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Travel Info

Visa information

Visas are the official authorisation for entrance into different countries. Whether digital, stamped or stapled into your passport, visas grant you entry for an agreed amount of time.

The process to secure a visa can be unpredictable, expensive and frustrating. Sending your passport along with the correct fees to an embassy doesn’t always result in an approved visa. It’s a bureaucratic process that we have little control over.

Vodkatrain journeys may cross multiple borders, you’ll need a Tourist Visa for each country you enter. It is your responsibility to ensure you have the right visas for your journey. We can help take the pain out of the application process with two levels of support.


1. Vodkatrain Visa Support – Included

Vodkatrain includes a light-touch visa support with each booking.

  • Application Essentials that give you tips to complete and submit your applications.
  • A cover letter detailing all information required to fill out and submit applications.
  • Letters of invitation from Local Partners - when required as part of your application.
  • You can find links to embassy websites and Visa FAQs below.

Once you complete your applications, send them along with your passports and supporting documents to the relevant consulates, and pay the associated fees directly.


2. The Visa Machine support – Additional cost

  • If you would rather hand over the application process to the experts, The Visa Machine can help.
  • Follow the link and select your trip to begin: https://vodkatrain.thevisamachine.com/pre-booked-trips/
  • Using the supplied Cover Letter, complete the steps as prompted.
  • The Visa Machine will fill out all official applications and return to you for signing.
  • Once signed, return the applications to The Visa Machine with your passport and supporting documentation.
  • The Visa Machine deal with consulates directly and send back your passport once the visas are processed.

Many clients find this service provides additional peace of mind. The costs for this paid service vary depending on your visa requirements. The Visa Machine is always upfront and transparent about pricing, so you’ll always know where you stand.

Passports & supporting documentation

As part of your visa application, you will need to submit your passport and supporting documentation. Embassy requirements vary and are subject to change without notice. We recommend checking with each embassy for the latest conditions at the start of your application process.

  • Passport: This will need to have 1-2 blank pages available per visa and 6-months validity beyond your departure date. If your passport does not meet these requirements, you should renew it immediately.
  • Cover Letter: Issued by us when necessary for your application.
  • Letters of invitation: Issued by government departments or Local Partners from each country, we’ll provide these to you when required.
  • Photos: Most visas will require the submission of one or more passport-sized colour photos. The size and number of photos required vary by embassy.
  • Visa fee: Each embassy will require payment for visas ahead of or at the time of application. Costs and payment methods vary per embassy.

If you have any further questions, see the Visa FAQs for the country you are travelling to below, or contact our Travel Advisors.

Visa FAQs

Do I need a Visa?

Most nationalities require a visa for Russia and you must apply for it in advance. Visas are not available on arrival or en route.

You will need a Letter of Invitation (LOI), sometimes referred to as a Visa Support letter to submit with your visa application. Vodkatrain will provide the necessary documentation including your Letter of Invitation and Cover Letter that is required to support your visa application.

Once you have received your Cover Letter, Russian Travel Confirmation and Invitation Letter from us, you will be able to start the application process to obtain your visa. The earliest date you can apply for your Russian visa is three to six months prior to your intended entry date, depending on nationality. Please check with your local consulate/embassy.

Russian visas are issued with a specific start date and expiry date based on the Letter of Invitation and will only be valid for the duration of your pre-booked Vodkatrain arrangements. All travel must be completed within these dates. Completed visas cannot be changed or extended. Note: In order to ensure that your visa covers all days when travelling overland, as well as safeguarding against unforeseen delays or rail schedules, the dates on your visa will be longer than those on your actual itinerary.

If you would like to stay or travel in Russia before or after the commencement of your Vodaktrain arrangements, please contact us to discuss your options and the visa procedure as you may be required to obtain a second Letter of Invitation. Please note each embassy has varying restrictions on the number of Invitation letters that you can submit, with most only allowing a maximum of two.

Visa Registration

In Russia and some countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS – States of the former Soviet Union) you are required to pay a visa registration fee when you check in at hotels and hostels.

