GLOBAL UPDATE - Coronavirus (COVID-19)
29 Dec 2020 - Coronavirus
On 21 December 2020 the Russian government announced the suspension of flights between the UK and Russia from 00:00 on 22 December 2020, for a period of one week.
On 28 December 2020 the Russian authorities announced that the suspension would be extended until 23:59 on January 12 2021.
For more details please see the Foreign Office travel advice.
01 Aug 2020 – Coronavirus
The Russian authorities lifted restrictions on international flights from a number of countries, including the UK.
Foreign passengers are permitted to enter Russia, providing they have a valid visa, can demonstrate their citizenship or residence, and comply with other entry requirements.
You MUST check the specific COVID-19 test requirements airlines have in place in advance of your flight.
Different airlines have different requirements and may refuse boarding if they are not met.
In Moscow, express PCR COVID-19 tests are available in Sheremetyevo and Vnukovo airports as well as in a number of state and private clinics.
Some countries (including UK) are now accepting applications for tourist visas.
We are now able to issue visa support letters.
Please check with your nearest Russian Consulate for the latest information.
26 Feb 2020 – Coronavirus
Russia has placed a temporary ban on the entry of Chinese citizens to Russia.
This will be for Chinese citizens entering Russia for tourism, business and educational purposes.
03 Nov 2020 - Introduction of unified electronic visa in Russia
From January 01 2021 foreigners (NOT BRITISH) will be able to apply for unified e-visa to enter Russia. The Russian government has approved list of 52 countries whose citizens need to apply for unified e-visa.
E-visa is a single-entry visa and with this visa a foreigner can enter “as a tourist, with a guest or business visit, as well as to participate in scientific, cultural, socio-political, economic and sports events”.
The website of the Government of the Russian Federation states that this list includes 52 countries, whose citizens were allowed to enter Russia with e-visa within the pilot project. This project started in 2017 and had number of restrictions.
Processing time for single e-visa is no more than four calendar days. Consular fee will cost 40 US dollars; e-visa is free of charge for children up to 6 years old.
The unified e-visa is valid for sixty days from date of obtaining according to which foreign citizen can stay in Russia for up to sixteen days from date of entry.
A foreigner has right to travel within Russia having this visa and cross borders through any checkpoint.
n.b. the list of 52 countries does not include Great Britain
We have been notified of new Russian Visa Registration procedures, effective immediately (introduced on 08 July 2018). You may no longer register visas at the offices of Visa Support providers. All visas must be registered by the host (e.g. hotel, hostel/apartment owner) at the local Visa and Registration Department (OVIR).
When you need a visa for travel to a country requiring a visa you need a specialist visa service. The ASLA Visa Service has been providing a professional visa service for travel to Russia, China, Belarus and beyond for over 25 years. We make the process simple and straightforward and provide a cost-effective and secure method of obtaining the required visas. We also work alongside school and college groups, making the process easy with our step-by-step guidance.
In order to travel to Russia you require a Russian Visa
For UK passport holders, visas must be obtained in advance and cannot be acquired on arrival. You may apply from 6 months before arrival date.
All Russian visa applications in the UK must be made in person at a visa processing centre, located in London, Manchester and Edinburgh.
When you submit your application (in person), biometric data is collected (fingerprints).
If travelling on a group tour with one of our approved tour operator partners, please check with your tour operator BEFORE applying early, that the tour will not be cancelled or dates changed, as visas cannot be changed and visa fees are non-refundable.
We cannot apply for your visa on your behalf – you must make a personal visit to the visa application centre to submit your application – however, we do offer assistance in preparing/checking your Tourist Visa application and documentation.
Schools Groups – Please ask us about our special discounted rate for your party.
We can supply the visa support document (separate fee applies)
• Let us complete the online application form for you
• We will send you a list of other requirements and check your supporting documents
• From only £21 per application (including VAT)
As applicants in the UK must attend in person to submit visa applications, we cannot apply for visas on your behalf. However, in order for the process to go smoothly, we offer a form filling and checking service. We will complete your online application form, or check a form you have completed yourself. As part of this service we offer guidance notes on the range of questions that must be completed and we will check your supporting documentation.
