Trans-Siberian Visa Requirements & Paperwork
There are few nationalities that can take a Trans-Siberian trip visa free unfortunately. A classic Trans-Mongolian adventure from Moscow to Beijing will require anything up to three separate visas – Russian, Mongolian and Chinese. This article intends to shed some light on the paperwork required – predominantly for UK citizens although embassy requirements are similar for nationals of other countries.
Russian Visa Documents
Of vital importance are two pieces of paper – a “confirmation” document and a “voucher”. Both documents must come from a registered travel agency in Russia and will need to accompany the application. Any mistakes on these usually means your visa application is rejected so it is vital that all information about you is exactly as it is in your passport. The dates of entry and exit must cover your entire trip in Russia. We will normally add a few days either side of your actual entrance and exit dates to cover any possible future changes to an itinerary. There are no problems in under staying a Russian visa but any overstay is treated very seriously by Russian immigration. You can apply for your Russian visa from 3 months before your date of entry to the country. Note that the Russian visa form must be completed online.
Mongolian Visa Documents
You can apply for your Mongolian visa from 3 months before your date of entry to the country. No additional supporting documentation is usually required. Note that the Mongolian visa form must be completed online and an address of your travel agent or hotel in Mongolia is asked. Most nationalities require a Mongolian visa but a notable exception are US citizens. A full list of those not needing a visa can be found by clicking here.
Chinese Visa Documents
You can apply for your Chinese visa from 3 months before your date of entry to the country. The embassy will insist on having a confirmation of your itinerary and / or hotel accommodation. They will also want to see proof of entry and exit of China. This would usually be your international flight tickets but if entering or exiting overland as a Trans-Mongolian trip will you will need to show some proof of a train ticket reservation. Note that as train tickets are only issued a maximum of 45 days before their date you are unlikely to have the actual ticket in hand to show the embassy at the time of application. Regardless of the dates of the above hotel confirmation and tickets the Chinese embassy will issue a 30 day visa valid for use within 3 months of the date of issue.
Obtaining the Visas
Clients travelling with The Trans-Siberian Travel Company can use our affiliations with CIBT VisaCentral who provide a professional visa service whether you are based in the UK or a number of other countries worldwide. We have set up a partner page with them and you can find more details by clicking here.
Please remember that visa requirements can change at any time and without warning. The information above is correct at the date of this article. Please do not hesitate to contact us for up to date information. The visa process can look formidable but the rewards of the Trans-Siberian railway far outweigh the bureaucratic hassles!
Article originally posted by Phil Stanley: 10th October 2013