Yes, the World Cup is here! Russia is a place we always wanted to go but with complicated visa application processes we never made it a priority to go. Although, good news, like you have heard if you have your tickets for the World Cup, you get VISA FREE entry! We decided to make tons of research from official government official briefings, etc, and still provide you with a guide of everything you should know about travelling to Russia for the big event!
Passport, Visa, Immigration, Declarations
- Passport: Your passport has to be valid for six months after the expiry date of your visa or your Fan-ID, which is the special permit of ticket holders of the World Cup (don’t ask us why!)
- Visa: The Fan-ID is a multi-entry and exit visa to and from Russia. You can enter Russia using your Fan-ID from 4th June until 15th July and leave mandatory by 25th July
- Immigration: At arrival you will sign an immigration card (produced electronically) at passport control. Like most countries that have immigration cards, the officer will keep one and you have to keep yours to hand in when you leave Russia. (Aren’t these the worse?)
- Passport: Always have your passport with you as the Russian police have the authority to stop anyone to request identity and travel documents
- Passport: It is advice to not forget to sign and fill up the information in your passport about your home address, there have been people denied in the past because of this
- Visa: Make sure you have registered in every host city you will visit 24 hours before arrival. Usually your hotel will take care of it, but you must double check
- Immigration: Border officials can ask to inspect any of your electronic devices when you leave the country, but don’t worry, you can bring your laptops for personal use.
- Medicine: Always be careful what you bring in, if it contains codeine, barbiturates, anabolic steroids, any sex hormones, androgens, analgesic (tramadol), sibutramine, psychostimulants or other restricted substances in Russia, you will have to bring your doctor’s letter of prescription which explains why you need them. An Australian website says that a notarized translation into Russian is also required, great!
- Goods: Be careful what you buy as you can get arrested for leaving the country with antiques. This counts for artworks, rugs, medals, etc. Make sure they have certificates indicating they don’t have any historical or cultural value. Russian Ministry of Culture will provide you all that.
- Passport: If you lose your original passport during the event, this will affect your ability to use your game tickets and the Fan-ID as your passport details are interlinked. Great… so keep your passport in a safe place on you, not in your jacket pocket, handbag or backpack.
- Passport: You will need to have it in addition to your visa to exchange currency. This can only be done at banks, hotels and recognized exchange bureaus.
Russia can be a confusing place to travel. Laws and rules are applied differently and can be tricky to deal with so better be safe and STAY OUT OF TROUBLE! Behave, be respectful and don’t mess with anyone!
The best way to stay out of trouble is, as anywhere, to behave respectfully towards the nation and its people. Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts, national lead for football policing, says: “We wouldn’t expect people to come across to this country, get drunk and drape flags on the Cenotaph so we need to extend the same courtesy when we go abroad and treat places with due reverence.“
- It is known that criminal gangs collude with some local police. There has been past situations where foreigners have become victims of mistreatment, and harassment, etc by officials. It is said that police don’t need to show probable cause in order to stop or question and even detain individuals.
- Of course, don’t hitchhike and if you drive don’t pick up hitchhikers, I mean… just don’t as you never know if you get some drug dealers, etc. Just bare in mind it’s a big event and a lot of bad people will want to take advantage of it to manipulate you to their benefit.
- Making friends is a normal thing, but like we said, a lot of bad people will want to screw you over. So just don’t make random friends at bars or clubs, or agree to follow them to “places” if you feel they are shady and that you were not able to get a feel of who they really are. Be careful of who you hang with as it is known for criminals to drug travellers at bars. Don’t go home with strangers, DUH, again being drugged to be robbed or assaulted isn’t news in Russia.
- You can’t take photos of military establishment or sites of strategic importance like airports. You can be detained for questioning or arrested … you spy! 😉
- Road safety is pretty bad in Russia, you know, all those dash cam videos of bad accidents? 95% of them are from Russia… so be safe and aware!
- Racism is a slight problem in Russia. Assaults by skinhead groups or ultra-nationalists do happen time to time and mostly when you are Asian or African descent.
Few scams you can avoid in Russia
“Turkey Drop” Scam: Someone will “accidentally” drop their money on the ground in front of you, while their accomplice either waits for the money to be picked up, or picks up the money and offers to split it with you. Then you are accused of stealing the cash so just DON’T pick it up, simple! Just walk away quickly if you see that haha!
Airport Scam: If someone asks you to watch their bag, SAY NO!
No alcohol during games in Russia
Alcohol won’t be available during matches. Can you believe that Moscow will be with an alcohol ban during the World Cup? Pubs & restaurants can’t sell alcohol on the day before and during the day of games. Supermarkets and places that sell alcohol are also under that same rule. This also applied in certain other locations that hosts games. The unique place during World Cup that supporters can get a hold of alcohol is in stadiums and official FIFA fan zones.