We also supply details of how to apply for your Russian Visa, once your forms and documents are completed and checked.
This service costs from £21 per person. As part of this service, we can supply the required visa support document (no fee if you are travelling with one of our approved partner tour operators).
Please contact us on 01480 433800 or firstname.lastname@example.org to order the service.
UK passport holders require an entry visa for Russia.
Visa types available:-
• Tourist – Single and Double entry
• Business – Single, Double and Multi entry
For all types of Russian visa, applications in the UK must be made in person at a visa processing centre, located in London, Manchester and Edinburgh.
When you submit your application (in person), biometric date is collected (fingerprints).
We provide a service to assist with the application process, however we are not able to submit the application on your behalf.
We also supply the required Visa Support Letter (also known as a Letter of Invitation) for tourist, business and a range of multi entry visas.
If you need only a Visa Support Letter, we can provide this subject to your nationality.
Please review our visa support prices or apply for visa support.
We send the visa support to you by the method of your choice
Simply complete our application form online and use our secure payment system (credit card).
Tour operators planning tours to Russia should visit our homepage at www.aslatravelgroup.com to see the range of services we supply in Russia.
Obtaining visas can be a daunting process – and we are here to help. Here are some of the questions that clients ask us, and our replies:
Q: Do I submit my passport to get a Russian visa? If so, how long do you need it for?
A: Yes – in the UK, you must apply for your visa in person at the VFS global visa centre in London, Manchester or Edinburgh, where you will be required to submit your fingerprints and leave your passport. The visa is stamped on one of the minimum of two blank pages in your passport. The passport and applications are processed by the Russian Consulate – the timeframe depends on the cost. The shorter the time of processing, the higher the cost. Please see price list for full details of prices and processing times.
Q: Why do I need a visa?
A: Certain countries require a visa to grant access to that country. Each country has the right to control entry to their own territory – and granting visas is a way in which countries can check visitors before they arrive. Visas are usually obtainted prior to travel (Russia, China, India, Belarus, Uzbekistan in particular), but in some cases, visas may simply be granted on entry. Some countries require visas for certain nationalities and waive visa requirements for other nationalities.
Q: I am travelling to Russia. Is a “letter of invitation” the same as a “tourist acceptance voucher”?
A: Yes – in order to obtain a tourist visa for travel to Russia, your application needs to be accompanied by an invitation letter from a licensed Russian agency or hotel. Your tour operator or hotel (tourist visa) will provide this for you. If you need a business visa, the company you are visiting should provide this for you. If you do not have this document, we can provide one for you for the relevant cost – see price table for details.
Q: I am going on a Baltic Cruise and looking forward to visiting St Petersburg. Will I need a Russian visa?
A: You may travel on excursions organised by the shipping line, or by a bona fide local tour company (book in advance). In this case you do NOT need a Russian visa, but you must stay with your group at all times. You may not travel ashore independently, or extend your stay ashore without your group. If you apply for a double entry tourist visa, you may leave and return to the ship only twice during your stay. This is not recommended, Please see our range of shore excursions on this link.
Q: I understand that I need photos for my visa – how many photos do I need?
A: For Russia, China and Belarus – just one. Uzbekistan requires two photos and two application forms. Requirements can change at short notice – so always check with us in advance. Please also check the type of photo. Russia requires a recent standard passport photo in colour confirming to current passport agency standards. India requires one photo but of a larger size format – check with us for current details.
Q: How do I send my passport to you?
A: You must use a secure method of post. Do not use standard mail – you should use a secure method with possibility of tracking the item – Royal Mail Special Delivery is best recommendation. If you are local to us, hand-delivery is the most secure option of all, although our experience of Special Delivery is that it provides an excellent and reliable service at sensible cost.
Q: What do I need to do once my passport is returned?
