Mandatory fingerprinting for Russian visas to require extra travel

8 Dec 14

UNITED KINGDOM

IMPACT – HIGH

What is the change? Beginning Dec. 10, U.K. residents applying for visas to Russia must appear in person at a visa application center in London or Edinburgh to give their fingerprints.

What does the change mean? Because these are the only two locations that will collect biometric data, some U.K. applicants will have to travel great distances to obtain Russian visas.

  • Implementation timeframe: Dec. 10.
  • Visas/permits affected: All visas to Russia, except official or diplomatic visas.
  • Who is affected: Anyone applying in the U.K. for a visa to Russia.
  • Impact on processing times: Applicants should anticipate significant wait times as fingerprints will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis; there is no system for scheduling an appointment.The normal processing time is expected to be six days with a next-day service option.
  • Business impact: The new requirements will cause inconvenience and additional travel time and cost to applicants living far from London or Edinburgh.
  • Next steps: Applications received before 8 a.m. GMT Dec. 9 will not require fingerprinting. Applicants seeking next-day visa processing should plan to appear for fingerprints as early in the day as possible.

Background: On Nov. 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued executive order No. 735, stating that fingerprinting will be required for travelers applying for Russian visas at consular posts in Denmark, Myanmar, Namibia, the U.K. and at Moscow’s Vnukovo International Airport. On Dec. 3, the Embassy of the Russian Federation in the U.K. announced that U.K. residents must fulfill the requirement by appearing at visa application centers in London or Edinburgh. The requirement is mandatory for all visa applicants applying in the U.K., except applicants under 12 years old and those applying for official or diplomatic visas.

Normal visa processing time is six days. Applicants may opt for next-day processing only if their fingerprints were taken before 3 p.m. the previous day.

BAL Analysis: Visa applicants should anticipate additional time for traveling to London or Edinburgh and queuing at the visa application center as there is no way to schedule an appointment. Applicants are urged to make sure their applications and supporting documentation are complete before traveling to London or Edinburgh to reduce the risk of having to make another trip if their application packet is incomplete.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in the United Kingdom. For additional information, please contact uk@balglobal.com.

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