Russian Visa

Russian visa for cruise ship passengers is not required.

To make life easier for cruise and ferry line passengers to St Petersburg, the Russian authorities have put in place a visa-waiver programme (the Russian Federation Government Decree #532 of 28th, August 2003).


You do not require Russian visa if:

  • You are a cruise passenger, who is staying in St. Petersburg for less than 72 hours, and you will board on your cruise ship
  • You arrive by ferry, and stay in St. Petersburg for less than 72 hours (booking a hotel is required)

In both cases, you will need to join an accredited tour to be allowed entry through Russian immigration. Guide Guru is fully certified and insured for visa-free visits.

How visa-free entry to Russia works

  1. Before you arrive in St Petersburg, book onto one of our tours, receive our tour tickets and disembarking instructions
  2. When you pack for your tour, remember to take your tour tickets, passport, a copy of the photo page of your passport
  3. As you go through immigration, the official will stamp your passport, take part of the migration card, and hand you a ' red shore pass '. You should keep your papers you are handed on your person for the duration of the time you’re in St. Petersburg
  4. You’ll pass through immigration and see a Guide Guru sign on the other side. The whole process takes 15-30 minutes, depending on queues. We will have registered you with Port Immigration Control in advance, so can guarantee your visit will be visa- and hassle free


Guide-Guru Tours is serving cruise passengers of the following cruise lines
Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Costa Cruises, Thomson Cruises (Thomson Spirit), Fred Olsen Cruises, Saga Cruises (Saga Ruby, Saga Sapphire), Discovery Cruises, Marco Polo Cruises, TUI Cruises (Mein Schiff), Hapaq Lloyd (Europa, Columbus), Windstar Cruises (Wind Surf), PHOENIX (Albatros).
Independent tourists

Tourists who are not arriving in St Petersburg by cruise ship or ferry need to apply for a Russian visa in advance. Unless you know someone in Russia who can issue a personal invitation, you will need a tourist visa invitation. Guide Guru can help you arrange this and bespoke itineraries for your time in St Petersburg. Please e-mail us for more details.

You must receive your visa before you travel – the Russian consulate says that they take around 5 days to process. You are best to apply as soon as you’ve decided to visit St Petersburg.

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