Getting a visa for
We got our visa for Russia at the Embassy in Ankara, Turkey.
The Embassy is a little hard to find, so here are the GPS coordinates:
N39 53.564 E32 51.184
If you want my personal opinion: I think the whole Russian visa system
is a shameless fraud intent on robbing you of your money and making
you as miserable as possible while making sure it is iffy enough, so
that you are vulnerable to further extortion schemes from officials
Now that I got that of my chest a friendly suggestions: let someone
else take care of it! You don't want the hassle. Just pay an agent to
do the work for you. Best contact David Berghof at Stantours.
We needed a 3 month double entry visa, which spells out to a Business
visa. Which in turn means you need an invitation. We got that through
David Berghof without any problem, however it sent us back 140 US dollars
each!. (no fault of David's, that is just how much it costs). The invitation
comes in form of a telex number and some information for the visa application
form . With that we showed up at the Russian embassy in Ankara. After
a long wait we ended up in front of an extremely unfriendly Russian
who reluctantly handed us visa application forms. We filled these out,
added a passport picture and conveyed the telex number of our invitation.
Also we asked for a same day visa! (It was going to be expensive anyway!)So
we were handed a receipt and asked to come back at 5 in the afternoon.
At 5 it was another long wait to retrieve the visa which set us back
another astonishing 190 US dollars each!
Just for the record. That is not the end of it. Once you are in the
country, you have to get the visa registered! Actually you are supposed
to register at every place where you stay more than 3 days. This registration
when done through an agent costs another 35 US dollars! So do your self
a favor: splurge on one hotel and have them do the registration!
Coming into Russia:
At neither border was there a bank to change money or any other money
changers. You need rubles to pay for the vehicle registration and the
insurance so buy some rubles before showing up at the border!
Leaving Russia for Mongolia:
There was nowhere to change money at the border. First place
to get Mongolian currency is in Oelgy!
Leaving Russia for Kazakhstan:
There was nowhere to change money at the border. We had leftover currency
from our last stay in Russia. Otherwise I am sure there is moneychangers