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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.