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nomadnorrie From Sydney to the formula 1 grand prix in Shanghai, Beijing, South Korea, Mongolia, Russia, Ukraine and Europe. Final destination by train is London. Hopping on a flight to Finland, then on to Japan and finally back to Sydney.

Get a Russian visa in Shanghai, simple

CHINA | Sunday, 13 April 2008 | Views [11785] | Comments [16]

This is what you get if you cross Adidas with Nike, Li ning a local brand with a slogan strikingly similar to that of Adidas and a Nike tick-like logo.

This is what you get if you cross Adidas with Nike, Li ning a local brand with a slogan strikingly similar to that of Adidas and a Nike tick-like logo.

Really it was, you just have to know the rules and follow them.

Getting my Russian Visa

My second time in Shanghai. This time I wanted to get a visa from the Russian consulate just north of the Bund. And what a tremendous effort it was.

I got to the consulate on Monday morning and there were a few people already queuing at 8.15am. Doors open for lodging applications at 9.15am.
Before I went to the consulate I got my invitation at realrussia.co.uk for £15. I had that printed onto the best paper the local photocopying shop had and it really did look authentic.

Here are some handy details (as at April 2008):
* Lodging visa application times: Mon, Wed, Fri 9.15am - 12.15pm.
* Collecting visa times: Mon, Wed, Fri 2pm-2.30pm.
* Pay immediately after lodging your visa at a separate window in the same office, the clerk tells you how much. You will get a receipt that you need in order to obtain your passport after processing.
* Prices for UK passport holder:
398 Yuan 1 week processing.
1000 Yuan 3 day processing.
1600 Yuan 1 day processing.

* Take with you:
Copy of your passport main page.
Copy of your current Chinese visa.
1 passport photo, no glasses, hats etc.
Copy of insurance policy.
Visa support documents.
Copy of visa support documents.
* The office has brief visa lodgment forms in English which I filled in. Almost everyone else had already filled in their forms elsewhere.
All of the instructions are printed outside the consulate in English.

I had everything I needed it turned out but it was one of the most nerve racking things I have done in ages. It's just a flamin visa I know but still. Two guys in front of me were both in a mess; neither had invitations. The Spanish guy was particularly buggered because although his travel plans were more legitimate than mine (he had travel tickets), he had no idea how things worked. Then I was served by a clerk who said nothing except do you have a photo. For me that was it, I relaxed.

The Spaniard was told to go away and find a company to sort him out with an invitation.

The Dutch guy lodged a 3 day transit visa application (no invitation needed I think) The Dutch guy didn't make it clear at first that he wanted a transit visa and he was nearly turned away.

When I returned to the consulate to collect my visa everything was fine and I was issued with the full 1 month visa that I had asked for. Again there were two people with issues - 1 German guy didn't pay for his visa when he lodged his application so it wasn't processed. He was told to come back when the applications desk was next open to pay. Another guy was trying to lodge his application which obviously didn't work.

On each occasion there were only a dozen or so people lodging or collecting so the short opening times didn't matter.

In Shanghai, while waiting for my visa

I had what was likely to be one of my last experiences of Chinese bureaucracy when I changed some money at the Bank of China. I remember doing the same thing in Hong Kong and at that time thought nothing of it. Indeed if it were not for the teller queue I would have been in and out in a flash. At the same bank in Shanghai however things were different. I filled out two forms, one in triplicate and watched the teller stamp all four sheets. Then the paper was passed about as different people looked at the sheets just completed. My passport was registered on their system as well as the phone number of the last hostel I was staying at (should have been my phone number). In China I have been signing my name as abc when checking into hotels. Up to now this had not caused me any problems. On this occasion I was mad enough to sign both slips differently and was caught out! Sort of caught out anyway. I signed abc and abcblogs, obviously different but not my real name. abcblogs was acceptable.

I could have bought one of these on the Bund.

Instead I sat and watched this policeman chase hawkers off the Bund strip. The policeman clearly didn't want to catch them, it was quite comical.

I had met up with Josianne again in Shanghai and we went shopping most of the weekend. We spent something like 3 hours looking for clothes on the first day but Josianne didn't buy anything. I bought a sweater from the first men's shop that we went into. After that we had a delicious vegetarian meal that evening at a place in the French district (Vegetarian Lifestyle, 77 Song Shan Rd) - horse chestnut, veggie eel (vegetables wrapped in seaweed) with Chinese dates. Pricier than my meals normally cost but it was still cheaper than a meal out in Sydney, we were stuffed. Average price for a dish there 25 Yuan.

