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dcaviation
Topic Author
Posts: 487
Joined: Thu Aug 25, 2011 12:26 am

Sochi 2014 Travel

Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:58 am

I was talking with my coworkers about travel to Sochi winter Olympic games.
Only 33 countries don't require visa or can get visa waiver for up to 30-90 days visits to Russia. Most of these countries are former USSR republics.
To obtain a Russian visa is pain in the neck. You have to have invitation (hotels can issue those) and pay almost $100 (US citizens).
How this visa thing reflect on travel from all points of the globe to Sochi in 2014?
Are we going to see empty seats in the audience like we did see in Ukraine this year? Is Russian government doing something to attract foreign visitors to the Olympic games?
 
TransIsland
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Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2004 9:22 pm

RE: Sochi 2014 Travel

Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:51 am

You think $100 is a lot? Then try and get a visa (even just a renewal) for the U.S. ...

There will be plenty people willing to get the correct papers done in time, because plenty people are used to doing so whenever they travel.
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andrej
Posts: 1271
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RE: Sochi 2014 Travel

Mon Aug 13, 2012 6:31 am

I do agree with you that entire visa process is tiring and obnoxious. But look at the other side of the coin. Why should Russia give a visa-free admission to nationals, whose current national legislation requires Russians a visa entry?

When I wanted to travel to the US (before 2009) I had to apply for tourist visa and paid USD 100 (+ s/h) for the visa application (not sure of the outcome). Now if a country is on the ESTA list, one pays USD 14 for two years (so it is a little cheaper). I do find this discriminatory, as US nationals entering EU have no such fee (i.e. same fee should be applied as an act of reciprocity or the ESTA $14 fee should be dropped).

And do not forget that not too long ago, in a city of London, there were empty seats as well (albeit promptly fixed). But let's not only focus on the Eastern Europe with empty stadiums. There was Ice-Hockey championship this year (2012) hosted in Helsinki and Stockholm and it was an utter disaster (plenty of empty seats, not only in group stages, mainly due to sky high prices).

I am confident that the Olympics (in Rio, Sochi, and beyond) will be as good as the previous ones (thanks to athletes and their achievements). However I still question the economic viability of such project (and that is for other discussions   ).

Cheers,

Andrej
 
Pyrex
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RE: Sochi 2014 Travel

Mon Aug 13, 2012 11:16 am

Quoting andrej (Reply 2):

I do agree with you that entire visa process is tiring and obnoxious. But look at the other side of the coin. Why should Russia give a visa-free admission to nationals, whose current national legislation requires Russians a visa entry?

It is not so much getting a visa but the process to do it. You need to go through a travel agency (and pay them as well - maybe someone in the Russian State Department has a friend in the tourism business...), get a visa for a specific part of the country only, know exactly what dates you are going (you have a 30-day window after the visa becomes effective), register with your hotel when you land or risk harassment / attempts at bribery by the police, etc.
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Aleksandar
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Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2000 11:43 pm

RE: Sochi 2014 Travel

Mon Aug 13, 2012 11:45 am

I suppose there will be some liberalization for Olympic Games, especially for the countries who will send the biggest number of athletes and, possible, big number of tourists.
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sw733
Posts: 5884
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2004 6:19 am

RE: Sochi 2014 Travel

Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:22 pm

Take a look at what China did for 2008...they are in about the same situation. I am not quite sure what they did, or if they made it any easier, but I would assume Sochi would take a bit of advice from Beijing on that front.
 
WestJet747
Posts: 1950
Joined: Sat Aug 06, 2011 7:43 pm

RE: Sochi 2014 Travel

Mon Aug 13, 2012 2:41 pm

Quoting dcaviation (Thread starter):
pay almost $100 (US citizens).

$100 isn't chump change, but comparatively it's pretty cheap as far as visas go. I had to pay $525 to Australia last year to get a student visa which was only valid for 6 months (with extra charges if I wanted to be eligible to work). Also, as a Canadian, I have to pay $1,000 just to step foot in the UAE (that's for another thread though...).

Quoting dcaviation (Thread starter):
You have to have invitation (hotels can issue those)

I'm going to assume that for the Olympics, Russia will allow event tickets to be considered as "invitations".



*Edited for grammar.

[Edited 2012-08-13 07:53:08]
Flying refined.
 
dcaviation
Topic Author
Posts: 487
Joined: Thu Aug 25, 2011 12:26 am

RE: Sochi 2014 Travel

Mon Aug 13, 2012 2:42 pm

Quoting Pyrex (Reply 3):
It is not so much getting a visa but the process to do it.

