How to get a Russian visa in Shanghai

By Bryan • china, humour, personal, tokyo to paris overland, travel • 25 Jun 2008

If you have been wasting time on the is site you are probably aware that I’ve been whining about the perils of obtaining visas from the Russian consulate in Shanghai.

I’ve decided to fuse my story with some information so anyone who happens to stumble to this post via some clever search words will have some information to run with.

Keep in mind that your eligibility and the visa fees vary with the passport that you hold.

If you are Canadian…this is what you need:

  1. Tourist voucher (I used getrussian.com). My colour, but fuzzy pdf copy was accepted but not without some serious cross-checking from consulate staff)
  2. Two passport photos. Actually, they only needed one, but it is always a good idea to keep a stack of these handy when you are traveling, and it is never a good idea to walk into a consulate with only one.
  3. Copies of travel insurance. I brought 3 copies with me. The guy glanced at them and then promptly returned them to me.
  4. Copies of your passport and China residency permit. The residency permit/work-visa is essential. Russian tourist visas in Shanghai are only provided to those who have legal working/living status in China. If you are just traveling through, it currently appears that you are out of luck.
  5. A famous last name to break the ice.

The consulate is located near the Bund at #20 Huangpu Road (黄浦路20号). The easiest way to get there is by taxi, but if you are a cheap punk like myself you can make your way down to the Bund and just walk north along it, cross Suzhou creek and you should see a very nice colonial-style villa standing along facing out towards the Huangpu River…just look for the Russian flag.

Consulate hours are currently 9:15 – 12:00 Monday, Wednesday, Friday. I’ve read internet reports of massive lines at this particular consulate. I arrived a little late at 9:00am, but there were only about 15 people in the line. It didn’t start moving until 9:30. Keep in mind that it is highly probable that one or two people in the line are representing a group of travelers or business people and have a stack of applications.

You will be asked for your passport by the Chinese guards and then upon entering the grounds, be asked by a Russian security-looking fellow to stow your mobile in a outdoor locker.

The visa section is a tiny little room and the staff are very, very slow. Keep that in mind…this is probably the slowest visa office I’ve ever visited. A simple appication form is avaliable in this room.

One of the visa officers has developed a bit of an online notoriety as a typical Russian hard-ass…and of course I end up in his line.

After waiting for about 30 minutes, it was my turn…immediately following an rejected American (I think he was trying to get a business visa – which seems to be more of a headache).

I pass all of my documents, including my very obviously-not-original tourist vouchers, through the window box.

I’ve applied for quite a few visas during my time in Asia, but I’ve never had anyone go through my documents so thoroughly. I believe he spent about ten minutes pouring over the papers and digging around my passport. He pulled out a couple of binders to compare information – possibly the valididy of my voucher issuing company. He didn’t look at me once. Then he got up and walked away…then came back several minutes later. I was was pretty sure I was going to get rejected.

VO: “What do you do in China?”

B: “I work and live in Nanjing”.

VO: “oh…..*small smile forms on his face*…..do you perhaps relation to Sidney Crosby?”

*after I heard that I knew that everything was going to be ok.

B: “Yes, he’s actually my father’s cousins’ son”

I think it is pretty obvious that I’m not and I’m sure he knew it as well, but I figured I didn’t want to disappoint the guy…besides…he smilied and my visa was on the line.

VO: “heh heh heh…he is good player. I can give you visa 15 days”.

And that, is how I got my Russian visa. Although the legitimate excuse for obtaining it was my Chinese residency permit, I like to think that my last name makes for a better story.

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2 Responses

  1. Ron Crosby

    Hi Bryan,
    I am glad that you got your Russian Visa. Just for the record There are no famous hockey players in your known family. I suspect that we are related to Sid the kid at some point . did you get the parcel that I sent you

  2. Pingback: Countries formerly part of Mother Russia I | Bryan Crosby Dot Ca

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