A: You must check that the visa accurately reflects the dates of your travel and that all personal data is correct. Please check name, date of birth and passport number. It is your responsibility to ensure that your visa reflects correct travel data – failure to do so can result in denied entry to your destination country. If there are any errors, you must notify VFS global immediately to check what to do next to have the visa is reissued. Please remember that the responsibility is yours to ensure that you have a correct and valid visa.
The information assumes you have a British passport. For other nationalities other requirements may apply. Information may change, this is for guidance only and you should check with the Consulate or VFS global for up to date information.
Russia has placed a temporary ban on the entry of Chinese citizens to Russia.
This will be for Chinese citizens entering Russia for tourism, business and educational purposes.
Some nationals may now discover St. Petersburg and nearby Leningrad Region with free electronic visas:
Check to see if this applies to you; please check on this link to see the list of 53 foreign countries whose nationals can enter the Russian Federation and depart from the Russian Federation via St. Petersburg and Leningrad Region on the basis of electronic visas.
Unfortunately UK, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are excluded.
HM Passport Office has introduced passports that will no longer include the holder’s signature in digital format. Now the passport holder is required to sign their passport upon receipt and prior to travel. A passport is not valid for travel without your signature. Some passengers with unsigned passports have been refused entry to Russia.
Press Release on the Russian-South African protocol on reciprocal abolition of visa requirements The Protocol between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Republic of South Africa on the reciprocal repeal of visa requirements for foreign travel passports, that was concluded by an exchange of official documents, will come into force on March 30 2017. Under the Protocol’s provisions, citizens of Russia and South Africa travelling without the intention of working, studying or living in the other country’s territory, are free from visa requirements and can enter, stay or transit without a visa for a duration of up to 90 days
From February 01 2016, electronic visas for foreigners will be issued in 5 days. In addition, citizens of Japan, South Korea, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, China, Malaysia, and Singapore are able to get simplified visas at all international airports of Azerbaijan.
From January 13 2016, foreigners may enter with up to 1,000 US dollars without declaring while crossing the border to/from Azerbaijan.
Applications may now be made at the new Russian Visa Centre in Oxford Street, Manchester, convenient for travellers and groups in the Midlands and North of England.
From 10 December all Russian visa applications must be made in person at a visa processing centre, located in London and Edinburgh.
For those requiring assistance in completing application forms and checking you have the correct supporting paperwork, our team can advise and assist you. We charge £21 per person for this service.
Please call us for details on 01480 433800.
When you need a visa for travel to a country requiring a visa you need a specialist visa service. The ASLA Visa Service has been providing a professional visa service for travel to Russia, China, Belarus, India, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Myanmar and beyond for over 20 years. We make the process simple and straightforward and provide a cost-effective and secure method of obtaining the required visas. We do not issue visas ourselves and we are not an agency appointed by any government – we simply assist in the provision of your visa in a timely and secure way. Our service is available for those applying for visas in the UK.
Please phone us for details on 01480 433800. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5:30pm. Alternatively contact us by email at email@example.com
For those requiring assistance in completing application forms our team can advise and assist you.
We offer a form filling and document checking service for all visas for a nominal fee of £21.
For assistance phone us on 01480 433800 or contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
1. ASLA Limited (“ASLA”) acts as your agent to seek to obtain for you a visa or visa support. In acting as your agent ASLA’s responsibilities are to perform its duties at all times with reasonable skill and care and, in particular, to relay in an accurate and timely fashion to the relevant Consulate information provided by you to ASLA.
2. ASLA cannot, and does not, guarantee the provision of a visa or visa support. ASLA cannot influence the relevant Consulate one way or another in whether or not to grant a visa. ASLA acts solely as your processing agent.
3. ASLA is not responsible for any visa supplied being insufficient to enable you to enter or leave the country in respect of which the seeming visa has been granted, or visa support which has supplied being sufficient to enable you to apply for a visa. ASLA will merely provide back to you that which it receives from the relevant Consulate or issuing authority. It is your responsibility to check the validity and application of the visa or visa support provided by the Consulate or issuing authority, and not ASLA.
