Visa stamps

Visa Overview

You are most likely to need a Russia visa for any Trans-Siberian Railway trip. Next up are visas for Mongolia, China as well as Belarus, depending on your nationality and the route of your trip.

Once you have booked a tour with us we will provide you with the essential Russian visa invitation (included in our standard tour price) and guide you through the whole visa application process.

Our Beijing office offers a visa service for Mongolia and Russia by appointment and only for our tour customers. If you are visiting Hong Kong in person, we can also help arrange a Russian visa and China visa. Our partners in Moscow offer a Belarus transit visa service if you will be travelling to Eastern Europe after your trans-siberian trip.

If you can not take advantage of our visa service, we can send the visa support documents so you can make the visa applications yourself at your local embassy.

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Which Visas?

You are most likely to need a Russia visa for any Trans-Siberian Railway trip, as well as visas for China and perhaps Mongolia.

You may not need a Mongolian visa if you are travel on the Trans-Manchurian route, travel from Moscow to Vladivostok, or if you are a Canadian, German or US Citizen as well as other exceptions.

You will proably need a China visa and if you plan a double entry trip, i.e to Hong Kong and back again or to Mongolia and back again, you will need a double-entry China visa.

You may also need a Belarus transit visa if you plan to travel overland between Russia and Eastern Europe, read more on the Belarus Visa page.

Our Visa Service ~ Who Qualifies?

Our visa service is only available to our customers that book a trans-siberian package with us. We do not supply visa invitations if you do not book a tour/accommodation with us.

Where to Apply?

It is best to apply for the visas in your country of residence before you start your travels, but bear in mind (Chinese and Mongolian) visas are often only valid for three months before date of entry. The Mongolian visa is quite straight-forward and you can apply at any embassy around the world. The Russian Embassy has very strict requirements and normally you have to apply in your country of residence. This is definitely the case in China (Beijing, Shanghai or Guangzhou) and you must have a valid Chinese residence visa in your passport. There are some exemptions and the rules are often interpreted differently on a whim!

Beijing

We can apply on your behalf for the Russian visa and Mongolian visa through the representatives in Beijing. Furthermore, we offer a postal visa service if you are already in China and cannot visit an embassy closer to your registered address. If you are living in Beijing it is relatively easy to visit the embassies in person, see our usual address page for more information, but if you are busy during the working week our guides in Beijing will be able to help with the legwork.

The Mongolian consulate in Beijing is very busy particularly in summer and the application can take more than three working days so plan on this only with plenty of time or as a last resort.

If you travel through Eastern Europe and require a Belarus visa then you can apply at the friendly Embassy in Beijing, or the less friendly embassy in Moscow, or at other locations including the little publicised consulate in Singapore.

Hong Kong Office

Our Hong Kong office can help with China and Russia visas. There is a Mongolian Consulate in Hong Kong but you need to apply in person. The Russian Embassy has a long list of countries listing who can/ can not apply and for some nationalities you will need a Hong Kong entry clearance for more than 90 days. To apply for a Russian and Chinese visa in Hong Kong, you must actually be in Hong Kong at the time of application as the visa office checks for a valid entry stamp in your passport.

Click for full details of our visa service.

Apply yourself

If you do can not take advantage of our visa services, you can obtain your own visas. A lot of countries now offer a postal visa service either directly or through official agents, or else local visa agents can help with the whole process. Don't forget we will still be here for advice and to provide the essential Russian visa invitation.

When to Apply?

Timing

You will need a bundle of visas if you plan to travel overland across several continents. Visas can generally be obtained in any order, but often not more than two months in advance of travel. Some embassies only allow application in your country of residence which can be problematic when you are on the move. The embassy will require your passport for up to one week each in some cases and so juggling your passport between the relevant embassies can be tricky. Visas are generally valid for only three months after issuing, so don't apply too early.

The Russian visa application can be a difficult process. The regulations in both Hong Kong and Beijing are strict and frequently changing, especially when they are busy, or a new consul starts working! Depending on your circumstances, it may be best to apply for the visas before you leave your country of residence. Each visa normally takes around one week, although express applications are often available.

Visa regulations change frequently and often without warning

ALWAYS DOUBLE CHECK FOR YOURSELF!

Although we try to keep these pages as up-to-date as we can we accept no liability for any inaccuracies in the information contained.