The Scavenger Hunt For Visas.

Washington Travel Blog

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Sample Chinese Tourist Visa

      The hunt for visas is the truest test of a traveler's mettle and planning skill.  If governments ever eliminate the need for entry visas as a global gesture of goodwill, I'll be upset.  (In my day I had to DRIVE to the CVS to buy DOZENS of overpriced photos, and fill out TWO dastardly forms, and DRIVE to the consulate...TWICE!)  My trip will require visas from eight countries: Turkey, Russia, China, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan.  Here they are in order from easiest to biggest pain in the ass:

Turkey: 30-day visa issued at any border for nominal fee.  More like an entry tax than a visa.

Kazakhstan: $40 single-entry, one-month tourist visa issued at consulate.

Sample Pamir Region of Tajikistan Permit (Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast). Translation: Citizenship: France Passport No: Numbers Name: French name I can't transliterate Cities: Khorog, Darvaz, ?, Rushan, Ishkashim, Murgab
  5 business days.

China: $130 multiple-entry, 3-month tourist visa issued at consulate.  4 business days

Kyrgyzstan: $130 double-entry, one-month tourist visa issued at consulate.  10 business days.

Tajikistan: $180 for double-entry, one-month visa including permit to enter eastern Pamir (Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast) region, with typed cover letter/itinerary in lieu of letter of invitation.  3 business days processing.

Uzbekistan: $130 single-entry visa probably issued without letter of invitation at consulate.  7 business days processing.  Visa must be registered within 72 hours of arrival in country.

Russia: $150 for letter of invitation processed from Russian Federal Migration Service or Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Sample Kazakh tourist visa
  18 business days processing, but cannot begin processing until 45 calendar days first visa entry date.  $150 for 6-month, multiple-entry, Russian business visa for 5-20 business days processing at consulate.  Registration of visa with local law enforcement is required within 72 hours of arrival in Russia.  The visa must be registered in every new city.

Turkmenistan: Letter of invitation for tourist visa not issued unless a tour is fully-booked with an expensive government-approved tourist agency.  Local guide must accompany tourist everywhere in the country except for within the nation's capital of Ashgabat.  $80 for 5 business days processing.  Visa must be registered in every new city.

I'm glad I live near DC so I can just drive to these consulates without paying some company to take my passport to the consulate for an absurd fee.

Sample Kyrgyz tourist visa
   I got my first visa in the middle of January at the consulate of Kazakhstan.  Snowmageddon interrupted my chase until last last month when I got a Kyrgyz and an Uzbek visa.  The consulate of Tajikistan was by far the friendliest consulate I have ever been to.  The clerk made fun of my over-long itinerary: "I don't even know some of these regions."  Then he chatted me up on my travels outside the former USSR.  The visa is "no problem" and will be ready on Friday.   

 Most of the visas cost $130 because that is how much the U.S. government charges foreigners for tourist visas.  Reciprocity is a bitch. 

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Sample Chinese Tourist Visa
Sample Chinese Tourist Visa
Sample Pamir Region of Tajikistan …
Sample Pamir Region of Tajikistan…
Sample Kazakh tourist visa
Sample Kazakh tourist visa
Sample Kyrgyz tourist visa
Sample Kyrgyz tourist visa
Sample letter of invitation for Ru…
Sample letter of invitation for R…
Sample Russia tourist visa
Sample Russia tourist visa
Sample Tajik tourist visa
Sample Tajik tourist visa
Sample Turkish tourist visa.
Sample Turkish tourist "visa."
Sample Turkmen tourist visa.
Sample Turkmen tourist visa.
Sample Uzbek tourist visa.
Sample Uzbek tourist visa.
Washington
photo by: b93sp