4. ASLA will rely entirely upon information as supplied by you, and its accuracy or otherwise. ASLA cannot and will not, check any information supplied by you.
5. ASLA is not responsible to you for any consequential loss, damage or expense which you incur as a result of failure to obtain a visa and/or any difficulties in travel caused by any particular visa; examples of such loss, damage or expense for which ASLA is not responsible include wasted travel costs, any refunds to airlines or hotels and any claims for loss of enjoyment and/or any claims for lost or wasted business opportunities or expenses. ASLA is not responsible for any events or circumstances beyond its control, including postal strikes, the acts or omissions of any third parties (including Consulates and delivery services), political unrest, terrorism, change in political circumstances, any event which may impact upon the grant by any country of a visa or other similar events or circumstances.
6. It can take up to 4 weeks to obtain a visa. It is your responsibility to ensure that you leave sufficient time for an application for a visa. ASLA will not advise you about the length of time it will take to obtain a visa and, upon your request to obtain a visa, we will simply process that in the normal way and accepts no, and has no, responsibility for any subsequent failure on your part to obtain a visa for any reason.
7. The contract between you and ASLA is governed by the laws of England and any dispute arising is subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Courts of England and Wales.
“…I just wanted to thank you for all of your assistance in the lead up to our application for a visa. We were able to successfully submit the application and get the paperwork done in half term. The feedback was that we had everything perfectly organised and we were able to get it done immediately with no issues, which they said was highly unusual and almost unheard of, so huge thanks to you for making sure things were able to run smoothly…” Nov 2019
“…You have been amazing! I am just collating all the documents now ready for tomorrow. I can’t thank you enough for all your hard work on getting these done so quickly…” Sept 2019
I just wanted to let you know that all went well in getting our Russian visas.
All your help was amazing & we had no problems & were asked NO questions either!
We went up on Easter Friday & the application centre was almost empty, only 3 in front of us &we were in& out in less than 20 minutes!! My husband was delighted.
We collected them on Wednesday, just as well we had allowed an extra day with the extended process now in place.
Again, very quick so delighted & I think we were a little luck with the timing in the end.
We leave tomorrow & I am very excited about the trip & looking forward to all the amazing sights we will see.
Again, many thanks for your excellent service, help & advice. I would certainly recommend ASLA Travel Group to anyone else.
I am so pleased my nephew (who works for Audley Travel) suggested using your service.
My very best wishes"
ASLA Ltd. was established in May 1991 with the primary aim of servicing the requirements of tour operators seeking a reliable supplier of hotel accommodation, inclusive land tours, river cruises, shore excursions and ancillary travel services inside Russia, Ukraine and the states of the C.I.S. In support of these objectives we established our own dedicated Visa Service for our tour operator partners and for all travellers to Russia, Ukraine (now mainly visa-free) and Belarus.
The objective of the group is to provide the highest standards of service throughout the region, together with efficient, reliable and professional levels of operations supported by a full service Visa Department. In fact ASLA were pioneers in combining the warm welcome of the Russian culture with Western service levels..
The head office is located in Huntingdon, England and serves as a sales and operational base, and this is where our dedicated Visa Department is based. The office provides easy access and reliable communications, using the latest technology, for members of the public, tour operator and travel agency partners around the world. Our Visa Department uses a range of secure courier services and Royal Mail Special Delivery for all passports and visas. For full details of our Tour Operator services, please visit: www.aslatravelgroup.com.
We have successfully established a network of associated offices in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kiev. We provide ground services for our inbound tour operator and travel agency partners in all of our destinations and are able to issue both tourist and business invitations as required by our customers.
Our local offices are fully licensed and accredited with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and we are recognised by all overseas Russian Consulates.
In the absence of official Offices of Tourism for Russia and Ukraine, ASLA Travel Group fulfills a role to provide information to the industry and organises media and travel industry visits, in conjunction with hotels and airlines.
