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Russian Embassy Winter Holiday Schedule 28 November 12

Posted by Jonathan V. Phillips in Embassy Consulate Closure, traveler advise, Visa News.

Russian Embassy  Holiday Schedule 2013


It is time to start planning your visa to Russia if you want to leave with in the next two months.The New Year’s holiday, Orthodox Christmas and the Old New Year Celebration see a seasonal shutdown of the Russian government.The first few weeks in January has official business in Russia come to virtual stand still. This means every thing pertaining to the processing of visas stops for nearly ten days.

Since these holidays fall on different days of the week every year, the way the Russian government takes the holiday is dynamic from year to year. Forecasting the exact dates of the closures becomes an annual event that heralds the coming of the holiday season in Russia. Experience tells that the holiday can be suddenly extended with a situations like  the Foreign Ministry closed and the embassy open and the embassy closing  and the Foreign Ministry open on certain days. Careful planning by a visa expert is essential for travelers to Russia with departure dates in January and February.

Russian Visa Closure Dates:

Although not an official holiday in Russia, there will be no Russian visas processed on Western Christmas, the 25th of December.

New Year’s 2013 is on a Tuesday. The Embassy and the Russian Foreign Ministry will be closed from Monday the 31st of December through the 8th of January. Visa and invitation processing will resume on Wednesday, the 9th of January, 2013.

Old New Years is Monday the 14th January. It is undetermined at this point whether or not the Foreign Ministry or the Embassy will take the holiday. This is usually announced in the week after Orthodox Christmas if there will be a closure.

Vladimir Putin has in the past, extended the holiday by proclamation. It is unclear at this point if this will happen again this year.  These proclamations can sometimes have the Foreign Ministry in Russia  closed, effecting business invitation approvals, but the Russian Consular offices in the US are open. G3 will communicate any additional Holiday closures as soon as they are officially announced or we anticipate it.

Effect on Russian Business Invitations and Visas:

Because of the two step nature of the Russian visa process, Russian business visas travelers have to be especially conscious of their processing schedule and departure. dates during this time. Since,the first part of the visa process is the invitation, the time required by the Russian Foreign Ministry to approve any new invitation will increase. The second part being  the time the embassy takes to make the visa, once they have the approved invitation or telex authorization back from Moscow.

The January holiday schedule can cause huge delays for travelers trying to get to Russia. Travelers are advised to take this holiday schedule into account when figuring out their processing times and make adjustments if necessary  Nobody wants a passport locked in the consulate while it’s closed for ten days.

Not Enough Time? Consider Going as a Tourist :

Travelers to Russia should note that G3 can obtain tourist vouchers even when the government in Russia is closed. This visa support is different from the  business invitation support in that these vouchers, as they are known, don’t require governmental approval and can be issued in as quickly as 24 hours in some cases. If time is essential, a tourist visa could be the solution for some business travelers who do not have enough time to get an approved business invitation before the closure or wait for the government to reopen.

Expert Advise :

It is our experience that the Russian Winter Holiday closures creates inconveniences for many travelers each year. In many cases visas that would not ordinarily have to be rushed have to be expedited to accommodate the Russian schedule. This time of year sees many multiple entry, one year invitation requests, that take 21 business days to be approved,  changed to expedited single or double entry requests in order to meet a departure date.

G3 maintains an expert staff that is able to figure out the best solutions and advise on your trip to Russia. Russian visa questions can be addressed to the G3 Russian Country Information Codinator, Issaia Aponte, at the New York Office or to the Russia team email.


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