If you want to go to Russia but do not want to go through all the visa paperwork or decided to go spontaneously and do not have time for your visa to get ready, there is still a way around the visa hassle. Today we will look at the visa-free travel options to Russia.
Visa-free St Petersburg
While there are not many ways to travel to Russia visa free, the most popular one is to travel to Russia on board of a cruise ship. According to the decision of the Government of the Russian Federation, cruise and ferry passengers may stay in the territory of the Russian Federation for 72 hours without visa if they arrive in and depart from Saint-Petersburg on board a vessel as part of a tour group. Cruise ships and ferries to St Petersburg start from Helsinki in Finland but you can extend your trip to the northern capitals by also adding a stop in Stockholm or Tallinn.
The most important thing to remember when staying in St Petersburg is that there are pretty strict rules which apply to your stay, as the government makes an exception to the traditional secure visa route. So, while travelling under the visa-free programme, you have to be registered as part of a tourist group and only stay in the hotels which are partners of this programme. No hostels or AirBnB. On the bright side, this significantly reduces the price of the tour on the whole. For only around £500 per person, you get to see one or a few of the North-European Capitals, St Petersburg, stay in a central 4* hotel and get a great group city tour! After your city tour you are free to explore the city independently as long as you do not leave St Petersburg.
To book a visa-free cruise to St Petersburg simply get in touch with us!
Image: Pyotr Mahhon, Wikimedia Commons
From 8 August 2017 the ministry of foreign affairs also introduced e-visas which allow citizens of certain countries to explore Vladivostok and a few other cities of Russia’s far east visa free. The So if you hold one of the following passports (Algeria, Bahrain, Brunei, India, Iran, Qatar, The People's Republic of China, The Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Morocco, Mexico, The United Arab Emirates, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Tunisia, Turkey or Japan) you can apply for a free e-visa, which will allow you to stay in Vladivostok for up to 8 days. The wait time from your application until approval is only 4 days and you can apply 4-20 days before your intended trip to Russia.
However, remember that you can only stay in the city of your entry, so if you wish to travel around, you will need to apply for a standard visa.
Kaliningrad visa free?
There have been many rumors about the simplification of the visa process to visit Kaliningrad for European citizens. Indeed, Kaliningrad is a small enclave surrounded by the EU countries, so it makes sense.
While nothing is set in stone yet, it is almost certain that the positive change is coming. According to the law proposed by the Government of the Russian Federation in December 2017, starting from the 1st of July 2019 citizens of certain countries will be able to apply for single tourist, business or humanitarian visas in a form of an electronic document. However, the list of the countries is unknown yet, so keep an eye on our blog!
For visa-free tours, please click here
Don’t miss out on our special offer! Book a visa-free tour before the end of May while quoting VISAFREE19 code and get a complimentary dinner in St Petersburg!