Advices

ADVICE #225

How to apply a visa in Europe

Europe is one of the most popular tourist destinations for Russians tourists. Just for the last year, 5.7 million citizens of Russia visited the European Union, and in general according to the Central Bank data, the Russians spent on foreign travels about $50.3 billion. There are a lot of questions about visa receiving for a trip to Europe, including: what kind of visa, how to apply the visa and how much is it? We can offer you the review of the tourist visas to European countries.

Visa not required

First of all, it is worth mentioning, which countries do not require a visa for Russian citizens. Unfortunately, there are only few European countries on this list. According to the international passport issued to the Russian citizens, you can get the following countries:

Bosnia and Herzegovina (up to 30 days for tourism, business and private trips);

Macedonia (up to 90 days - for business travel, scientific, cultural and educational exchanges, participation in sports events, for reporting trips, short-term training, medical treatment, visiting relatives or friends, and up to 30 days - for the tourists with a voucher);

Moldova (without restrictions);

Serbia (up to 30 days from the date of entry);

Montenegro (up to 30 days from the date of entry).

You can receive a visa to Cyprus free of charge and only for one day. You need to fill in theapplication form at the Consulate of Cyprus in Moscow (documents are accepted from 9:30 to 13:30) or online - at the official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus (in English). Together with the applicattion form you need to attach a passport (should be valid at least six months) and its copy, certified booking confirmation (or other residential complex) or invitation (if you are invited by relatives or friends) with the special application form on the responsibility of inviting person with a copy of his passport. It can also be remembered that Ukraine and Belarusare also geographically in Europe. Russian citizen can travel to Belarus by the internal passport and he needs an international passport for travelling to Ukraine since March 1, 2015.

Schengen visa types

1. The Uniform Schengen Visa (USV) is the most popular European visa. It stands for a permit of one of the Schengen Area Member Countries (26 countries; 22 of them are in the EU) to transit. The countries one can travel to, once he/she holds a USV include:AUSTRIA,BELGIUM,CZECH REPUBLIC,DENMARK,ESTONIA,FINLAND,FRANCE,GERMANY,GREECE,HUNGARY,ICELAND,ITALY,LATVIA,LITHUANIA,LUXEMBOURG,MALTA,NETHERLANDS,NORWAY,POLAND,PORTUGAL,SLOVAKIA,SLOVENIA,SPAIN,SWEDEN,SWITZERLAND andLIECHTENSTEIN. 

This area also includes such microstates as the Vatican City, Monaco and San Marino.

According to the purpose of traveling the Uniform Schengen Visa applies to all of the three categories, “A”, “B” and “C”. 

  • “A” category stands for the Airport Transit Visa which allows its holder to travel through the international zone of the Schengen Country Airport without entering the Schengen Country Area. Airport transit visa is mandatory for the citizens travelling from one non-Schengen state to another non-Schengen state through a change of flights in a Schengen Country airport.
  • “B” category stands for the Transit Visa which allows its holder to transit within no more than 5 days through more than one Schengen country by car, coach or plane.
  • “C” category stands for a Short-term visa which allows its holder to reside in a Schengen Country for a certain period of time depending on the visa validity. It can be a single entry visa (allows its holder to enter a Schengen country only once for the certain period of time), a double entry visa (allows its holder to enter a Schengen country twice for a certain period of time) and multi-entry visa (allows its holder to enter as many times as he can, but he should to stay in a Schengen Zone for maximum 90 days within half the year). It is divided into the following categories: 

C1 – the maximum validity is 30 days with single entry (issued for a specific trip);

C2 – the maximum validity is 90 days within six months from the date of the visa issue (a multiple entry visa may be given in case of the earlier single-entry visa receiving);

C3 – the maximum validity is no more than 90 days per year (the annual visa);

C4 – the maximum validity is no more than 90 days during the period for up to 5 years (issued to diplomats, businessmen, and politicians).

