The vast majority of cruise ship passengers can visit visa-free. In order to qualify, you will need to be staying in the city for 72 hours or less, your accommodation must be on board your cruise ship, and you must be booked onto an organised tour.
Before you arrive, you should make sure your paperwork is in order. To disembark in St Petersburg from a cruise ship, you will need a valid passport, a photocopy of the photo page of your passport, and a ticket for a tour. You will also need a Migration Card, which will usually be distributed on board before docking – this won’t take long for you to fill in. So, St Petersburg disembarkation is pretty straightforward.
Once you disemarked from the ship, hand your paperwork to Russian immigration. The official will stamp your passport, keep part of your Migration Card, and hand you a red shore pass. Keep your pass and passport with you for the duration of your visit.
Once you’ve gone through immigration, you’ll see a friendly guide holding a “Guide Guru Tours” sign, so go and say “hi” to them, and you’ll be on your way to your St Petersburg adventure.
Be very careful to read the instructions from your tour guide.
And, even if your tour company is scrupulously fair, reading the joining instructions for your tour in advance means that you’re less likely to hit last-minute snags on the day.
These instructions are good for nearly everyone who visits St Petersburg from a cruise ship. If you do not qualify for a visa-free visit to St Petersburg, get in touch with us and let us know – you’ll need to start the process of getting a Russian visa well before you leave. We will be able to provide specific advice.