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Russian Visa

Indian Wells...
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Russian Visa

I am cruisiing on Oceania with a three day stop in St. Petersberg. The cruise line tells me there is no visa requirement for their shore excursions, but if I want to go ashore on my own, I must obtain a Russian visa. Checking with the embassy, getting such a visa is a bit of a hassle. Is there another way to deal with being able to explore St. Petersberg without being on a cruise line sponsored excursion, or having a visa?

Moscow, Russia
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1. Re: Russian Visa

> The cruise line tells me there is no visa requirement for their shore excursions, but if I want to go ashore on my own, I must obtain a Russian visa

They're not telling you the whole truth: yes you need a visa to visit completely on your own, BUT you can book any tour (including a private one tailored to your exact specs) with ANY registered local tour operator and go ashore with them with no visa. Please browse the St.Petersburg forum to find gazillion reports and other relevant info.

Indian Wells...
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2. Re: Russian Visa

Thanks for the info. I'll check on the St. Petersburg site and probably find what I need. Appreciate your input.

Stuttgart, Germany
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3. Re: Russian Visa

I took the St. Peters line over from Helsinki for a 3 day no visa trip, and with my friend. I didn't go through any agency because the St. Peters line is basically sponsoring me as long as I have a booking confirmation at a hotel. Since most everything one wants to see is either in walking or hydrofoil distance, I booked a nice private hotel in the center of town. I've seen many tour groups going through the sites, but it's much nicer to do these events solo rather than being strung around like cattle. Just bring a guide book along. Those going through a tour agency will put you in the Sokos hotel chain, and those two hotels are on the other side of the Neva, still close, but it requires more walking. Rather than financially supporting a chain where you may be treated like a number, go private for a more personal experience. Just be sure you are confirmed with your hotel and bring that confirmation with you, along with your passport, of course. BTW, the St. Peters line has a convenient bus "tour" that brings you into St. Petersburg center after docking. Their white vans are waiting right outside the terminal. There are three stops into the city: two to Sokos hotels on the left bank and one to St. Issac's cathedral on the right bank. These are not guided tours but rather a free van ride in. Be sure to get to the boat door at least 30 min. before docking to avoid being at the end of the customs line. Line up to the far left once inside as customs windows may open up there later. The white St. Peter vans will be waiting for you outside. Rather simple and no need to pay for private tours. You must leave St. Petersburg within 72 hours, so that gives you two over nights in the city. The new 3 day no visa rule is likely a way to get more tourists here who don't want the confusing visa hassle. However, Russia is unlikely to give up the visa policy because it's a way to bring more income into the country as tourists pay for their visa "processing."

Edited: 17 July 2013, 08:47
Moscow, Russia
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4. Re: Russian Visa

Delbert53 thanks for the report. Just want to clarify that visa-free rules are different for cruise and ferry passengers. What you have described works for St. Peter line ferry passengers but will not work for cruise passengers. As Marassa noted about, cruise passengers must book a tour to enjoy 72-hour visa free stay and unfortunately will not be allowed to enjoy the city on their own. While ferry passengers must buy " St Peter line bus "tour" that brings you into St. Petersburg center after docking" to be eligible for visa free stay but then can explore the city on their own.

Moscow, Russia
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for Moscow
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5. Re: Russian Visa

Dear Delbert53,

Russia is VERY likely to give up the visa policy. Many countries' nationals enjoy visa-free entrance to Russia. But our key approach is reciprocal - you can get to Russia without a visa the very day Russians can get to your country without a visa... Russia declared many times it is ready to lift visa barrier for Europeans. The ball is on your side... We propose - EU rejects.

Visa processing money are again, same story. You pay for Russian visa exactly the same money your country charges me for the visa. I really do not think it is the source of income...

Moscow, Russia
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6. Re: Russian Visa

> Russia is unlikely to give up the visa policy because it's a way to bring more income into the country as tourists pay for their visa "processing."

Thanks for that, made me smile ;)

And thanks for the great report, by the way.

7. Re: Russian Visa

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