2. Limited territorial validity visa (LTV)

This type of visa obtained allows you to travel only in one country; in any other state it will be invalid. This type of visa is issued in very peculiar cases.  

3. National visa (D)

It is a long-term visa of “D” category. This national visa is granted to the certain individuals on the basis of the specific rules and laws of the country. It provided for persons who are to be studying, working or permanently residing in one of the Schengen countries. The national visa can be of a single entry (most often) and multi-entry.

 

What documents are required for a Schengen visa?

In addition to the completely filled and signed application form (each country has its own one) you should have:

• one or two photos (these have special strict requirements, which, however, any photographer should know, if you tell him that you need a "photo on a visa");

• a valid international passport (it must have at least two blank pages) and the copies of all valid previous visas;

• a copy of the national passport;

• a copy of the reservation of the return ticket (for a single entry visa); it is not necessarily to buy the ticket;

• the European travel medical insurance policy (covering medical expenses up to 30,000 euro);

• a proof of the residence (from the booked hotel or rented apartment) or invitation (for a single entry visa);

• a proof of employment (on the company’s letterhead with the indication of the position, salary and signed by the director, his deputy or chief accountant);

• a current bank statement (it must certify that the applicant has enough money to live in a Schengen country, approximately - 50 euro per person per day, if it is a single-entry visa).

Other documents specified of the visa type (tourism, business, medical tourism, etc.), as well as the countries of the Schengen zone.

 

Part 1. How to apply for a Schengen visa?

You can apply for a Schengen visa yourself. You just should to obtain documents to the embassy or consulate-general of the country through which you intend to enter the Schengen area (for example, you can not get a Schengen visa to Polandand and fly to Italy). If you are planning to visit several countries, a visa must be submitted to the embassy of that country where you will spend the most time.

Documents must be submitted and withdrawn personally, the application form should be filled online (not always in Russian), a reception at the Embassy should be booked in advance - you can wait your turn as a couple of days, so a month, that’s why you need to plan your trip at least in couple of months before the expected departure.

It is commonly believed that the easiest way to receive a Schengen visa through the embassies of such countries as Poland,Slovakia,Greece and Spain. It is considered that they are most interested in tourists, as they can not boast a high level of living in Europe.

The Embassy of the Czech Republic, Finland, France and Italy open Schengen visa for Russians less willingly, but the most difficult, is rumored to get a visa in the countries with the strongest European economies - Germany, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands.

As for official statistics, then, according to data from the European Commission, Belgium was the leader by Schengen visa denial to Russian citizens for the last year - it refused to 4.3% of applicants (760 persons have not received a visa from the 18 456 applicants). Norway is on the second place - 3.2% failure rate (1 436 persons from 46 894 applicants),Germany- 2.8% (11 471 people of 427 880 applicants) and the Netherlands- 2.5% (1,799 people from 74,628 applicants).

Least of all - 0.2% (250 out of 104 608 applicants) refused in issuing of Schengen visa to citizens of Russia last year was Latvia, along with it were: Greece 0.4% (3346 people did not receive visas from 853,537 applicants), Hungary 0.4% (289 out of 76 911 applicants) and Switzerland - 0.4% (175 of 43,130 applicants).

Most applications (almost 3 million) for Schengen visas in 2014 took France. Second was Italy(almost 2.2 million applicants), followed by Germany and Spain (2 million).

A single-entry Schengen visa for Russians costs 35 euro, a multi-entry visa is more expensive. An urgent visa is 70 euro. If you apply for the visa through a special visa centers, they will take charge for the intermediary services from 20 to 50 euro. If you contact the companies involved in visa applications, you should be ready to add to the amount of the visa fee some extra money from 30-40 to 1-2 thousand euro (depending on the type of visa, the country, the speed of visa processing and other services).

No need to pay a visa fee: children under 6 years; students, postgraduate students and accompanying teachers who entered the country in order to study or educational training; representatives of non-profit organizations not older than 25 years, participating in seminars, conferences, sports, cultural or educational events organized by non-profit organizations (rules from country to country may vary slightly).

