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googlefroogle
August 21st, 2006, 05:53 AM
Hi all,

I was reading that people do not need a visa when they got off of one of cruise ships for a sightseeing
for insance, but they had some sort of a ticket from tour company. Is that possible to visit St.P without
that ticket, if one wants to meet a friend in the city>

Thanks for advice.
Lydia

bpolan
August 21st, 2006, 07:59 AM
you cannot go off the ship without a visa. if you want to do independent sight seeing, you must get a visa fromthe russian embassy. i think it costs approx 100 dollars. if you book a tour through the ship or with an independent tour operator, you are covered by a group visa for the tour.
bp

googlefroogle
August 21st, 2006, 09:00 AM
May I ask where is info from? The board is filled with the messages that no visa required if the stay is not
exceed 72 hrs. Instead, tickets are provided by the tour company. In our case, we'd like to meet in st. Pete
on our own. I think this is posssible. Can someone comment? Any direct contact for St. Petersburg Port
Authoirity? Customs?

Thanks.
Lydia

JeannyCT
August 21st, 2006, 09:06 AM
May I ask where is info from? The board is filled with the messages that no visa required if the stay is not exceed 72 hrs. Instead, tickets are provided by the tour company. In our case, we'd like to meet in st. Pete on our own. I think this is posssible. Can someone comment? Any direct contact for St. Petersburg Port Authoirity? Customs?
This site should answer all your questions: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1006.html.

googlefroogle
August 21st, 2006, 09:34 AM
Please see Day 9 of this post. The post clearly indicate that NO visa required . Also, what US site
have to do with German citizen?
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=388362

dileep
August 21st, 2006, 10:45 AM
Please see Day 9 of this post. The post clearly indicate that NO visa required . Also, what US site
have to do with German citizen?
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=388362

please read the entire paragraph carefully! It says:

Visitors using the visa-waiver must be escorted by an authorized tour company that is licensed. There are a number of tour companies in St. Petersburg and most can be found in other CCBB posts on this site.

dakrewser
August 21st, 2006, 10:53 AM
Tour companies, whether ship-sponsored or private, can cover tour members under blanket visas. These are valid while you are with the tour. Anyone wishing to leave the ship "on their own" (even if they've signed up for a ship or private tour) must obtain a visa before arriving in Russia.

googlefroogle
August 21st, 2006, 11:24 AM
Those "blanket" visas are lterally stamped into the passports? What are they anyway?

Lydia.

googlefroogle
August 21st, 2006, 12:01 PM
that any visa ( blanket or otherwise) is needed after reading and chatting back and forth
with a people who said that they were off to the city without ANY excursion company.
Please read the following link with a new law. I'm very doubtful that someone woudn;t let
to meet my friend on our own. It appears as yet again the same internet coax.

Regards,
Lydia.
http://www.sptimes.ru/index.php?action_id=2&story_id=2840

woohoo21
August 21st, 2006, 01:20 PM
I was in St. Petersburg on a tour this time last week. The 'blanket' visa is given to you at passport control. It is a small piece of card which allows you to go with your tour. They then request it back when you get back. Do not be flippant with Russia! Do not assume that just because you want to see your friend without a visa, they will let you. They are quite a suspicious country and I assure you, that you will need a visa. I have just been on that report you showed from February 2005 and if it were true I am sure our cruise company would have told us! Those people getting off freely into the city have to have obtained a visa before the trip.
Good luck trying to get past the russians!!

LetMeGo
August 21st, 2006, 02:26 PM
Even if it was technically true that you wouldn't need visa, I wouldn't be quite so sure it would be the reality when you travel.

Russia is not a on the same level as other Baltic countries, and you might want to make sure you actually reach the city. It isn't impossible for the authorities to invent a mandatory $30 charge for everybody without a visa the week before your trip, and make you wait in line for it for hours...

For your own peace of mind it would be better to make sure you have as much paperwork done in advance as possible, and you have a few extra $'s in your pockets in case any sudden "fees" come up in the port.

dileep
August 22nd, 2006, 12:00 AM
Even if it was technically true that you wouldn't need visa, I wouldn't be quite so sure it would be the reality when you travel.

Russia is not a on the same level as other Baltic countries, and you might want to make sure you actually reach the city. It isn't impossible for the authorities to invent a mandatory $30 charge for everybody without a visa the week before your trip, and make you wait in line for it for hours...

For your own peace of mind it would be better to make sure you have as much paperwork done in advance as possible, and you have a few extra $'s in your pockets in case any sudden "fees" come up in the port.

If you are touring with the ship or with approved private companies like Denrus or Red October you do not need a visa. They will send you a "ticket" which the Russian authorities will use to give you a card (no stamp in your passport) that you return when you come back to the ship.

If you are going out on your won or with a non-approved agency you do need a visa.

dakrewser
August 22nd, 2006, 12:42 AM
If you are touring with the ship or with approved private companies like Denrus or Red October you do not need a visa. They will send you a "ticket" which the Russian authorities will use to give you a card (no stamp in your passport) that you return when you come back to the ship.

If you are going out on your won or with a non-approved agency you do need a visa.

North Americans need a visa to visit Russia. The "ticket" from the approved tour agencies functions as a visa. The "tourist ticket" (red card) goes to everyone - on an approved tour or on their own. But it doesn't replace the visa, it's in addition to the visa. Which everyone has to have.

googlefroogle: You asked if you needed a visa. Everyone has said "yes! You need a visa!" So why are you still disputing this advice from people who have actually visited Russia???? You are, of course, free to do what you want. But the rest of us know that without a visa or a booked tour with an approved agency that you will not be allowed to leave the ship.