You must register your Russian visa no later than 7 days after your arrival into the country. You will need to register your visa at each city, please ask hotel reception to do this for you. Although the process is now electronic, we recommend you ask reception for a hard paper copy that can be kept with your passport and immigration card at all times. It is strongly recommended that you keep your passport and all original documents in a money belt and have photocopies of your passport, visa and the original hotel card/immigration card ready for presentation to police if requested. Travellers who lose this departure card or do not obtain the necessary registration will not be able to check-in to hotels and will be liable for a substantial fine imposed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and administered by the local police.

All costs and responsibility for registration lies with individual travellers and is usually between USD$5 - $10 in each city – Some hotels provide this service free which is a bonus.

Visa fee

Please check the appropriate consulate website for specific information on the cost and method of payment. Cash is generally not accepted and often payment will need to be arranged before you apply with the embassy/consulate. The actual application process will vary depending on your nationality and the consulate/embassy at which you will be applying. Please check the appropriate consulate website for specific information.

Do I need a visa?

Citizens of the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and most EU countries (German citizens do not require a visa for stays under 30 days) will need a Tourist visa to enter Mongolia, valid for stays that do not exceed 30 days. Citizens of Canada will not need a visa for visits up to 30 days and citizens of the USA will not need a visa for visits of up to 90 days. Citizens of other countries should check with the relevant consulates or contact our Travel Advisors for further information. If a visa is required, you will need to apply for it in advance. It is not possible to obtain a visa on arrival in Mongolia at land or air borders.

Vodkatrain will provide all required invitation letters including a cover letter outlining your itinerary, travel arrangements and the details of the inviting organisation who will be looking after you while you are in Mongolia. Your visa will be valid for entry 90 days from the date of issue.

Visa Fee

Please check the appropriate consulate website for specific information on the cost and method of payment. Cash is generally not accepted and often payment will need to be arranged before you apply with the embassy/consulate. The actual application process will vary depending on your nationality and the consulate/embassy at which you will be applying. Please check the appropriate consulate website for specific information.

Do I need a visa?

Most nationalities require a visa for China and you must apply for it in advance. Visas are not available on arrival and can be difficult to obtain outside your country of residence.

Vodkatrain will provide the necessary documentation including your Cover Letter and Proof of Travel Arrangements from our Local Partner in China, which are required to support your visa application. Please note that we can only include the travel arrangements that Vodkatrain has booked on your behalf. If you have organized any independent travel outside of your Vodaktrain arrangements, you will need to provide your own proof of these arrangements.

Your Chinese visa is valid for entry within 90 days from the date of issue; you cannot apply for your visa outside of 90 days prior to your intended date of entry into China.

Visa Fee

Please check the appropriate consulate website for specific information on the cost and method of payment. Cash is generally not accepted and often payment will need to be arranged before you apply with the embassy/consulate. The actual application process will vary depending on your nationality and the consulate/embassy at which you will be applying. Please check the appropriate consulate website for specific information.

Do I need a visa?

All foreign visitors require a visa to enter Iran except citizens of the following countries: Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovenia, Egypt and Turkey. Citizens of these countries can stay for up to 3 months without a visa. For all other nationalities, Iran visas can take from 6-8 weeks to be processed. Please allow sufficient time for this.

Iranian visas are valid for a maximum of 30 days. However, your visa entry dates are subject to your travel plans and itinerary.

You will need to provide Vodkatrain with the details of which embassy/consulate you intend to lodge your Iranian visa application. We will provide the necessary documentation including Cover Letter and your visa authorization/ reference number that is required to support your visa application.

All European passport holders, including United Kingdom citizens, must supply, in addition to the standard documents, either a Police Check/Certificate or a Fingerprint Check (also can be obtained at your local police station.

Visa fees

Please check the appropriate consulate website for specific information on the cost and method of payment. Cash is generally not accepted and often payment will need to be arranged before you apply with the embassy/consulate. The actual application process will vary depending on your nationality and the consulate/embassy at which you will be applying. Please check the appropriate consulate website for specific information.

