Passport & Visa


Tourists traveling to Russia must have a VALID PASSPORT.

Tourists from most countries MUST have a VALID VISA before departure because it is NOT possible to obtain a visa upon arrival in Russia.

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

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.

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 in your country.

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

What should you know?
  1. 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.
  2. Passengers have the right to leave the ship and come back on board the ship ONLY as a part of an organized tourist group. They must be escorted ONLY by an AUTHORIZED TOUR COMPANY (like BeHappyRussia)
  3. Passengers can NOT use city hotels or other accommodations for overnight stays.
  4. In case tourists want to leave the ship and explore the city on their own, they NEED a visa.
  5. 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 APPLY to 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 you a TOUR TICKET as soon as we finalize your travel itinerary for Russia.

What should you do?

To obtain such a TOUR TICKET you will need to follow TWO STEPS:

  1. Book a shore tour with BeHappyRussia
  2. Submit your passport information(the full name,DOB, citizenship,number of your passport) to us at least 2 weeks before your tour.

After getting a TOUR TICKET from us, please PRINT IT OUT and show it together with your VALID passport to a Russian frontier officer at the passport control gate on your arrival day in St. Petersburg.

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Transportation for you


We have professional and customer friendly TOUR DRIVERS for you! They are competent, reliable and very experienced.

They know the best way to avoid traffic jams and the shortest way to bring you for lunch on time.

We use Mercedes E-Class cars (and S-Class upon request), Mercedes V-Class Viano Vans, Mercedes Sprinters.

Please feel free to ask for any other vehicle (an old Soviet style car, a bike, a Segway, etc) – we will be happy to help you with it, too.

If you are very eco-friendly and prefer walking to driving we can offer you ‘St. Petersburg on Foot’ tour.


If you wish to have an unforgettable BOAT RIDE along the rivers and canals of St. Petersburg, we can offer you excellent, safe and reliable PRIVATE BOATS! They are of different sizes – perfect both for small parties and big events!

All the captains have been piloting their boats for years and recognize the importance of safety of the tourists on board.

WE can offer you A BOAT TOUR with A GUIDE, or A BOAT RIDE with A CAPTAIN!! Any time – in the morning and in the evening! During the day and during the night!! With a cup of tea, or a glass of champagne!

If you are in St. Petersburg during the world-famous WHITE NIGHTS (from May through July – main festive season) you can enjoy late sunsets and early sunrises, and watch the bridges being raised every night right after 1 a.m.

Take a WHITE NIGHT CRUISE with BeHappyRussia on a private boat rented only for your party (from 1 to 8 people): it starts around midnight and goes along small rivers and canals and then we cruise up and down the Neva River, passing by the Hermitage, the Bronze Horseman, St. Isaac’s Cathedral, Sts. Peter and Paul’s Fortress and other historical sights in the city center – all brightly illuminated – and then we see all the bridges across the Neva River drawn one by one  and we finish the tour with a “Singing bridges” Music Show!!!  This is a night to remember!!!!

NB: A WHITE NIGHT CRUISE tour should be pre-booked in advance

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Currency, prices and tips

The official Russian money is Rubles, abbreviated to p. or руб.

All cash payments are to be made in Rubles – the only exception is for museum shops and street souvenir markets where you can pay in US dollars and in EUR.

Is it possible to pay by credit cards?

Yes!!! Credit cards (Visa, MasterCard) are accepted in all hotels, most restaurants and larger shops, though there are some places where you can pay only in cash (Rubles) so it is best to carry some cash with you.

American Express and Diners Club are not widely recognized. Travelers’ cheques are not accepted.

Where to get Rubles?

It is possible to obtain Rubles either with a credit card from ATMs located all over the city, or through the foreign currency exchange offices in the larger banks.

How much to tip?

Tipping is a matter of choice.

The service charge in restaurants is not included in the bill – if you like the service, you may leave 10% of the bill CASH (any currency). If you were not satisfied with it you don’t have to leave any tip at all.

If you are happy with your private tour guide and the driver, tip what you feel is right.

We can only recommend tipping your guide and the driver directly (separately, not asking them to share later), let’s say, 10% of the tour cost to the guide and 5% to the driver.

Gratuity is always your choice!

Should you haggle in Russia?

Yes, but usually if the price is not marked. As a rule, locals bargain down at the food markets and tourists do it at the souvenir shops and street markets (commonly, 10% down from the initial price)!

How many Rubles will you need?

It depends…. a cup of good coffee in 2019 costs RUB 250 -300 (~ US$ 4-5)

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