You will most likely need a Russian visa for your Trans-Siberian trip. We offer a visa service through the Hong Kong or Beijing Embassy for our customers.
Below you can find full information on the visa process, where to apply and check if perhaps you are one of the lucky few who do not need a Russian visa.
Our Visa Service
We only offer a Russian visa service to our Trans-Siberian Railway customers. We can apply for the Russian visa through the consulate either in Hong Kong or in Beijing.
You should visit our office in person to complete the application and drop off passports.
If you are inside China, you can send your passport and application details to our Beijing office via courier. The Russian Embassy is represented in China via offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. You must apply at the consulate closest to your registered address.
The Russian Embassy has a strict visa application process and in most cases you need to apply in your country of residence. For Hong Kong that means having a visa for more than 90 days, while in China you need a ‘residence’ visa. There are some exceptions to this rule.
The normal application procedure takes six working days in Beijing and seven working days in Hong Kong. Sometimes a two days express service is available, and in some rare cases an express same day service may be offered.
We will give you full details, per nationality, upon inquiry/booking.
The official regulations for visa application are very strict but each Embassy enforces these regulations to a different degree. Officially you can only apply for a Russian visa from your country of residence.
You will need an official invitation letter from a travel agency registered in Russia and apply for the visa in person, after completing the online visa application.
The visa has a fixed length, depending on the tour itinerary and for a maximum of 30 days. Once you have booked a tour with us we can supply these documents as an email attachment so you can make the visa application at your local embassy.
The list of nationalities who do not require a tourist visa to visit Russia is forever growing, and talks are even in process about simplifying the application process for EU member states.
90 days – Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Israel, Nicaragua, Peru, Venezuela.
60 days – South Korea
30 days – Cuba, Thailand, Turkey
14 days – Hong Kong
It is also possible to travel to St. Petersburg for up to 72 hours without a visa on cruise ships and on a ferry. Ask us for more details about the restrictions.
Find the full and updated list on wikipedia.
Embassy of Russia in Beijing
The Russian embassy in Beijing is open from Monday to Friday from 9:30am to 11:30am for personal applications. If you wish to apply in person, you will need to make an appointment first (in person or by phone). It may be easiest to use a visa agent – ask us for a contact. Travel agents are only allowed to approach the consular section on a Tuesday or Friday.
Consular (Visa) Section
Address: Russian Embassy, 4 Dongzhimen Beizhongjie, Beijing, 100600, P.R. China
Phone: (+86 10) 6532-1267 (weekdays 14:00-18:00)
Public opening hours: 9:30-11:30
View the official website for directions and latest news.
The Russian Embassy in Beijing enforces the rules very strictly and we can only offer a Russian tourist visa service if you are living in China with an official ‘residence visa’ or long-term Chinese visa, with a few exceptions.
If you have a residence visa, all well and good. The regular application takes a full week, so apply on a Tuesday, collect on a Tuesday for example. The express application is issued overnight or in three days (depending on the staff at time of application and your nationality).
If you are travelling in China on a tourist/business visa, the visa application process can be quite troublesome and the exact regulations vary for different nationalities.
* US passport holders can apply for the visa, the process takes one week and the express service is at the discretion of the staff at the time of application. The ‘three year’ tourist visa available to US passport holders is at the discretion of Embassy staff and can take longer to process.
* French or Australian passport holders can apply for a tourist visa, but the process will take two weeks and there is no express service available. So, in short, the visa should be possible to arrange, but not at short notice.
* If you have a German, New Zealand, or British passport without a Chinese residence visa, the Embassy will not accept your application in normal circumstances.
We must provide the original support documents supplied from Moscow, which means we need extra notice to have this paperwork sent to us.
Transit visas, valid for a maximum of 10 days, are issued in Beijing, but you will need to show train tickets for the whole route of your journey from entry into Russia to exit.
The period of time covered by a transit visa is generally 3 days, implying that transit visas are for people whole are changing flights/transport in Russia.
However, The Russian consulate in Beijing offers a 10 day transit visa, you need to show your train tickets for the entire journey through Russia.
For a direct train from Beijing to Moscow, taking 6 days, you should have a few days spare in Moscow before departing onwards from Russia.
If you wish to stop in Mongolia the consular staff in Beijing will advise you to apply for the Russian visa in Ulaanbaatar; if you wish to stop in Irkutsk the staff will suggest you need a tourist visa, not a transit visa.
We can help arrange the necessary tickets from Beijing through Mongolia to Moscow/St Petersburg and on to Europe.
Shengen member states (e.g. most of Europe) also need to show travel insurance.
Registering your Russian Visa
If you intend to spend more than seven days in Russia, you must register your visa and migration card through your sponsor. If staying at a hotel, the hotel reception should register your visa automatically. If we have arranged your Russian visa the documents will be valid and your visa will be registered at the first destination within Russia.
If you choose not to register a stay of less than seven days, we advise you to keep copies of tickets, hotel bills, or itineraries in order to prove compliance with the law.
Russian police officers have the authority to stop people and request their identity and travel documents at any time and without provocation. Due to the possibility of random document checks by police, you should carry your original passport, migration card and visa with you at all times.
The purpose of the registration is to notify the immigration authorities about the place of your stay while you’re in Russia. In Russia the registration of your visa is in addition to the landing card you fill out when you enter the country. Prior to registering at a hotel or place of residence your train ticket acts as proof of how long you have been in Russia. You are not required to register until your train journey (that originated outside of Russia) terminates in the city of your destination.
Once you have been registered, you will be issued with part of the ‘registration form’, which must be kept and handed over to immigration on departure.
Compulsory for Schengen Members, including: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Spain, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, France, Israel, Finland, Norway and Estonia. It is necessary that the Insurance Company (local or worldwide) has an agreement with the relevant Russian insurance company (Ingosstrakh or “Rosno’) although this is not as strict as it once was. You will need to provide a copy of your insurance cover when making the visa application.