To travel to Russia, most foreign nationals are required to have an Entry Visa to Russia.
To obtain visa one have to apply for visa in local Russian Consulate or Embassy.
There are some sorts of visa. Most people come with Tourist Visa.
Normally a foreign citizen should apply for visa to Russia in the country of his/her citizenship. The rule is not very strict and the final decision is left up to the Consulates. We recommend that you get in touch with the Russian Consulate in the country of your current location and make sure that your application will be accepted. The Consulate may wish to see any paper which shows your position in this country and/or explains the necessity of applying there.
Tourist visa has period of stay - from date to date. One can come to Russia and leave on any date within that period but not outside of that period.
This is not a specially issued permit or something but just confirmation of hotel arrangements from Russian travel company or directly from the Russian hotel. The confirmation must contain the dates of reservation, names of hotels and places, special reference number and confirmation number.
Consulates demand that ALL days of the visa must be reserved in hotel(s). If you book 10 nights in a hotel in Russia, Russian travel company states these 10 nights in their invitation and finally you have visa with exactly 10 night period.
Formally invitation (visa support) may not have any cost because this is just a kind of Confirmation of reservation. Issuing an invitation without actual service means preparing false confirmation of reservation and therefore is illegal. However selling visa support without reservation is common business, this works good worldwide and one can find many offers from visa agencies on the Internet.
There is a border line with another country (Georgia country) in the Elbrus area.
The main valley in the area is Baksan valley (Baksan river).
Mt.Elbrus and all the routes are not within the border zone and the border permit is not necessary.
It is not a problem to apply and receive border zone permit. It has no cost. However the procedure officially takes 2 months for foreigners so they must apply far in advance. If a foreigner does not stay in Russia for 2 month before the date the only solution is to have somebody in Russia who applies on behalf of the foreigner. A tourist company or any private person can do this. The application must be passed to any local border guard office. The permit itself may be picked up only at regional border guard office in Nalchik. The person who picks up the permit must show the passport with visa.
Migration regulation says that one must be 'registered' in Russia within 5 business days upon arrival.
Registration has no connection with visa. Visa is a permit to come which was made by Consulate basing on the invitation from an authorized company. Registration is not receiving a permit or something but just sending information to authorities that you are here. It has special layout with your current address (that is why a hotel or a host person is necessary) but after the page is filled out correctly one can send it by ordinary post even personally and forget about this.
Migration Card is a piece of paper which may be received from a stewardess before landing or found on tables before the passport control gates. A foreigner have to fill out the form and show it a passport control gates. Half of paper will be retained by officer and half of the page stay with the person. Keep your part of the page carefully. You will need it when you go back through the passport control gates when you leave Russia. Absence of the Migration card is not vital but is a really big problem. You can not be registered correctly, you will be delayed at the gates for some procedures for hours or even days.
This is a kind of ticket and may be purchased easily. Because at the moment there is no special office for purchasing the permit there is no need to do anything. Park officers may meet you somewhere and ask for the permit. If you do not have it already you just purchase it on the spot. There is no penalty for not having it and if you do not meet an officer then you can avoid payment. Of course this works only if you come independently. If you come through a travel company (local tour operator) they must follow the rules and buy the permit for you.
The permit is for visiting the Elbrus area but may have different areas with different costs. The permit for Elbrus climb is the most common and most expensive. It gives the permission for Elbrus and all other places. If you do not intend to climb Elbrus you can buy the permit for staying in the valley or visiting side valleys. Such partial permit is cheaper. The permit was first introduced 10 years ago. After 2 years it was canceled for 4-5 years and in the middle of 2016 it was introduced again. Probably this may change in future again.
Common information about papers related to travel.
Papers that must be prepared beforehand:
Papers that must be arranged upon arrival:
- OVIR/UVIR registration.
Papers for places:
Travel in Russia in common:
Elbrus climb itself (just come and climb without trekking around).
Trekking around in Elbrus area:
An insurance is necessary to apply for visa. This is the demand of Consulates. They do not check papers but there is such field in their Questionnaire. There are no requirements regarding the insurance. This may be any insurance even the cheapest one. There is no need to have special insurance for mountaineering. Rescue service, first aid and initial hospitalization are free and same for all in Russia regardless of insurance.
If you can not have insurance in your country because of Foreign Office warning the solution may be to have an insurance from a non-UK based company. A sample: Austrian Alpine Club with a branch in UK.
Russian Rubles is the only currency to pay in shops, ticket-boxes, cafes and for any public service. Foreign currency is not prohibited but just not in use and may be used in a private deal if both sides agree. You can withdraw cash (Rubles) from ATM's (Visa, Master cards). Currency exchange is possible at bank offices.
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