It would seem my 24 hours in Moscow is not as simple as just booking a flight with a 24 hour stop over, seeing Moscow and then heading home…
You would think someone as travelled as me would of been more aware of visa requirements, it may even have swayed my route option.
I need what is called a Transit visa to allow me to leave the airport at all. If you are staying in the airport, no longer than 24 hours you do not require a visa.
The cost of a transit visa is £63 +£38.40 service charge + £13.80 postage. Today is the 4th of Feb with my flight to Bangkok being on the 12th of march. The visa centre advised my passport would be ready by 4th march then up to 10 days to arrive at my home address, anyone else think that’s a bit tight?
I do not want to be sitting at the start of march fretting about the whereabouts of my passport so had to opt for the Urgent service. Urgent service works out at visa £125 + £45.60 service charge +£13.80 postage. Yes! I ended up paying a whopping £184 for my dream of visiting Moscow for 24 hours.
Now the logistics.
In Northern Ireland I have no option of visiting a Russian Embassy on the island of Ireland, with the Dublin Embassy not being acceptable on a UK passport.
I chose to come to London after filling in the application online, where I needed to bring my passport, application and supporting documents.
The visa processing centre is not at the Russian embassy but instead at the Barbican in an office building dedicated to visa queries. Just turn up,get a ticket and wait your turn. Pretty efficient.
£184.50 later, a few tears and my visa application is in process.
Top travel tip would be to check visa requirements before you book.
What made this trip even more stressful was that I was also getting my Thai visa. The good news is that I turned up at the Thai Embassy a day earlier than my appointment, they processed my documents and I was able to collect my passport the next day which then allowed me to continue to the Russian visa centre.
Thai visa is not required for trips lasting up to 30 days but as mine is 36 I needed to apply. Their cost is a more manageable £30.