As for Schengen visa processing through a specialized company, the price list throughout Moscow is the following (including visa fee):

 

Travel visa (up to 15 days, without invitation)

Multi-entry visa (for a year, without invitation)

Austria

RUB 7,000-10,000

700-720 euro

Hungry

RUB 7,000-10,000

870 euro

Belgium

RUB 12,000-13,000

700-720 euro

Germany

About RUB 10,000

700-720 euro

Greece

RUB 8,000-10,000

400 euro

Denmark

RUB 8,000-10,000

750 euro

Iceland

RUB 8,000-10,000

750 euro

Spain

RUB 10,000-12,000

750 euro (for two years)

Italy

RUB 10,000-12,000

About 2,000 euro (for three years)

Latvia

RUB 12,000-13,000

370 euro

Lithuania

RUB 8,000-10,000

750 euro

Luxembourg

RUB 8,000-10,000

850 euro

Malta

RUB 8,000-10,000

700 euro

Netherlands

RUB 8,000-10,000

700-720 euro

Norway

RUB 8,000-10,000

750 euro

Poland

RUB 12,000-13,000

600 euro

Portuguese

RUB 10,000-12,000

750 euro

Slovakia

RUB 8,000-10,000

750 euro

Slovenia

RUB 10,000-12,000

700 euro

Finland

RUB 8,000-10,000

470 euro

France

RUB 8,000-10,000

750 euro

The Czech Republic

About RUB 10,000

320 euro

Switzerland

RUB 8,000-10,000

600 euro

Sweden

RUB 7,000-10,000

600-620 euro

Estonia

RUB 8,000-10,000

600 euro

Companies engaged visa processing attract customers by all means, promising them a minimal possibility of failure, as well as maximum comfort: a visa without the personal presence of the applicant within three to ten days (there are urgent variants). An employee of the company come to your house for documents, will help you to issue a proof of employment and a bank statement (will give an advice what to do in case of not sufficient funds on current account), and solve all companion problems. Of course, you will have to pay for all optional services.

Although it is worthwhile noting that the percentage of refusal of a Schengen visa for Russians is insignificant: in 2014 the EU countries were visited by 5.7 million of Russians, and only 0.9% of applicants (54,088 Russians) were refused in a Schengen visa. About 60% (3.4 million people) have received multi-entry Schengen visa in the past year.

Most often people, who gave an incomplete package of necessary documents or made a mistake in filling out the visa application form, denied visas. Of course agency staff can minimize such risks. Although it is easy to do all these steps on your own, so only busy people who have not got enough time for visa processing or desire to understand all these details address to such agencies.  

 

Part 2. How to apply for a visa in the country outside of the Schengen area?

There are few countries that are not part of the Schengen zone, but this fact doesn’t stop the tourists flow. Thus, with a Schengen visa in Europe you cannot enter the following countries: the United Kingdom, Ireland, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia and Cyprus.

Information on visa to Cyprus was given at the beginning of the material; other countries  visa have some nuances while processing.

The United Kingdom

Citizens of Russia and foreigners, residing in Russia can file documents to the Embassy through Visa Bereau UKVisas. Citizens of such countries as Ukraine, Moldova, Belarusand other CIS countries that are not registered and do not live in Moscow, must apply for a visa at the British Consulate nearest to their place of residence. Nationals residing on the territories of Leningrad, Novgorod, Pskov, Murmansk and Arkhangelsk regions and the Republic of Karelia have to apply for a visa at the British Consulate-General in St. Petersburg. Residents in the Sverdlovsk,Chelyabinsk,Perm, Kurgan regions, in theRepublic of Bashkortostan and the Udmurt Republic also have to apply for a visa at the British Consulate-General but in Yekaterinburg.

