Russian Federation Brings Middleman ILS to Process Your Visa
Usually, if you apply for a visa, your application and payment goes directly to the consulate. In Russia’s case, however, the embassy has transferred this procedure into the hands of Invisa Logistics Services
(ILS), a management company that behaves as a middleman. Lucky for you—you get charged an extra $30 fee for your trouble in addition to customary $140 (for tourists).
But this may be the least of your worries when it comes to applying for a visa to the Russian Federation. As a longtime traveler told The Washington Post
, “Everything is like this in Russia. Nothing is easy.”
Travelers haven’t felt easy about the ILS, either—they’re downright dire: The Washington Post
’s Ayako Doi writes of eight saintlike trips to the ILS to procure visas for his son and his son’s friends: three to drop off the applications and five to pick up the completed visas. These trips include one occasion of the documents getting lost, plus two demands by staff to start the application process all over again because of a technicality.
(Luckily—or not—the ILS has
started accepting applications by mail, as of 7/20/2012, but Russian consulate’s website hasn’t caught up on this detail.)
And technicalities abound. The ILS application itself indicates that a technicality will immediately disqualify you. When you fill out the online form
, print, and sign, take note—“No corrections should be made with a pen (only signature and date can be hand-written).”
Drop your application off and pick up at one of the ILS offices in Washington D.C., Seattle, New York, Houston, and San Francisco, not
the Russian consulate. And be careful! Blogger Kate
reports grimly, “I had forgotten how difficult it is to navigate the Russian bureaucratic nightmare … you MUST select ‘ILS-WASHINGTON’ instead of ‘WASHINGTON’ as your embassy of choice. Half the people in line made this mistake today and yesterday, and they will reject your application if this is wrong.”
For picking up your visa, she advises, to go “with a good book.” The ILS offices evidently have no special numbering system for their lines. Doi notes that in the D.C. office, “I saw arguments erupt over who was next in line. A numbered-ticket dispenser at the door would solve the problem, but perhaps that would be too simple.” In that trip, Doi waited nearly two hours. Kate confirms with a “standard” wait time of an hour and a half.
The most hope for future travelers is provided by Collin Kriner of Directionless, a globe-trotting travel blog. At the New York ILS office, he observes, “Agents slip into line with the rest of the applicants. They look like any other person there … but when they reach the window, they’ll whip out a folder with twenty-odd passports. I sat in line for a good hour, plotting murder, while one of these creatures processed paperwork for absent individuals who sat at home in comfort.”
Be one of these absent individuals in the comfort of your own home by allowing Passport Visas Express to process your application for a Russian visa. Don’t let a technicality of “typos or poorly worded answers
”, get you rejected from a trip to the Russian Federation. Our experts will review your application beforehand and will do all the waiting so that you won’t.
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