please read carefully

Most countries nationals need a visa to enter Russia (including EU, US and UK). Please, check at a Russian consulate near you for the latest info. We suggest all attendees to apply for a tourist visa, which is a very common route for attending academic conferences in Russia. The only prerequisite you need to apply for this type of visa is so-called "hotel voucher" (see item 1 below). Most hotels provide this service, including all suggested conference hotels, - free of charge. From experience, tourist visas are the easiest and quickest to get. Yet, it is recommended to apply at least 3 weeks ahead of travelling.

1. Obtaining a hotel "voucher":

First of all you should decide on a hotel where you want to stay. Most hotels (including all conference hotels) can send you an official "invitation" required for a tourist visa. This is a special Confirmation & Voucher form, (examples: 1, 2). Upon request, your hotel can fax or email you this "voucher" after you book a room. All recommended hotels have such ''visa support service'' included in the room rate. For other hotels, check beforehand.
Important: the dates on your tourist visa will be based exactly on the dates indicated in the hotel ''voucher''. If you need to stay in 2 different hotels (e.g. if you decide to visit Moscow) you should obtain 2 ''vouchers'' covering your trip, and submit both with your application.

If your hotel is not providing this service, or if you have complex trip itinerary (plan to visit more than 2 places or stay in Russia for more than 2 weeks) – please, contact ICVS organizers, – we′ll do our best to assist in your specific situation.

2. Applying for a visa:

In many countries, visa processing is outsourced to the auxiliary agency, Visa Handling Service (name may differ in some countries). They are a very useful resource - helpful in general (including free consultations by phone and mail) and can significantly facilitate visa application process. Detailed step-by-step instructions can be found on sites. If you apply through them as well, there is an additional service fee of 25 euros. In some countries "apply via mail" service is provided.

http://vhs-austria.com/ http://vhs-france.com/
http://vhs-germany.com/ http://vhs-greece.com
http://vhs-italy.com/ http://vhs-swiss.com/
http://ifs-norway.com/ http://ils-usa.com/

a. Required documents:

Check your local consulate/VHS web site ahead of time for a list of necessary documents. List may vary from country to country, but typically, you need to provide hotel "voucher", passport, completed application form, photos and pay a visa fee. Traveller medical insurance could be required for the citizens of Schengen agreement states and a some other countries. Form of fee payment, and processing times may vary from country to country. Again, it is recommended to apply at least 3 weeks ahead of travelling. It might be possible to get your visa in just 3 days, but the expedited service is more expensive.

b. Visa application form

should be filed online in most of the cases (visa.kdmid.ru), printed and signed (some consulates require 2 copies). The form has "type of visa" line where you should put "tourist". In addition, there is a "purpose of your visit" line where we strongly recommend to put simply "tourism". In theory, "tourism and scientific conference" or only "scientific conference" can work too, but that could require some extra arguments to convince a consul that you are not visiting any business and that the conference is a purely scientific/academic event not affiliated with an organization registered in Russia. The actual amount of effort may depend on the clerk's level of enlightment or mood. There will be no discussion if you put "tourism". Note that it is a very common practice for attendees of scientific academic conferences in Russia to arrive on tourist visas, - for example, this is the only type of visa support provided by many international congress service companies, organizing conferences in Russia. Yet, to keep it simple do not volunteer additional information. Let us know if any problems arise, - we will do our best to help.

c. Consulate visa fee

varies a lot depending on your nationality (on the basis of reciprocity). For example, the regular (non-expedited) fee for Schengen zone passports is only 35 euros, but for US passports it is 140 dollars. The exact fee could be found on the consulates' web sites

DISCLAIMER: the information above is only our recommendation.