Image: Getty Images
November 12 2010
Spoilt by visiting countries that don’t require visas, I was almost caught out by a trip to Russia. As a regular traveller, parting with my passport for the normal visa-processing time was out of the question. The alternative was a pricey “express” service, but even that required delivery to and collection from the consulate a few days later – if all was in order. Then there was the online form demanding pages of personal information (“List every country you have visited in the past 10 years”) and a time limit of just 30 minutes in which to complete it. After one time-out and then a webserver error I gave up. There had to be a better way.
A friend in the travel trade tipped me off to Travcour Visa Express Service. Not only was there a friendly expert, Gary, at the end of the telephone to answer questions, but they handled everything, from passport collection, expedited processing at the consulate, and return to my door. Progress can be tracked online. For a modest additional fee they even filled in the blessed application form for me.
With the world becoming ever more security conscious, the number of countries demanding visas may well increase. Even trips to close destinations can get complicated, as I recently discovered when planning a train journey to Turkey on the Orient-Express’s coveted annual run from Paris to Istanbul. Arrive in Turkey by air and you just buy the visa on arrival. For rail travellers it is nothing so straightforward, and it was looking like a personal interview at the consulate in London. And a wait in the rain. Until I called Travcour, that is. Life is too short for queuing.
Travcour’s charge for processing a Russian visa is £50 (slightly more for form completion and special delivery).