Do I need a visa?

Many nationalities including British, Australian, USA, Canadian and members of the EU do not require a visa to enter Kazakhstan for stays of up to 15 days - which are date specific to correspond with your Vodaktrain arrangements. We suggest you check with your local consulate for the most up to date information.

There are no Kazakhstan consulates in some countries (e.g. New Zealand) and so you must apply for your visa through a consulate located in another country.

For information on how to apply for a visa to enter Kazakhstan through the consulate in Singapore, visit the following website: http://www.kazakhstan.org.sg/content/intro.php?c_id=14

For information on how to apply for a visa to enter Kazakhstan through the consulate in the United Kingdom, visit the following website: http://www.kazembassy.org.uk/visa_information.html

If you would like further recommendations and advice on applying for a Kazakhstan visa through a consulate located in another country, please contact a Travel Advisor at Vodaktrain or your visa processing company.

For other nationalities, please refer to your local consulate for information. Visit the following website to find your local embassy: http://www.embassypages.com/

Letter of Invitation

Many nationalities do not require an invitation letter for Kazakhstan, however, if one is required it will be provided by Sundowners Overland. The invitation letter is issued by Kazakhstan’s Ministry Of Foreign Affairs and details are sent to the relevant consulate who will issue the visa. A copy of the invitation letter must be sent when applying for the visa for the consulate to cross-reference with the information they have received.

Visa fee

Please check the appropriate consulate website for specific information on the cost and method of payment. Cash is generally not accepted and often payment will need to be arranged before you apply with the embassy/consulate. The actual application process will vary depending on your nationality and the consulate/embassy at which you will be applying. Please check the appropriate consulate website for specific information.

Do I need a visa?

Most nationalities do not require a visa to enter Kyrgyzstan as a tourist for a stay up to 60 days, including Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, UK, Germany, Netherlands, Canada, Ireland, USA and Switzerland. As visa requirements can change without notice, we recommend you contact your local consulate to ensure a visa is not required for your journey.

Please go to http://www.kyrgyzvisa.com to see whether you require a visa to enter Kyrgyzstan and to check visa application fees.

Do I need a visa?

All visitors to Turkmenistan require a visa. A Letter of Invitation (LOI) is also required before you can apply for your visa. Vodaktrain will provide the necessary documentation including your Letter of Invitation that is required to support your visa application in order to obtain your visa on your arrival in Turkmenistan.

Turkmenistan Tourist Visas are valid for stays up to 10 days. Your Letter of Invitation, as well as your visa, will only be valid for the same number of days you have pre-booked accommodation and services through Sundowners Overland.

Visa fee

Please check the appropriate consulate website for specific information on the cost and method of payment. The actual application process will vary depending on your nationality and the consulate/embassy at which you will be applying. Please check the appropriate consulate website for specific information.

Do I need a visa?

As of February 2018 nationals of Israel, Malaysia, Singapore, Turkey, Japan, Korea and Indonesia can stay in Uzbekistan for up to 30 days visa-free.

All other travellers need a visa to enter Uzbekistan. As of 15 July 2018 electronic visas are being introduced,applications can be made via https://e-visa.gov.uz/main You can find more detailed information regarding this new procedure here.

If you require a double entry visa please contact our Travel Advisors for more information.

Validity

Visas for Uzbekistan are valid for a maximum of 30 days. However, your visa entry dates are subject to your travel plans and itinerary.

To apply for your e-visa you must allow at least three working days prior to the date of travel. The e-visa usually takes two days to process and will be sent via email.

Visa Fee

Please check the appropriate consulate website for specific information on the cost and method of payment.

Registration

All visitors to Uzbekistan must register with the local department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs within 3 working days after arrival. Your hotel accommodation will register you automatically. Please ensure you keep any registration documents issued by the hotel with your passport and visa documentation until you exit the country.

Do I need a visa?