Once Josianne had left for London I did some more shopping on my own along East Nanjing road. I'd been along this road before and I was tempted to go to the market that the hawkers talked about; as you walk along every 20 meters someone says "Watch, Bag, DVD, Shoes". I started talking to one of them and they showed me the way to their 'market'. Initially these 'markets' just look like small shops but there are secret hidden doors in the walls that lead to the real fake stuff. I say real fake stuff because along the high streets in China you'll find shops that are blantantly a copy of western brands but they have a slightly different name - in Chinese eyes they are not fakes, they just look similar to a western brand. There are others like the Lacoste-like brand on East Nanjing road in Shanghai but here is my favorite:

Adidas in Beijing
Adidas crossed with Nike

Behind the secret doors (which are normally locked behind you as you enter) are the real western brand copies. Nike, Converse, Puma, Reebok, they are all there and at a fraction of the price of normal western high streets (if you can haggle that is). Stupidly, the starting price seemed to be about the same as one would expect to pay in the west. I didn't buy anything but I am glad I had a look. The traders do a good job of looking shocked when haggling and the usual phrases come out - "I buy for less than that", "Not possible to sell at that price in Shanghai".

With a few days to go before I could collect my visa I went on a mission to buy my train ticket to Beijing. After buying a soft seat ticket on the overnight service I sat in the square and started chatting to a few guys hanging around. The conversation was quite normal until one of the guys asked me if I think China will "hit" Taiwan soon! Surprised I resorted to body language to make sure I had understood correctly, I said "China" then threw a feeble punch in the air followed by "Taiwan" and they all replied "dui" (correct)!!!

In the square the other side of the train station I saw a crowd moving around like a class of 10 year olds playing football. Like lots of other people there I stood and watched to see what was going on. In the middle of the crowd was a woman who's nose was bleeding. There was a guy there who was desperate to get her attention but when he got near her she shook. The mob kept saying things like "hit" and telling him to leave so it seemed to me he had smacked her. He didn't give in and kept getting close to her, putting his arm around her and walking with her. In between wiping her bloody nose on her sleeve the poor woman was crying. Then I heard the guy asking her what she wanted to eat and shortly after that he punched her right in the face. Having spent almost 6 months in China I have never seen anything like it. The woman was taken into a restaurant and sat down out of the way, a few moments later the skinny guy that punched her ran off.

This time in Shanghai I noticed that there are an awful lot of tramps/beggars about; a wrinkled old woman eating leftover food in an open air side street cafe; deaf people selling tissues; deformed/burnt people begging in the underpasses. An old woman in particular made me feel very sad. After watching her collect all of the leftover food, placing it into her bowl and going away to eat it I handed her all of my change.

During the week long wait for my visa I had found a couple of restaurants near to where I was staying that serve delicious noodles for 8 Yuan a bowl. On my last evening I sat down to enjoy some and had (hand made) noodle soup. Since I had picked a dish that normally has meat in I asked for extra broccoli instead of meat. OK said the waiter (or rather young kid). Confusingly I didn't get any Broccoli. After asking why my dish had no Broccoli in I was told "today we have no broccoli"!

I left Shanghai on a day when the sun was shining and the pollution was the worst I had seen it there.

Tags: visa russia shanghai bund



Thanks for posting this information as I'm looking at getting a Russian visa soon. Some other questions:

Which organization did you purchase your invitation/support documents from?

Did you need exit train/air ticket documentation?


  B Apr 24, 2008 3:44 PM


www.realrussia.co.uk cost was £15. They email you a PDF straight away and you can print the document and take it to the Russian Shanghai consulate. I got the best colour copy I could because the notes outside the consulate specify originals only.

I had no tickets. I bought my Trans-Siberian rail ticket once I got my visa. I didn't buy a ticket to exit the country until I was ready to leave. However, one guy in the visa office was asked for tickets - he had no visa support documents and was told to away and get them.

  nomadnorrie Apr 25, 2008 1:35 PM


Excellent I am planning the same er.. plan
Where is your photocopy shop ?
Do they take your passport for the week ?