Spot on. I think thats the biggest problem. Process to get the visa.
 
andrej
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Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2001 8:31 am

RE: Sochi 2014 Travel

Mon Aug 13, 2012 4:56 pm

Quoting Pyrex (Reply 3):

Simply put, their country, their rules. I do not like it, either.

Quoting WestJet747 (Reply 6):
I'm going to assume that for the Olympics, Russia will allow event tickets to be considered as "invitations".

I hope so as well!
 
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Aeroflot777
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RE: Sochi 2014 Travel

Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:13 pm

Quoting WestJet747 (Reply 6):
'm going to assume that for the Olympics, Russia will allow event tickets to be considered as "invitations".

Often times (most, actually), IOC issued invitations to Olympic Games act as visas to enter the country. Back when I was not yet a dual citizen, my accreditation allowed me to enter Barcelona in 1992 and Athens in 2004 without any other documentation. For everyone else without a invitation/accreditation, visa requirements are usually simplified during events like this. If I remember correctly, I do remember Putin talking about possible waivers during the Games. We'll have to wait and see.

Quoting dcaviation (Reply 7):
Spot on. I think thats the biggest problem. Process to get the visa.

That really depends on how well you do your homework. There are a few agencies online and offline that can do the entire process for you, even the hotel booking and invitation letter so that you never even have to leave your home. My American friends have used their services quite a few times and have never felt any pain from the process.

Aeroflot777
 
sw733
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RE: Sochi 2014 Travel

Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:53 pm

Quoting WestJet747 (Reply 6):
Also, as a Canadian, I have to pay $1,000 just to step foot in the UAE (that's for another thread though...).

Ummmm? $1,000? That's news to me.

http://www.uae-embassy.ae/Embassies/ca/Content/2117

"1) U.A.E. Embassy in Ottawa



a. The Embassy issues two types of visit visas:
i. Short term visa (Single Entry), with a validity of 30 days (non-renewable) – CAD $250

ii. Long term visa (Single Entry), with a validity of 90 days (non-renewable) – CAD $500"
 
Kiwirob
Posts: 13185
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 2:16 pm

RE: Sochi 2014 Travel

Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:54 pm

Quoting Pyrex (Reply 3):
get a visa for a specific part of the country only, know exactly what dates you are going

Yes you need to advise the dates you are going, unless you're applying for a multi entry or 12 month visa, you then only need to give them the date of first entry. You list up to 5 cities, however you are not limited to these 5 cities, I've never had a problem travelling to a city which wasn't on my list.

Quoting Pyrex (Reply 3):
register with your hotel when you land or risk harassment / attempts at bribery by the police, etc.

The hotel registers you automatically on check-in, you don't need to do anything; depending on the hotel registration can take anywhere from 15 minutes to a couple of hours, the hotel will hold on to your passport until this registration is completed, it's not a big deal.

I've been to Russia about 40 times over the past 5 years, I've never had any issues with immigration, police, attempts at bribery..... TSA in the US are far worse than Russian immigration.
 
dcaviation
Topic Author
Posts: 487
Joined: Thu Aug 25, 2011 12:26 am

RE: Sochi 2014 Travel

Mon Aug 13, 2012 6:00 pm

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 11):
TSA in the US are far worse than Russian immigration.

I would hope so, TSA is here for the protection, not immigration.
 
WestJet747
Posts: 1950
Joined: Sat Aug 06, 2011 7:43 pm

RE: Sochi 2014 Travel

Mon Aug 13, 2012 7:28 pm

Quoting SW733 (Reply 10):

I double-checked just now...the visa I was looking at was for more than 90 days. The fees you mention are still unrealistic in my opinon.
Flying refined.
 
tu204
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Joined: Wed Mar 08, 2006 12:36 am

RE: Sochi 2014 Travel

Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:51 pm

I am very sure that there will be a softening of visa policies during the Olympics and the Football world cup. Maybe even a temporary visa free regime with some countries.
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Avianca
Posts: 5374
Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2005 5:33 am

RE: Sochi 2014 Travel

Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:58 am

Quoting SW733 (Reply 10):
Ummmm? $1,000? That's news to me.

http://www.uae-embassy.ae/Embassies/ca/Content/2117

"1) U.A.E. Embassy in Ottawa



a. The Embassy issues two types of visit visas:
i. Short term visa (Single Entry), with a validity of 30 days (non-renewable) – CAD $250

ii. Long term visa (Single Entry), with a validity of 90 days (non-renewable) – CAD $500"

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