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Going ashore in St Petersburg without a visa

Going ashore in St Petersburg without a visa

Feb 25th, 2009, 02:19 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 80
Going ashore in St Petersburg without a visa

We are going on a cruise which will stop at St. Petersburg, Russia. I read somewhere that you can go ashore without a visa as long as you are staying on board the ship overnight. Is this true as we'd like to have some free time there. Margot
mhwhite is offline  
Feb 25th, 2009, 02:33 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,206
This company runs some land tours in St Pete (I'm not recommending them one way or the other (though they are a popular company) - but on their website they give some detailed answers/explanations to that very question

janisj is online now  
Feb 25th, 2009, 02:51 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 12,925
Im my opinion ,I do not think you can go ashore and tour around on your own without a Visa..

I used Alla Tours and was very pleased with Alla

( Other Russian tour companies are Red October and ,as janisj mentioned Denrus also)

Alla got me my Visa when I booked with her .

One of the pre-requisites when you go through customs is to show that you are booked with a local private tour guide...
if you
are not taking the ship excursion.

Now they may not ask you to produce proof ( at customs) that you are booked with a local tour guide....but if they do,then have it ready.

After you have gone through customs they hand you a red card....don't lose this,as you need it to come back through customs and on to your cruise ship.

I did a Baltic Cruise Trip report and outlined going through customs in St.Petersburg.

I was lucky going through and did not count on getting through so quickly!

Percy is online now  
Feb 25th, 2009, 04:50 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 6,046
It is definitly not possible to go into town on your own. The pier will be fenced and you have to pass a gate with fierce immigration officers. You need either an individual visum or a socalled "blanked visum" which is provided by a tour company. However, even if you have an individual visum you have no chance to leave the port. There are no taxis, and the whole port is fenced and gated.

Blanket visa work well, however the tour companies charge high prices. Most of the money is used for visa, fees and permissions.

Recommendable tour companies are

- Alla
- Anastasia
- Denrus
- Red October

Anastasia has the best rates and it very recommendable. We chose them, got a VIP highly personalized service and were completely satisfied.


(BTW, we found them because of a recommendation here on Fodors.com).
traveller1959 is offline  
Feb 25th, 2009, 04:54 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 80
Thanks everyone. I remember in 1995 being on a ferry from Stockholm to St Petersburg and we could go ashore but I guess times have changed. Margot
mhwhite is offline  
Feb 25th, 2009, 04:58 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,020
We went on a River Cruise from Moscow to St. Petersburg, and while we only toured with our guide (part of the cruise) we were required to have a Visa, which we obtained before we left. Some of the other passengers went about on their own in both Moscow and St. Petersburg, but all passengers were required to have a Visa. Assume it would be the same for a sea cruise.
Giovanna is offline  
Mar 9th, 2009, 01:33 PM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 226
We were also with Anastacia last year. Very satisfied with her. 2 full day trips. don't recall that we had to show our visa, but we did have them since we went to Moscow on our own before going on a cruise. You might contact her or one of the larger tour groups. The ships usually say that you have to have a visa but not if you are on a ship tour. probably just a sales pitch.
LarryRGV is offline  

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