Russia Waives Visa Requirements for World Cup Ticket Holders

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This waiver program has ended as the World Cup has completed; congrats France!

Russia has announced a visa waiver for the 2018 World Cup. According to a statement on the website of the Russian embassy in Washington DC, if you hold a valid match ticket, fan ID, and passport you will be able to enter the Russian Federation without a visa. The program is not restricted to citizens of the 32 participating countries, and the holder of a match ticket from any country can use the visa waiver program.

The World Cup will take place between June 14 and July 15, 2018, and games will be played in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Ekaterinburg, Kaliningrad, Nizhny Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don, Samara, Saransk, and Volgograd.

How To Use The Visa Waiver Program

First, you need to find a ticket from the fixture list. While it may be tempting to try and pick up one of the big name first round fixtures like Spain vs. Portugal (June 15) or England vs. Belgium (June 28), they will probably be sold out and if tickets are still available they will be quite expensive. You are better off purchasing tickets for a less high-profile game, like Morocco vs. Iran (June 15) or Australia vs. Peru (June 26). Tickets are still available for select matches with prices starting at $165, and they can be purchased from FIFA.com

FIFA 2018 Fan ID

One you have your match ticket, you will need to apply for an official fan ID, which you will need to gain entry to the stadium along with your match ticket, as well as to benefit from the visa waiver. The ID also grants free use of public transport during the World Cup. You need to register for the fan ID, and you can pick it up from official distribution centers, or have it mailed to your home.

According to the Russian Embassy statement, all you will need to enter Russia visa-free is a current passport and your fan ID.

Our Take

Russian visas are normally expensive, restrictive and a downright pain to acquire. Visiting Russia as a World Cup fan may not reduce the cost since you still have to buy a match ticket, but it will simplify all the other aspects of getting a Russian visa. So, if Russia was always on you travel bucket list now may be the time to make that trip happen.

Russia Waives Visa Requirements for World Cup Ticket Holders
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Comments

  • beppoello81 says:

    Don’t expect to save money as accommodation and flights are super inflated but the time and hassle saved are quite something.

  • Not going to Russia right now given their LGBT laws, but respect anyone else’s choice to do so.

  • miskocina says:

    An interesting option to avoid applying for a Visa, but under the current political atmosphere it’s not a country that I’d choose to visit at the moment anyway!

  • After the cost of tickets and peak hotel rates, this is a welcome savings. Visa costs would have been almost $1,000 for our family of five.

  • I wonder if it’s possible to find any tickets that cost less than the cost of a Russian visa.

  • marcwint55 says:

    Until Putin is gone. Russia will not see any of my tourist dollars

  • Maryjane says:

    This is a great idea! I did not know that Russia’s visa requirements were so difficult. (I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.) I knew that people were doing this to avoid Brazil’s onerous Visa requirements during the Olympics and World Cup. If I had the time (and I don’t) I would do exactly what you are suggesting. I might even attend the game!

  • I’ve been to other sporting events where they did this and similar things, and it’s been a much easier experience.

  • this is huge for anyone who wants to visit Russia. the cost and effort of getting a visa makes the lowest price ticket a bargain or free after factoring visa costs.

  • They should have done this earlier. It’s too late to arrange an international trip for me. Russian has been on the top of my list for a while.

  • Ross Hymel says:

    Wow, this might be an awesome way to get to visit Russia after all. It was too much of a hassle to get to there when I traveled through Europe. The expensive cost of the visa for Americans did not make it any easier.

  • How kind of them. Doesn’t make me want to go any more than I did before this.

  • Alice Chen says:

    This is great! I think this really opens up the opportunity to travel to Russia!

  • Fan ID makes it a hassle, also if you plan on blackmarket tix.

    They waived visa also for CL final in Moscow some years ago.

  • The “official fan ID” sounded a little over-the-top to me at first blush, but hey, you get free public transit with it. Not bad. And would be a nice keepsake after the event.

  • This is laughable

  • Jacqueline says:

    A good waiver if you are a football fan, personally I wouldn’t go any where near.

  • I believe you needed a visa even for one day in Russia so this is welcome news for anyone visiting within this time period.

  • MICHAELJ1 says:

    I wonder if Russia is desperate to obtain tourist dollars.

  • This has been known for awhile. In fact it’s a condition of hosting the World Cup.

    But as others have mentioned, hotels have long ago jacked up their prices, and don’t expect Airbnb to be able to do much if the listed apartment is a scam.

  • That’s great they are waiving Visa Requirements… now I just need the world cup tickets, flights, hotel, transportation and a bunch of $$ for the trip. Unless you are a hardcore soccer fan I think there are far better places to spend your travel $$ on

  • US missing the Cup only adds to my decision to stay home

  • The_Bouncer says:

    The cash savings will be more than wiped out by the cost of match tickets and sky-high flight and hotel prices. This is really only worth it if you are a true football fan, genuinely going for the matches.

  • Beppoello81 says:

    Exactly my point. Going to watch a match and some sightseeing.

  • Great for World Cup ticket holders, being able to cut through some of the usual bureaucratic red-tape of visiting Russia, but clearly not a reason in itself to make an otherwise unplanned trip. Also, not to cast aspersions but I have to believe that this move is likely more because governmental facilities will be overwhelmed by visa applicants, rather than out of the goodwill to World Cup visitors.

  • great way to ease the traveling burden. Great policy

  • paul5795 says:

    Hmmm. This is not the time to reward the rogue Putin regime with your tourist dollars. Invasion of Crimea. Chemical weapon attacks in England. Interference in numerous countries’ democratic elections, including the US elections. Love the World Cup, but even in sports the Russians are rogue — to this point in time, they have not even fessed up to their widespread state-sponsored doping. Uggh.

  • Karavan2006 says:

    Great way to see Russia. And to separate propaganda from the truth.

  • nice to eliminate one big batch of Red tape

  • It is also possible to visit St. Petersburg for up to 72 hours at any time of the year without a visa if you travel by ferry from Helsinki or Tallinn.

  • In my opinion during this time the prices will be inflated. Definetely not a good time to visit four tourism.

  • Good option to make traveling there easier and less costly if you truly want to, or have to, go.

  • This is a good move by Russia. I’d love to go see World Cup.

  • It is a shame that relations with Russia are a little strained at the moment. It makes visiting Russia less attractive at the moment.

  • I guess this is Russia way of saying “open for tourism”. They probably need the $. As many have said. Not going anytime soon.

  • At least they are trying to do something to make it more attractive!

  • @paul5795 says: “Hmmm. This is not the time to reward the rogue Putin regime with your tourist dollars. Invasion of Crimea. Chemical weapon attacks in England. Interference in numerous countries’ democratic elections, including the US elections. Love the World Cup, but even in sports the Russians are rogue — to this point in time, they have not even fessed up to their widespread state-sponsored doping. Uggh.”

    Glad I didn’t have to say it, but I’ll certainly echo it. Spending dollars on anything is a vote of support for said thing and how it operates. One is literally handing the provider of goods or services more money to continue their behaviors. Your economic vote is actually substantially more powerful than your political vote, as most folks exercise it every day, multiple times.

  • I don’t really understand why rules are changed for a sports event, no matter how big the event is.
    But I’m the opposite of a football/soccer fan so I might have a biased opinion.

  • It was officially announced that FIFA fan ID holders would be welcomed to travel to Russia visa free until the end of 2018.

  • Andrey Chugunov says:

    It was officially announced that FIFA fan ID holders would be welcomed to travel to Russia visa free until the end of 2018.

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