Russian Visa issued (details, time frame, comments on ZVS.com)

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#1
24,689 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
Just wanted to post my experience with Zierer (zvs.com) as many are probably getting ready to submit their application to get their Russian Visa.

Amadeus recommends Zierer (http://zvs.com/). The cost was $194.00 including Fedex next day shipping costs to send the passport and visa back. Their breakdown in cost is $173.00 for the visa pp and $21 for Fedex service. There are extra costs for expediated services and changes.

It appears other services were less expensive and I probably should have gone that route but since with a Russian Visa, you need an invitation in order to get your visa, it seemed easier to just use the company Amadeus recommends. We were told that Zierer would not accept the application more than 90 days in advance of the trip.

River cruise is May 30th.

March 12 - sent Visa and Passport to Zierer Fedex 2nd day air. 2nd day air cost $6.99.

March 14th - Zierer received passport and visa and sent me an email indicating such.

March 30th - received an email from Zierer indicating that my visa was issued and that it was being mailed back next day air (Fedex). I received tracking information which has an April 2nd (Monday) date for delivery.

Zierer does offer online tracking but this was pretty much worthless. There are 5 levels of status:
1. Please Call our Call Center for assistance
2. Received and preparing documents for submission
3. In process at Consulate or AGency
4. Completed and Verifying Documents
5. Shipped Home.

My status started with #2 and then went to #5 today. It was never updated for steps 3 and 4. I had called late last week and that person was not helpful and referred me to the status online which was not updated.

I then called ZVS asking the status this Tuesday and they were helpful and indicated that they would get it back from the Russian Consulate on Friday (today) and they didn't specify when it would be sent out (which turned out to be the same day).

Overall, I was impressed with Zierer with the exception of the status not being updated. In my case, it wasn't a big deal since I don't leave until May 30th. Though - they had my passport so I was sort of feeling protective over the process.

I did compare prices with a friend who went to Russia for Spring Break and they paid less than I did and had their Visa approved in about 5 working days. I have another friend going on an Alumni Holiday trip on the MS Repin and he was told to expect $140 fee and he was told not to apply for his more than 60 days out. He isn't sure who is doing his visa.

Good luck to everyone else applying for their visas (Russian and others).
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#2
12,828 Posts
Joined May 2005
Thanks for the detailed info...........its getting closer

GCT recommends in their PVS packet you send yours in 3 months before travel, PVS says on its website it takes two to three weeks to process I am not sending mine until the end of April...still 2 months.....

Let us know when you receive yours.
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L RI
Still favor land trips best, but as I log more sea and river days on ships and hours on CC , I might become a "Cruise Lover" sooner than I think or am I already?
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1983 Caribbean, Carnivale
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My avatar is of a Marine Iguana the most amazing reptile ever.......unfortunately this guy now has a nose job since the recent software changes on CC. I viewed this indigenous iguana and swam with his friends in the Galapagos islands, while traveling on X's Xpedition in 2009 & 2010. Those adventures and a cruise around the Horn yields some unique, close up encounters with wildlife. And let's not forget Tahiti, Mexico, The Caribbean, Hawaii, Belize, the great reef, Indonesia,etc.etc...diving and snorkeling opens up a kaleidoscope of colors.....take time to enjoy experiences with nature and it's underwater wonders.













#3
24,689 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
Originally posted by land lover
GCT recommends in their PVS packet you send yours in 3 months before travel, PVS says on its website it takes two to three weeks to process I am not sending mine until the end of April...still 2 months.....
I am sort of surprised that I never received a packet (yet) from Amadeus. I knew I needed a visa for this trip and had my agent ask Amadeus about the Visa and it was verbal instructions to go through Zierer. What if my agent didn't know that I needed a visa - would Amadeus have mentioned it on the phone? Or would I be rushing to expediate a visa application.

I seem to have a million questions about this cruise (you know, first river cruise) and am surprised they don't send out a packet after booking and then send out the final documents. Someone posted that they are sailing May 6th and they just received their documents so 3 weeks from now, I will probably also.

I am so excited.
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#4
1,979 Posts
Joined Jan 2002
It's so stressful for me to send off my passport, whether for renewals or visas. Will it get lost? Will it get back in time? Plus I just don't like not having a passport handy.

Having used both ZVS and ABriggs in the past, am very comfortable with them both. ZVS is the largest out there and have never had issues - they always beat the time frames they promised and everything came back nicely. With the issues regarding renewal delays will probably go through a passport agency this next winter when I need to renew mine just so I can keep track of the timing and further expedite if necessary. Have always just sent in my passport for renewal in the past, but wasn't facing 10-12 week processing timelines.
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#5
12,828 Posts
Joined May 2005
Got our Russian Visas today from PVS International, GCT coordinates with them so received a discount.
Rate paid was $145. for 1 or $270. for 2.

Send registerd mail on May 1, called PVS May 9th said they received it on May 3rd( looking back I should have used Fedex, but the paper work suggested registered, I did not pay for confirmation... cost $8.50)

Received passports back today, 2 day fedex shipped out May 15.

Turn around time 2 weeks...we must have just hit everything right...

Reading the visas I know the dates are right, in fact it was done for 31 days...but the writing on the bottom has got me totally confused...they have written our names with alpha and numeric characters.

Enjoy
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L RI
Still favor land trips best, but as I log more sea and river days on ships and hours on CC , I might become a "Cruise Lover" sooner than I think or am I already?
1ST Ocean Liner Cruise
1983 Caribbean, Carnivale
1ST River Cruise
2006 China, Viking Century


My avatar is of a Marine Iguana the most amazing reptile ever.......unfortunately this guy now has a nose job since the recent software changes on CC. I viewed this indigenous iguana and swam with his friends in the Galapagos islands, while traveling on X's Xpedition in 2009 & 2010. Those adventures and a cruise around the Horn yields some unique, close up encounters with wildlife. And let's not forget Tahiti, Mexico, The Caribbean, Hawaii, Belize, the great reef, Indonesia,etc.etc...diving and snorkeling opens up a kaleidoscope of colors.....take time to enjoy experiences with nature and it's underwater wonders.













#6
24,689 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
Landlover - my name is written the same way. And it was this same way 18 years ago when I went to Russia.

You definitely had the better deal price wise for the visa. I am glad it is in your hands - your trip is coming up soon also!
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#7
12,828 Posts
Joined May 2005
Theresa,....the reg. price would have been similar to yours...Amadeus being new still doesn't have the connections, I guess. PVS has a website just for GCT clients. Viking uses Generations and no discounts are given ...so I think on these visa's with GCT I just lucked out...because they cut the processing to 25 each and return mail..20 for both.


Thanks for confirming that your bottom section is weird as well.

Your trip is less than 2 weeks now...hopefully someone will post a Russian river cruise review before you leave.
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L RI
Still favor land trips best, but as I log more sea and river days on ships and hours on CC , I might become a "Cruise Lover" sooner than I think or am I already?
1ST Ocean Liner Cruise
1983 Caribbean, Carnivale
1ST River Cruise
2006 China, Viking Century


My avatar is of a Marine Iguana the most amazing reptile ever.......unfortunately this guy now has a nose job since the recent software changes on CC. I viewed this indigenous iguana and swam with his friends in the Galapagos islands, while traveling on X's Xpedition in 2009 & 2010. Those adventures and a cruise around the Horn yields some unique, close up encounters with wildlife. And let's not forget Tahiti, Mexico, The Caribbean, Hawaii, Belize, the great reef, Indonesia,etc.etc...diving and snorkeling opens up a kaleidoscope of colors.....take time to enjoy experiences with nature and it's underwater wonders.