On this page I want to go ahead and answer some of the frequently asked questions about the Russian visa. When travelling to St. Petersburg, one must distinguish between cruise ship visitors and hotel visitors (air, train, coach, bus, private vehicle travel) to define the applicable visa requirements:

Hotel Visitors

If you come to St. Petersburg by plane, train, coach, bus or a private vehicle (not by cruise ship or ferry) and you are a passport holder of a country whose nationals require a visa to enter Russian Federation (eg. all EU countries, UK, USA, Australia, Hong Kong, China and many other countries), then you must apply for a visa in your home country (at a Russian Embassy or Consulate) before travelling to Russia. To do so, please check the website of the Russian Embassy or Consulate nearest to you for the list of documents you must submit when applying for the visa. One of those documents will always be a Visa Support Letter (also called "Confirmation" or "Travel Voucher" or "Hotel Voucher" etc.) which you have to request from your hotel in St. Petersburg which is considered your legal host in Russia. The hotel may or may not charge a fee for issuing and emailing this Visa Support Letter to you. The Russian Embassy or Consulate process your visa application within up to 20 working days and charge a fee for processing your application - this fee differs depending on your citizenship due to different bilateral agreements between Russia and different countries. There are some agencies that offer to handle the visa application process on your behalf for an additional fee which may save you time and trouble. In any case, only when you have received your visa (sticker inside your passport on one of the pages), you are allowed to enter Russia.

Cruise ship visitors

If you arrive and depart in St. Petersburg by cruise ship and your stay does not exceed 72h, it is up to you if you want to apply for a visa same way the hotel visitors do, or if you wish to tour St. Petersburg on a VISAFREE basis, if you book with me an itinerary full of entartaining and informative tours with a fully licensed guide. In this case you will be allowed to use the simple tour ticket (also called "blanket visa") - that I will issue and email you - to disembark, pass the passport and customs controls in order to participate in the tours you booked with me.

Tour tickets allow me to collect you directly from your ship terminal, are valid for up to 72 hours (you may disembark and come back to the ship multiple times during your stay), and allow you to tour in St. Petersburg as long as you are accompanied by the licensed guide and a company vehicle throughout the tour. A stay without a guide in the city is not permitted. The itinerary must be agreed and set beforehand and the beginning and ending times of the tours must be respected, except in cases when traffic affects the timing insignificantly.

The advantages of the visa free travel using tour tickets* compared to the regular visa are obvious: quick and trouble free process! To issue tour tickets for you (possible to issue within 1-3 days in urgent cases), I ONLY require the following information about each of the visitors:

  • name(s) as per your passport
  • date of birth
  • passport number
  • nationality
  • dates of your stay in St. Petersburg
  • name of your cruise ship

It is advisable to apply for tour tickets in advance (approx. at least 2 weeks before arrival in St. Petersburg). Tour tickets will be emailed to you. You MUST PRINT OUT the tour tickets to present them at the passport control together with your passport every time you (dis)embark. No electronic versions shown on devices will be accepted, thus PRINT OUT your tour ticket and keep the print out ready during your entire stay in St. Petersburg. Tour tickets do not require to carry stamps or signatures to ensure quick electronic transmission from the issuer to the customer, but must carry the logo of the company that issued them, the above information about the visitor and the tour itinerary.

*Tourists are served by the travel agent "Kompanija Status" Ltd. МВТ-004175. Обслуживание туристов осуществляет ООО "Компания Статус" МВТ-004175.