The ASLA group of companies currently consists of over 100 permanent members of staff.
As the growth of tourism to the Russia and beyond increases, we are looking forward to welcoming more customers from around the world and to enjoying new partnerships with our industry colleagues.
Please call for an appointment if you would like to visit our offices to submit an application.
To contact us about any other matter please use the details below.
Asla Travel Group
159 High Street
PE29 3TF, England
Visa Service (UK Only)
Telephone: 01480 433800
Monday to Friday: 09.00 – 17.30 (GMT)
Closed UK public holidays
Asla Ltd is committed to ensuring that your privacy is protected and that we are General Data Protection Regulations compliant. Should we ask you to provide certain information by which you can be identified when using this website, then you can be assured that it will only be used in accordance with this privacy statement.
Asla Ltd may change this policy from time to time by updating this page. You should check this page from time to time to ensure that you are happy with any changes. This policy is effective from 25/05/2018.
What we collect
We may collect the following information online or by email:
• Tourist – Single and Double entry
• Contact information including email, address and telephone.
• Passport details.
• Employment, Family and Financial information
• Demographic information.
• Other personal information required to secure the product you request.
Why we collect your personal data
We require this information to provide you with the service or product you request and also for the following reasons:
• Internal record keeping.
• To secure the services you have requested.
• To provide official documentation you have requested to facilitate your travel.
• We may use the information to improve our products and services.
• We may contact you for feedback on our products and services that you have purchased. We may contact you by email or telephone. We may use the information to customise the website according to your interests.
• We delete your personal data after travel.
We are committed to ensuring that your information is secure. In order to prevent unauthorised access or disclosure, we have put in place suitable physical, electronic and managerial procedures to safeguard and secure the information we collect online.
A cookie is a small file which asks permission to be placed on your computer’s hard drive. Once you agree, the file is added and the cookie helps analyse web traffic or lets you know when you visit a particular site. Cookies allow web applications to respond to you as an individual. The web application can tailor its operations to your needs, likes and dislikes by gathering and remembering information about your preferences.
We use traffic log cookies to identify which pages are being used. This helps us analyse data about web page traffic and improve our website in order to tailor it to customer needs. We only use this information for statistical analysis purposes and then the data is removed from the system.
Overall, cookies help us provide you with a better website, by enabling us to monitor which pages you find useful and which you do not. A cookie in no way gives us access to your computer or any information about you, other than the data you choose to share with us.
You can choose to accept or decline cookies. Most web browsers automatically accept cookies, but you can usually modify your browser setting to decline cookies if you prefer. This may prevent you from taking full advantage of the website.
Links to other websites
Our website may contain links to other websites of interest. However, once you have used these links to leave our site, you should note that we do not have any control over that other website. Therefore, we cannot be responsible for the protection and privacy of any information which you provide whilst visiting such sites and such sites are not governed by this privacy statement. You should exercise caution and look at the privacy statement applicable to the website in question.
Controlling your personal information
You may choose to restrict the collection or use of your personal information in the following ways:
• whenever you are asked to complete a form on the website, you may decline to accept our offer to include you in our own marketing emails
• if you have agreed to us using your personal information for direct marketing purposes, you may change your mind at any time by writing to or emailing us at email@example.com
We will not sell, distribute or lease your personal information to third parties unless we are required by law to do so.
By completing our forms for visa supports or by sending your completed visa application forms you are agreeing to this information being passed to the relevant authority for processing. Once your data has been passed to the relevant authority, you should note that we do not have any control over the use or storage of that data. We may use your personal information to send you related information about products which we think you may find interesting if you tell us that you wish this to happen.
You may request details of personal information which we hold about you under the Data Protection Act 1998. A small fee will be payable. If you would like a copy of the information held on you please write to 160 High Street, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire PE29 3TF.
If you believe that any information we are holding on you is incorrect or incomplete, please write to or email us as soon as possible, at the above address. We will promptly correct any information found to be incorrect.