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urbanks is a labour of love, a one-man band. There isn’t, strictly speaking, an ‘us’. As a solo project, the urbanks website grows incrementally, one page at a time. Concerned with urbanity, urbanks looks at the historical and geopolitical events that have shaped our towns and cities, primarily those of the 20th century.

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Getting a Russian Visa

For Brazilian and most other South American countries, travelling to Russia is easy, notwithstanding the distance; for tourist stays of up to 90 days, no visas are required. The same is true, less surprisingly, for all the post-Soviet countries. For those with a passport from a EU member state country, or those with an American, Canadian, Australian, Japanese passport, then a visa is required in order to travel to Russia. And getting a visa can be an arduous process. In fairness to the Russian government, though, their visa policy is based on the principle of reciprocity, and the reason it is hard for Europeans to travel to Russia, is because Europe makes it hard for Russians to travel to Europe. The lack of a mutual visa policy between Russia and the west is a hangover from the Cold War, and consequently Russia remains largely unexplored by – in shorthand – Westerners.

I’m a British citizen, and at the time of applying for my Russia visa I was living in Germany. Looking back at it now, the process of getting a visa wasn’t as strenuous as I thought it was at the time. There are plenty of great websites which help you with the process, step by step, and if you follow those steps to the letter then the likelihood of encountering any problems is small. At the time of applying though, I was stressed and I think that was in large part because of what I perceived to be the circular logic at the heart of the process. For, in order to get a visa, you need to know the dates you’ll be arriving in and leaving Russia, and – as I saw things – I couldn’t know the exact dates, because me going to Russia was dependent on me having a visa.

You have to go out on a limb and, before you do anything else, you need to book your flights tickets to Russia. After you’ve booked your flights, you’ll need to buy health insurance to cover the duration of time you’ll be spending in Russia, and you’ll also need to buy an invitation from a hotel or a travel agency company. Only then can you start the visa application process.  

For Brazilian and most other South American countries, travelling to Russia is easy, notwithstanding the distance; for tourist stays of up to 90 days, no visas are required. The same is true, less surprisingly, for all the post-Soviet countries. For those with a passport from a EU member state country, or those with an American, Canadian, Australian, Japanese passport, then a visa is required in order to travel to Russia. And getting a visa can be an arduous process. In fairness to the Russian government, though, their visa policy is based on the principle of reciprocity, and the reason it is hard for Europeans to travel to Russia, is because Europe makes it hard for Russians to travel to Europe. The lack of a mutual visa policy between Russia and the west is a hangover from the Cold War, and consequently Russia remains largely unexplored by – in shorthand – Westerners.

I’m a British citizen, and at the time of applying for my Russia visa I was living in Germany. Looking back at it now, the process of getting a visa wasn’t as strenuous as I thought it was at the time. There are plenty of great websites which help you with the process, step by step, and if you follow those steps to the letter then the likelihood of encountering any problems is small. At the time of applying though, I was stressed and I think that was in large part because of what I perceived to be the circular logic at the heart of the process. For, in order to get a visa, you need to know the dates you’ll be arriving in and leaving Russia, and – as I saw things – I couldn’t know the exact dates, because me going to Russia was dependent on me having a visa.

You have to go out on a limb and, before you do anything else, you need to book your flights tickets to Russia. After you’ve booked your flights, you’ll need to buy health insurance to cover the duration of time you’ll be spending in Russia, and you’ll also need to buy an invitation from a hotel or a travel agency company. Only then can you start the visa application process.  

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