As for documents, they are the same as for the regular Schengen visa processing (a valid international passport, a photo, a visa application (to be filled only in electronic form on the website), income documentation, a proof of employment, a proof of residence).

The cost of visa services is RUB 5,900, the visa fee is USD 129, and transit visa is USD 86.

Ireland

From 1 July 2011 to October 2016 the citizens of Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, having valid UK visas of General category ("general visitor" or "business visitor") in their passports, may enter the territory of Ireland. But for this purpose at the time of entry to Ireland for this visa at least one entry to the territory of the United Kingdom (with the passport control in the UK) must be made.

Otherwise Irish entry visa can be issued at the Embassy of Ireland in Moscow (Grokholski Pereulok 5). The following documents are required: a valid international passport, a copy of the first page of the passport with personal data of the applicant, two photos, a filled online application form (you need to fill in English), copies of old visas (if applicable), a proof of residence (or invitation), a copy of your national passport, medical insurance (covering medical expenses up to 30,000 euro), income certificates (bank statements), a proof of employment.

First you need to fill out a form on the site, then it will be assigned a unique number (transaction Number), after that and you should print the resulting data (address of visa division, the applicant data, a unique number and a full text of the statement that should be confirmed with a signature).

Then you need to go to the embassy with all the documents and printed information. You may bring documents from Mondays to Fridays, 09:30 a.m to 12:30 p.m. without any appointments.

The telephone number of visa division in the Embassy of Ireland in Moscow: +7 (495) 9375 900 (14:30 to 17:00).

Single-entry visa costs 60 euro, a multi-entry visa is 100 euro.

 

Bulgaria

Documents can be submitted to the visa division of the Bulgarian Embassy in Moscow, and the Visa Application Centers (in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Rostov-on-Don, Kazan, Samara, Nizhny Novgorod, Krasnodar, Krasnoyarsk, Kaliningrad, Irkutsk, Ufa, Khabarovsk, Vladivostok, Omsk, Murmansk, Perm, Saratov and Pskov). Documents to be submitted with the visa application: a completed application form, an international passport, a photograph, medical insurance (covering medical expenses up to 30,000 euro), a ticket booking confirmation.

A Bulgarian visa for citizens of Russia costs 35 euro, an urgent visa is 70 euro, a national visa is 100 euro. The service fee of visa center is RUB 1,064.

Time for consideration is 4 working days.

Romania

Visa is issued within 10 days at the Embassy of Romania in Moscow and at the Consulate-General in St. Petersburg and Rostov-on-Don. You are required the following documents: the application form (filled on site), an international passport (with a copy of pages with your personal data), a photo, a proof of residence, medical insurance, a copy of ticket booking confirmation, a bank statement (50 euro per person per day, but no less than 500 euro for the whole trip), a proof of employment (proof of student status), a copy of your national passport.

The short-term single-entry visa for Russian citizens will cost 30 euro, urgent visa- 70 euro.

Croatia

You do not need a Croatian visa to enter Croatia or transit through the country if you have the following documents:

• a valid residence permit issued by one of the Schengen countries;

• valid Schengen visa of “C” category (double- or multi-entry visa);

• valid double or multiple entry Limited Territorial Schengen Visa (LTV);

• valid long-term national visa of “D” category, issued by one of the Schengen countries;

• double or multiple entry visa in Bulgaria,Romania or Cyprus.

Others can apply for a Croatian visa at the Embassy of Croatia in Moscow or at visa application centers (Moscow,St. Petersburg, Rostov-on-Don,Krasnodar, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Sochi, Samara, Krasnoyarsk, Ufa, Vladivostok, Irkutsk, Khabarovsk, Kaliningrad, Murmansk, Omsk, Saratov and Perm).

You should have the following documents: a passport, an European medical insurance, a photo, a proof of residence, a copy of ticket booking confirmation, including a bank statement.

The short-term single-entry visa for Russian citizens will cost 30 euro, the urgent one will be 70 euro.

We wish you a pleasant journey!

 

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