Thanks and congratulations

  alexandre damiron May 21, 2008 6:22 PM


The Russian consulate do indeed take your passport for the whole week/3 days/1 day that the visa is processed for so make sure you are happy with your accommodation before lodging your visa application. Photocopy shops are all over but I used the small print shop nearest to my hostel (Beehome, Dongchang road) that was on Dongchang road.

  nomadnorrie May 22, 2008 4:17 PM


Dear sir,

I'm a guy from tunisia, 25 years old, i'm in china now, i have a f visa for one moth from 1 october until 31 of october.
and i have my friend who want to extend his visa too, he have l visa from the same duration ,

we want to extand our visa to stay in china, how can we do that ?

we can speak chinese maybe if u have phone number we can talk more about that.


  bilel Oct 6, 2009 7:29 PM


Thanks for posting that is really helpful to know.

  Jamsz May 4, 2010 8:53 PM


I have a similar problem but i am nto sure i need to do all the paperwork. Maybe you know the answer. I will actually go to finland in august but there is a stop over of 20 hs in Moscow. You know if:
1- I need a visa if i stay in transit in the airport ?
2- I actually go out of the airport for one day (less than 20 hs)? I also need the invitation (15 pounds)?


  paulo Jul 14, 2010 7:48 PM


Russia is not a good place to be without the correct visa. I had the right visa but was grilled at the China/Russia border by both the Chinese and Russian officials. The tall, stern Russian woman spoke to me using a Chinese-Russian speaker as a translator. She wanted to know where/when and how I got my visa. Where I had been etc.<br><br>If you leave the airport, then yes you will definitely need a transit visa (valid for up to 3 days if i remember correctly).<br><br>If you get off the plane, stay in the same airport, and then get on another plane to leave Russia then you probably don't need a visa. I would check before you go or else you could be in a lot of strife.

  nomadnorrie Jul 14, 2010 8:50 PM


I forgot to ask, did you book the hotel/hostel before you applied for the visa? I am not sure if that is necessary beforehand or you can do the booking once you have your visa.

  Paulo Jul 18, 2010 10:07 PM


nope. i just bought my travel documents from realrussia.co.uk and then used them to support my visa application.

  nomadnorrie Jul 19, 2010 8:16 AM


Hi there,
Just wondering what you mean by visa support documents?

is that the travel voucher from real russia?

  Harry Houdini Jun 19, 2011 1:56 PM


My family and I got our visas last week from the Russian Consulate in Shanghai. The consulate is open Mon, Wed & Fri and accepts applications from 9:15 to 12:15. We got in around 10 a.m on Friday and there were about a dozen people ahead of us, despite the consulate being closed on the Wed that week. We probably waited 20 minutes and the guy at the counter was very courteous. He created no fuss about my invitation letter being a scanned copy (while the website asks for originals) and that I had no tickets (I wanted to buy train tickets only after I had the visa in hand). Even though the notice board says it would take 5 days to process the visa at normal fees (big premiums for 3 days and same day processing), he offered to have it ready on Monday afternoon at the regular price of 333 RMB. Overall experience was very good and the much better than the crowded US / Canada / US / Australia / Schengen places where the staff think they are doing you a favour letting you in to their country and taking 2 - 3 weeks to process a visa.

  Arun Samuel May 18, 2012 11:55 AM


hi nomadnorrie!
I am in China and am looking to apply for a private visa to see my boyfriend in Russia. I have an F visa, and no residency permit. I will have an invitation soon enough, and photos and photocopies of things is easy enough. I have been hearing that to apply for a Russian visa, one much have a Chinese residency permit, did you have one?

  Samantha Dec 5, 2012 12:01 AM


Sorry, I should also add I am an Australian citizen with an Aussie passport valid for 10 years.

  Samantha Dec 5, 2012 12:07 AM


No, I didn't have a residence visa in China. I was in China on a double entry 2 month visitors visa. In Shanghai I had no trouble with the realrussia.co.uk travel documentation, not even any difficult questions were asked. I did however get a bit of a talking to by a Russian border guard on the train at the point of entering Russia. She seemed very interested where I got my visa, a Russian traveler translated from Russian to Chinese for me!

  nomadnorrie Dec 5, 2012 4:54 PM


Dear nomadnorrie,
thank you for your post. I just have a couple of questions.
when at the russian border they asked you where did you get the visa, what did you answer? because there are a lot of companies that are issuing visa pretending to book hotel. without charging you the hotel.

how long did you stay in russia and where? because i heard that you need to register, but I'm not going to stay in a hotel but i need tourist visa because the private is a pain to get, so in which address did you register?

thank you so much

  Leon Nov 18, 2013 1:06 PM

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