Last Updated: June 4, 2017
Update: A German said they were not able to secure a Russian visa in HK with a 90 day HK tourist visa (see the comments below). Some nationalities may have luck with this guide, others may not. It’s worth making a trip to the Russian consulate in HK a day ahead of submitting your documents to see if they’re willing to issue you a visa on a HK tourist visa.
I would strongly advise everyone to attempt to secure their Russian visas from their home country. Securing a tourist visa from the Russian consulate in HK may or may not work out, so plan accordingly. If you have your heart set on visiting Russia then getting a tourist visa from HK should be a last resort, not the first option.
One of the biggest logistical issues of our trip was sorting out how we would get our Russian tourist visas. By the time we had our trip itinerary finalized it was too late to apply for the Visas in the U.S. so we needed to apply for them on the road somewhere. From all of our reading, our best bet to get our visas would be Hong Kong. Hong Kong is one of the few places (only place?) that a Russian consulate/embassy will issue tourist visas outside of your country of residence. We’re not planning on returning to the U.S. before we’ll be in Russia so this was our one shot at it. Information on exactly how to get this visa in Hong Kong was either a few years old or very vague posts on TripAdvisor/Lonely Planet forums so here’s a very thorough guide on what to do, as of March 2017.
Russian Consulate address:
- Sun Hung Kai Centre, 21st Floor, 30 Harbour Rd, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
- You can drop off visa applications in the morning between 9:00am and 12:30pm.
- You can pick up your passport anytime they’re open. Their hours seem to usually be 9:00am – 12:30pm and 2:30pm – 5pm, M-F. There was a note on the door that said they closed at 4:30pm on Fridays, but it wasn’t clear if this was permanent or not. To be safe I wouldn’t cut it close at the end of the day on Friday.
List of documents required for U.S. citizens. You should also review the website for the Russian consulate in Hong Kong, although it wasn’t very informative.:
- U.S. passport
- Xerox copies of U.S. passport
- Printed visa application from https://visa.kdmid.ru/
- On the appointment details page of the application, note that you are going to submit it to the consulate in Hong Kong. Not the Visa center. The Visa Center is the place down the hall where they’ll try to send you when you show up. Note that the Visa Center charges an additional ~$40 USD per person and doesn’t do anything other than help you get your documents in order.
- Passport photos
- You’ll have to cut it to size when you get to the office because the size they want is non-standard, but they provide scissors and glue.
- $1074 HKD (~$140 USD) per person, in cash. Note that they do not accept $1,000 HKD bills, only $500 HKD bills and smaller. This was for express (next business day) service. It wasn’t clear how much non-express service costs.
- A color copy of your Russian letter of invitation for each person.
- This is an important point. Our invitation letter listed both of our names so we only printed 1 copy. The woman at the Russian consulate was not pleased about this. Make sure you have a copy for each person.
- Use this service and step by step process to get your Letter of Invitation. Ours appeared in our inbox within a few hours after submitting our information.
- It did not appear we needed the originals sent from Moscow.
- Your HK tourist visa slip. Although we did not need it, they may ask you for it.
- Get each person’s documents in order. Make sure you have extra copies of everything. If you need printing, I highly recommend loading your documents on a USB thumb drive and going to Good View Color Laser printing shop. It’s about a 5 minute walk from the consulate and it’s next to the Wan Chai subway stop. Friendly service, reasonable prices. Cost us about $4 USD and took about 2 minutes to get various documents printed, some in color, some in black and white. There’s probably cheaper ways to do this, but we were willing to pay a small price for the convenience.
- When you walk in the consulate office (on the 21st floor), first walk over to the table and cut your passport photos down to the size of your printed visa application and glue them onto the visa application page. That’s why they they have the glue stick and scissors there.
- Next, walk up to the desk and tell them you want to apply for a visa. They will try to send you down the hall to the Visa center. Show them your application already filled out with all of your accompanying documentation.
- They will begrudgingly accept your visa application, but be forewarned they will absolutely complain to you about something in your application. In our case we had only printed 1 visa invitation letter and had no xerox copies of our passports. They were annoyed by this (despite us going into the same office the day before and writing down the list of documents they wanted). They seem to be annoyed by everything so just be prepared that no matter what you do, they’ll be annoyed. Smile and say you’re so sorry.
- They’ll ask if you want express or standard. Standard is ~5 business days, and rush service is overnight (or next business day). We paid for next business day because we only had a few days in Hong Kong. They’ll tell you when to come back and pick it up.
- We returned the next business day and picked up our passports! Great success!