A number of nationalities, including the USA, Australia, New Zealand & United Kingdom, have visa-free agreements that are valid for stays in Armenia for up to 180 days per year (usually 90 days per visit). Canadian nationals require a visa to enter Armenia. Depending  on your nationality, it is possible to obtain your visa on arrival with a validity of 21 days from the date of entry or you can apply for an E-visa via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Republic of Armenia website.

Visa fee

Please check the appropriate consulate website for specific information on the cost and method of payment. Cash is generally not accepted and often payment will need to be arranged before you apply with the embassy/consulate. The actual application process will vary depending on your nationality and the consulate/embassy at which you will be applying. Please check the appropriate consulate website for specific information.

Do I need a visa?

A number of nationalities do not require a visa to enter Georgia, including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, UK, United States and countries that are members of the EU. Please check entry requirements with your local Georgian embassy to determine whether visa-free arrangements are applicable for your nationality. 

If you are a citizen of a country that requires a visa to enter Georgia, you will need an invitation letter. Invitations are provided for arrangements booked with Vodkatrain.

Visa Fee

Please refer to the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia for the latest details on visa fees.

Embassy websites for Australian, British and New Zealand residents. 

Australia

UK

NZ

China

http://au.china-embassy.org/eng/ls

http://www.chinese-embassy.org.uk/eng/visa

http://www.chinaconsulate.org.nz/eng/lsqz/gg/t1196820.htm

Russia

https://australia.mid.ru/web/en/tourist-visa

http://ru.vfsglobal.co.uk

http://www.newzealand.mid.ru/tourist-visas.htm

Mongolia

http://mongolianembassy.org.au/visa/visa-categories

http://embassyofmongolia.co.uk/?p=186&lang=en

http://mongolianembassy.org.au/visa/visa-categories

Japan

http://www.au.emb-japan.go.jp/itpr_en/visa.html

http://www.uk.emb-japan.go.jp/itpr_en/index_000025.html

http://www.auckland.nz.emb-japan.go.jp/itpr_en/visa_tempvisitor.html

Iran

http://en.canberra.mfa.ir/index.aspx?fkeyid=&siteid=214&pageid=32998

http://london.mfa.ir/index.aspx?fkeyid=&siteid=234&pageid=33953

http://wellington.mfa.ir/index.aspx?siteid=323&pageid=25560

Oman

http://oman.org.au/consulate/visas/single-entry-visa

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/oman/entry-requirements

No visa required

Kazakhstan

http://www.kazakhstan.org.sg/content/intro.php?c_id=14

http://www.kazembassy.org.uk/visa_information.html

http://www.kazakhstan.org.sg/content/intro.php?c_id=14

Turkey

https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/

https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/

https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/

UAE

http://mofa.gov.ae/EN/Pages/default.aspx

http://mofa.gov.ae/EN/Pages/default.aspx

http://mofa.gov.ae/EN/Pages/default.aspx

Kyrgyzstan

www.kyrgyzvisa.com

www.kyrgyzvisa.com

www.kyrgyzvisa.com

Turkmenistan

http://www.embassycanberra.com/turkmen/tourist-visa-for-turkmenistan/

https://uk.tmembassy.gov.tm/en/consular-services/visa-info

http://embassyauckland.com/turkmen/tourist-visa-for-turkmenistan 

http://www.embassywellington.com/turkmen/visa-information/

Myanmar

https://evisa.moip.gov.mm/

https://evisa.moip.gov.mm/

https://evisa.moip.gov.mm/

Uzbekistan

http://evisa.mfa.uz/evisa_en

http://evisa.mfa.uz/evisa_en

http://evisa.mfa.uz/evisa_en/

Georgia

http://www.mfa.gov.ge/?sec_id=96&lang_id=ENG

http://www.mfa.gov.ge/?sec_id=96&lang_id=ENG

http://www.mfa.gov.ge/?sec_id=96&lang_id=ENG

Armenia

http://www.mfa.am/en/visa

http://www.mfa.am/en/visa

http://www.mfa.am/en/visa

Azerbaijan

https://evisa.gov.az/en

https://evisa.gov.az/en

https://evisa.gov.az/en