To enter Russia you’ll need a visa before travel – make sure you apply for the correct type and duration of visa.

During periods of high demand, you should apply for your visa well in advance. From 10 December 2014 Russian diplomatic missions and the visa application centres in London and Edinburgh will collect biometric data (scanned fingerprints) from visa applicants above the age of 12. This applies to each Russian entry or transit visa application. For further information see the Russian Embassy website and the website of VFS Global who manage Russian visa applications on behalf of the Embassy. Tourist visa applications can take 10 working days to be processed, and longer during busy periods.

On receiving your visa you should check the details of the visa including the validity dates and passport number carefully to ensure they are correct. Before you travel to Russia make sure you are aware of the terms and conditions attached to your visa, for both entry and exit. Please note that you should carefully adhere to the validity and conditions of your visa. Overstaying your visa without authorisation from the Russian migration authorities can result in a delay to your departure from Russia, fines, court hearings and possible deportation and a ban from re-entry. You should arrange an extension of your visa before it expires.

According to Russian law, cruise or ferry passengers can stay in Russia for 72 hours without visas only if they have booked tours through the companies officially licensed by the Russian government. These companies will supply you with a tour ticket, which is called a blanket visa or booking confirmation, and let you pass the customs/immigration offices without any other documents except your valid passport and the migration card that you will be given onboard.

This visa-free exception applies only to those who travel within an organised group and who don’t intend to explore the cities on their own. Cruise passengers are free to use any authorised local travel agencies (not only cruise ship tour companies) for visa-free shore tours.

Russia’s port cities where travellers won’t need a visa for up to 3 days are:

  • St Petersburg
  • Kaliningrad
  • Vladivostok
  • Sochi
  • Vyborg
  • Korsakov (Sakhalin Island)
  • Novorossiysk

If your passport has been lost/stolen while ashore and a replacement ETD is issued, or you would like to continue your journey by air or land, you must get a visa to leave Russia

Registration

If you’re staying for more than 7 working days you must register with the local branch of the Main Department for Migration Issues of the Ministry of Interior. Most major hotels will do this automatically. If you’re staying in private accommodation the owner of the property must do this for you.

Passport validity

Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months after the expiry date of your visa.

For further information please contact Marie White on 01254 356448 or [email protected]

Source: Uniglobe Regent (Good Travel)