said, regardless of who they say is processing these applications, the only difference on the layperson side, I believe, is that you fill out the form online instead of on paper. This system has been in place for about a year. I guess you can't mail stuff into them directly anymore, but most of you use agencies anyway, so no big deal. Basically, you can either go in person or the agencies go in person and do a bunch at once. It's not a huge change and nothing to stress over, for sure. It's actually simpler because handwriting everything perfectly was always such a pain!

Edited by eekee, 24 April 2012 - 05:30 AM.

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#5 mendeleev

mendeleev

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 06:49 AM

The last visa was last summer for a September trip. I understand the online visa application process and get the fee increases.

Last year there were three agencies that the Russian embassy allowed to present visa documents. Now there is only one, and it is different than last year. This single company states that they do not accept documents sent to them in the mail. Their website has no posted telephone numbers. These changes went into effect on 12 April 2012.

I found telephone numbers for this agency at the Russian Federation embassy website and also for at the Russian Consulate Houston website. For the 45 million or so of us who live in a city where there is a Russian consulate, and where this single agency has a physical presence, it will not be too big a problem to present documents in person. For the 250 million of us who don't, it is a bit of a puzzle. I currently live in Denver and it would be a hardship to have to fly to Houston or San Francisco or somewhere just to present a person with my passport just because they don't know how to accept a FEDEX parcel. And then return to get it from this similarly incapable person. I betting now that this is just another middle-man inserted into the process and that there are still companies that can serve as intermediaries. Except now instead of being intermediary with a Russian consulate, they will be intermediary to a sole-sourced company that is intermediary to the Russian consulate. I'll learn more today and post more tonight.
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5-15-2002 Met, by chance, while I traveled on business

3-15-2005 I-129F
9-18-2005 Visa in hand
11-23-2005 She arrives in USA
1-18-2006 She returns to Russia, engaged but not married

11-10-2006 We got married!

2-12-2007 I-130 sent by Express mail to NSC
2-26-2007 I-129F sent by Express mail to Chicago lock box
6-25-2007 Both NOA2s in hand; notice date 6-15-2007
9-17-2007 K3 visa in hand
11-12-2007 POE Atlanta

8-14-2008 AOS packet sent
9-13-2008 biometrics
1-30-2009 AOS interview
2-12-2009 10-yr Green Card arrives in mail


#6 eekee

eekee

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  • Country: Russia



Posted 24 April 2012 - 07:18 AM

The last visa was last summer for a September trip. I understand the online visa application process and get the fee increases.

Last year there were three agencies that the Russian embassy allowed to present visa documents. Now there is only one, and it is different than last year. This single company states that they do not accept documents sent to them in the mail. Their website has no posted telephone numbers. These changes went into effect on 12 April 2012.

I found telephone numbers for this agency at the Russian Federation embassy website and also for at the Russian Consulate Houston website. For the 45 million or so of us who live in a city where there is a Russian consulate, and where this single agency has a physical presence, it will not be too big a problem to present documents in person. For the 250 million of us who don't, it is a bit of a puzzle. I currently live in Denver and it would be a hardship to have to fly to Houston or San Francisco or somewhere just to present a person with my passport just because they don't know how to accept a FEDEX parcel. And then return to get it from this similarly incapable person. I betting now that this is just another middle-man inserted into the process and that there are still companies that can serve as intermediaries. Except now instead of being intermediary with a Russian consulate, they will be intermediary to a sole-sourced company that is intermediary to the Russian consulate. I'll learn more today and post more tonight.


Oh, looking at the Houston website, that only applies to the Houston consulate. The New York consulate, for instance, has always allowed any number of agencies to take care of visa business. Perhaps you should see if it would be possible to use a different consulate? The phone number for this business is (832) 582-7951.

ETA: I checked all the sites, and it's everywhere but New York. Hmm.

Edited by eekee, 24 April 2012 - 07:27 AM.

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#7 eekee

eekee

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 07:31 AM

Another thought I had is that the usual tourist agencies might just do the legwork and go to this place, instead of the consulate as they used to.

http://www.russianconsulting.com/ These are the people I do my visas with, and they have good customer support. Perhaps try calling them?

Edited by eekee, 24 April 2012 - 07:34 AM.

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#8 titantom

titantom

    Member

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 12:35 PM

I used Travisa in Washington DC twice in the past year and they were great to work with. I still did the application online and printed it out, and as you said, sent all the documents and Passport to Travisa, the handled everything with the Russian Embassy and returned my Passport w/ VISA to me.

http://russia.travisa.com
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NOA2: 7/30/2012
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Notification From Embassy: 08/27/2012
Interview: 09/25/2012 (Approved)
POE: 10/22/2012
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#9 mendeleev

mendeleev

    Platinum Member



Posted 24 April 2012 - 08:33 PM

I also used travisa last year, so I called them again today. They'll still do the legwork but instead of submitting documents directly to the Consulate, they have to submit it to this new LLC. This new LLC, for an additional fee of $30 will submit the documents to the Consulate.

So, everything is like normal: they change and stay the same, but get more expensive.

So now I'm just waiting for the pesky invitation from the Academy of Sciences ...
  • 0

5-15-2002 Met, by chance, while I traveled on business

3-15-2005 I-129F
9-18-2005 Visa in hand
11-23-2005 She arrives in USA
1-18-2006 She returns to Russia, engaged but not married

11-10-2006 We got married!

2-12-2007 I-130 sent by Express mail to NSC
2-26-2007 I-129F sent by Express mail to Chicago lock box
6-25-2007 Both NOA2s in hand; notice date 6-15-2007
9-17-2007 K3 visa in hand
11-12-2007 POE Atlanta

8-14-2008 AOS packet sent
9-13-2008 biometrics
1-30-2009 AOS interview
2-12-2009 10-yr Green Card arrives in mail



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