Trans-Siberian Express – Don’t Forget Your Visa!

The Tran-Siberian Express is a journey on everyones bucket list… but before you tick it off, there’s much longer to-do list involved in the planning of this extravagant journey! This Tip is Tiplr’s attempt at getting you organised if you’ve got Trans-Siberian on the agenda!

So you’ve spent a long time saving, planning and packing…you’ve probably made a note on the fridge reminding you not to forget your passport and sunglasses.  You’ve even gone as far as deciding on a reading list for whilst you’re away, but, most importantly, have you got your VISAS sorted? Because if not, you’re not going any further than Moscow Airport! As a Brit, I’ve always found it fairly easy to dwindle my way into any country for a holiday, strolling across European borders with no hassle,  and sometimes even travelling on my driving licence! Unfortunately, Russia doesn’t take border control lightly, and you’ll need a lot more than your I.D to get in, regardless of your citizenship.  On your Trans-Siberian trip you’ll need 3 VISAS and we’re going to give you a rough guide on how to obtain them for Russia, Mongolia and China.

RUSSIA: If you’re lucky enough to hold a passport from any of the countries on the following list, you don’t need a VISA, you can look away now! If not, then I hope you’ve put some of your savings aside, because it costs upwards from $200 USD to obtain an ‘invitation’ and cover the consultation and service fee. You can apply here on the Russian National Tourist Office Website, and will need to support your application with a number of documents including your passport and sometimes even bank-statements and flight itineraries! Be prepared to be well-vetted before you succeed, but don’t worry the website is helpful and very explanatory.

MONGOLIA: Until the end of 2015, it was possible to enter Mongolia for 30 days without a VISA but sadly, all things change and this is no longer the case…unless you’re from the U.S. or a country on this list, which allows you 30 days entry without a VISA! For those who do need to apply, VISA’s for Mongolia are slightly cheaper and less stressful to obtain than the Russian counterpart. The Mongolian Embassy Website is the best place to gain more information and you’ll also find the Application Form here.

CHINA: Last but certainly not least, if you’re going to China for more than 72 hours (bizarre time concept, we know, but nevertheless…) and unless you’re a Chinese citizen, you need a VISA! Category L is the one you’ll need as a tourist. There are no real exemptions so everyone needs to click the following link to the Chinese Visa Application Centre or Chinese Embassy depending on your country, and follow the step-by-step process. Again, you’ll need to attach your passport, a passport photo and declarations of all-sorts including your legal citizenship status! It sounds stressful but Chinese websites are pretty efficient in their explanations and as long as you can part with $200 you should be ready to rock in no-time.

All in all, VISAS are annoying…nobody wants to spend hours filling out forms and forking out money to enter a country you’re already taking tourism too, but it’s unavoidable and they are key to a smooth and seamless trip! Trust us, you’ll have forgotten all about it with all the excitement and by the time you arrive and it will be completely worth it. Passport? Check. VISAS? Check. Let’s get going!

Featured Photo Credit: Latitudes Travel

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