For SAS this fall, we needed 3 visas: Russia, Ghana, and Brazil. They send us instructions for how to submit them to Travisa a service company that would get them for us. Looking at the instructions I realized we could save some money by doing them ourselves in DC. John was interested in this since he has to get visas for him and his family, 4 total for each country. That adds up fast for him!

So here is the breakdown for the visa costs to do it on our own:
Russia: $23 for invitation letter $170 for visa (read more on invitation letter below)
Ghana: $100 for visa
Brazil: $160 for visa

Total cost per person is $453

Travisa’s fees:
Russia: $55 for invitation letter, $175 for visa, $65 service fee
Ghana: $105 for visa, $60 service fee
Brazil: $185 for visa, $65 service fee
Cost for overnight mailing back and forth $50
Paying by credit card $15

Total: $775 per person

So the savings for doing it on your own, not including gas money (we carpooled) is $322, which maybe isn’t worth your hassle if its just you applying for the visas. But for John and his family he saved $1288 doing it on his own which is a significant savings.

Yes we did have to drive to DC 4 times to get this done, but we’re still ahead.

*For the Russian invitation letters we got our letters here for 15 pounds and they changed the hotel name to be correct for the MV explorer after you order http://www.realrussia.co.uk/ The whole Russian invitation letter seems like a scam with wildly different charges found on the internet, but you have to have it for the visa process. We had to fill out things slightly different on the visa to match this document, but they send you the info, so its easy. Highly recommend!

Hope this helps future voyagers on getting visas for these 3 countries. Let me know if you have any questions.

One Thought on “Visas for Semester at Sea

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