LetMeGo
August 22nd, 2006, 12:46 AM
If you are touring with the ship or with approved private companies like Denrus or Red October you do not need a visa. They will send you a "ticket" which the Russian authorities will use to give you a card (no stamp in your passport) that you return when you come back to the ship.

If you are going out on your won or with a non-approved agency you do need a visa.

I did realise that, and I wanted to expand on that second point you have made.

It might even be theoretically true that visas aren't required for all tourists entering the country, but the "laws" can change very quickly in Russia. I wouldn't want to spend my day queueing if I could prepare for the possible paperwork in advance. ;)

bpolan
August 22nd, 2006, 12:04 PM
It was made abundantly clear on the cruise ship that if you were travelling independently in st. petersburg, you needed a russian visa to be allowed off the ship and through passport control.
bp

mmmmm
August 23rd, 2006, 01:19 AM
I forgot our tour tickets the 2nd day in St. Petersburg 2 months ago, and they made me go back and get them, even though I had my passport and a tour guide waiting for me. She was very firm; no tickets, no entry.

mmmmm
August 23rd, 2006, 01:25 AM
Googlefroogle, if you are still mulling this over, Day 9 of the post you mention specifically says, "Visitors using the visa-waiver must be escorted by an authorized tour company that is licensed."

wrp96
August 23rd, 2006, 01:51 AM
Do a Google search and every single webpage that comes up will state unequivocally that you must have a visa to enter Russia.

http://www.realrussia.co.uk/faq2.asp
"Most foreign nationals, including those from the UK, are required to have entry visas to travel to the Russian Federation. Citizens of former CIS Republics, except Georgia and Turkmenistan, may enter Russia with their national passports."

Globaliser
August 23rd, 2006, 06:35 AM
that any visa ( blanket or otherwise) is needed after reading and chatting back and forth with a people who said that they were off to the city without ANY excursion company. Please read the following link with a new law. I'm very doubtful that someone woudn;t let to meet my friend on our own. There are plenty of places that won't allow you to meet friends on your own unless you have a visa. You've been given lots of good advice here. If you don't have a tour organised by the ship or an approved shoreside company, you will need a visa.

If you still want to ignore this advice and take the risk, that's your own lookout. But then one wonders why you ever bothered asking the question to start off with.

Jill_b
September 13th, 2006, 10:49 AM
As long as I have been reading this message board this question comes up and there is a lot of misleading and confusing answers.
I researched it and talked directly to those who know the law regarding cruise ship passengers and it is really simple. In fact I saw the law, is is short and covers only 1 side of one page.

There are two places in Russia that have local visa waivers, St Petersburg and a port in far Eastern Russia. For 25 years the rule has existed that the only class of visitor who is exempt from a visa are those who meet all of the following criteria and from these two ports only:

1.The visitor must arrive and depart on an international registry cruise ship as a passenger(crew and staff need visas)
2.The visit be 72 hours or less.
3. No local hotels or housing be used, meaning returing to the ship for sleep
4. The passenger have a valid passport from any country.
5. The visitor be escorted and sponsored by an authorized tour company

That is it, no exceptions. Notice how the ship tours do not qualify since they are not authorized tour companies. That is why the ship has to contract with one of the authorized tour companies to have any tours to sell.
There is no "cruise visa" or blanket visa. The only visa is a little red card issued by the Russian immigration officials after seeing the tour ticket from one of the authorized companies and your name checked off from the list of sponsored guests that company is escorting. Each passport control officer has a copy of that list.
So to get back to the original question: No visa is required if you are hosted by ones of the authorized tour companies. If on the otherhand, you wish to explore on your own without authorized supervision and escorting, you need a visa no matter what.
But there are ways around the problem of wanting to go meet friends, just sign up for a car and driver and guide for a block of time and do whatever you want, visit any friends you want. The tour ticket does not have to be any particular tour or itinerary, just that you are escorted between certain times by an authorized company. The company that I used last year offered a car/driver and a guide for 4 hours for $128 per vehicle for up to 3 passengers.
To the person who seemed doubtful a country would prevent visiting a friend despite having no documentation; Try that entering the US and see what happens. You will end up in jail waiting deportation. The US has visa waiver agreements with 31 or so countries and since most people visit only those 31 countries the notion is that they can go any where without a visa. That leaves 250 or more countries that a visa is required to enter. Russia is one of that majority.

Jill
Who visited St Petersburg by air this summer and aboard Star Princess last summer

dakrewser
September 13th, 2006, 11:12 AM
Notice how the ship tours do not qualify since they are not authorized tour companies. That is why the ship has to contract with one of the authorized tour companies to have any tours to sell.

What we call "ship's tours" are in reality ship-sponsored tours, not only in Petersburg but in all ports. The ship personnel do not conduct any port tours. The only confusion that might arise about this is in some areas (such as Alaska) where the same company owns both the cruise line and the on-shore tour agency but they are still entities independent of each other.

gratefulguy
September 13th, 2006, 02:38 PM
Will the moderators please lock this thread now--Thanks!

tclowe
September 14th, 2006, 02:48 AM
Actually, not all visits to russia requires a russian visa. But a visit to St. Petersburg requires a tour group blanket visa or an individual visa issued by the Russian Embassy as everyone above has posted. We asked our Denrus guide about this very question since we had taken the Regal Princess to Asia which included a stop in Vladivostok, Russia. We definitely did not need any type of visa to get off the ship in order to explore Vladivostok on our own.

I think she mentioned that the city of St. Petersburg has some sort of special status or gets acknowledged as requiring special protection by the Russian government.

Globaliser
September 14th, 2006, 07:17 AM
We definitely did not need any type of visa to get off the ship in order to explore Vladivostok on our own.Jill_b said "There are two places in Russia that have local visa waivers, St Petersburg and a port in far Eastern Russia."

Otherwise, I would have thought that the visa requirement applies to all visits to Russia.