A Russian colleague at work told me that June is a good time to visit St Petersburg as it is the time of the White Nights.
Things I've learnt from a couple of hours googling:
1. Everybody who is not Russian needs a visa to enter Russia. Officially, you need an "invitation" from a hotel, but if you pay an agency they sort it all out for you. It's quite expensive though - prices I've looked at online were from £85 to $110 for "standard" (2 weeks) processing.
2. Brunei is officially on the "migrant risk" list. What?? As if! But sneering aside, I have to provide all sorts of info as part of my visa application.
- A current UK visa valid for a minimum of six (6) months after the expiry of the Russian visa.
- A letter from your current employer or educational establishment stating you are employed or in full time education.
- Copies of your last three months bank statements.
- A copy of your travel or medical insurance valid in Russia for the whole period of your stay. Please note that it must either mention Russia by name or be for worldwide cover to be acceptable..
- An additional £20.00 to raise a migration risk visa support document, please note that this may take up to one extra day to process. This additional tariff is included in the standard charges shown in the table below.
- All visa applications classified as migration risk are only accepted at the discression of the visa services manager who may also require additional documents to process your visa after review. Please note that while we will make every effort to obtain your visa, there is no guarantee that this will be issued by the consulate.
Brunei has a mission in Moscow, so we must be friendly countries right?
3. You have to register your visa once to get to your destination city i.e. we would have to do it twice - once in Moscow and once in St Petersburg. Talk about control freaks. Now that China has opened up, you kind of forget what communist countries are really like.
I'm really intrigued, but also nervous. I don't like the way that this guide talks about the "militia". I'd feel much better if they were called the police instead.