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Passport & Visa

Passengers traveling to Russia must have a VALID PASSPORT.

If you are citizens of the countries who can enjoy VISA-FREE TRAVEL to Russia (like Hong Kong SAR, Macao SAR, Serbia, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Israel, Peru, Venezuela and some others), please double check that you have a valid passport.

Tourists from other countries MUST have a VALID VISA before departure because it is NOT possible to obtain a visa upon arrival in Russia. Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months after the expiry date of your visa.

If you travel by a CRUISE SHIP, use the services of BeHappyRussia and YOU DO NOT NEEED A VISA for your stay in Russia (up to 72 hours). *

If you stay at a hotel, the hotel can arrange a letter of invitation for you to receive a Russian visa in the Russian Embassy in your country.

If you stay in private accommodations in Russia, you must bring an official private letter of invitation prepared by the Office of Visas and Registration (OVIR) to the Russian Embassy.


What should you know?

According to the immigration law of 2009 passengers on board CRUISE SHIPS  have the right to stay in the Russian Federation WITHOUT A VISA during 72 hours.

Passengers have the right to leave the ship and come back on board the ship ONLY as part of an organized tourist group. They must be escorted ONLY by an AUTHORIZED TOUR COMPANY (like BeHappyRussia)

Passengers can NOT use city hotels or other accommodations for overnight stays.

In case tourists want to leave the ship and explore the city on their own, they NEED a visa.

This law does NOT apply to ‘River Cruises’.


If you want to enjoy a visa-free entry to Russia and save your time and money on getting a Russian visa in your country, please DO NOT HESITATE to apply for BeHappyRussia for a TOUR TICKET (aka ‘visa waiver’, ‘cruise passenger visa’) that will work as a CONFIRMATION of your booked shore excursion.

We are ready to e-mail it to you as soon as we finalize the itinerary of your stay in Russia.

You are to print out a TOUR TICKET and show it together with your VALID passport to the Russian frontier officer going through the passport control gate on the day of your arrival in St. Petersburg.

What should you do?
  • Book a shore tour with BeHappyRussia
  • Submit your passport info (the full name, DOB, citizenship, # of your passport)


  • Most major high street banks and currency exchange providers in the UK can pre-order Roubles (Russian currency). If you plan to buy roubles in Russia, you should take US dollars or Euros to exchange. Only change money at banks, hotels and airport exchange bureaux. It is an offence to change money from street traders.
  • Most hotels, restaurants and larger shops accept credit cards. There are ATMs in most major cities. Consider informing your bank before you travel to Russia to avoid having a temporary stop on your card. Travellers’ cheques are not widely accepted.
  • It is illegal to pay directly for general transactions with dollars or Euros.