I want to meet a friend in the summer, but I've been looking at sites and each one is either vague or says something different.

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    Beware of romance (and similar) scams, specially for people you have met in the internet. Being in trouble in a foreign country is always ways worse than at home, and a tourist (specially so young) is usually a better victim. – SJuan76 Apr 30 '18 at 10:30
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    I've added the US-citizens tag because of the phrase "from the USA"; if that is incorrect, please change it. – phoog Apr 30 '18 at 12:18
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    @sjuan76 the statement that being in trouble in a foreign country is always worse than at home depends a bit on where you are from and where you are going.... – ajd Apr 30 '18 at 15:17
  • @L_Church Finn Baxter maybe not, unless he has his sister with him. – Dave Thomas Apr 30 '18 at 21:01
  • This sounds like the rough plot for a new "Taken" movie... – Barry Franklin May 1 '18 at 14:23

You should be able, but you'll need:

  • written, notarized permission from both of your parents or guardians
  • a valid passport
  • an appropriate visa to visit Russia (assuming you're not a Russian citizen)

It is quite possible you'll be questioned on arrival as to whom you will be staying with in Russia. (It's possible this will happen during the visa application process as well.) As a minor, it'll be expected that a responsible adult will be in charge of you during your visit.

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    +1 for the possibility of questions on arrival. I was in Russia last week, and two kids (friends or siblings) were questioned nearly for 5-7 minutes by the border control officer. They were taking out so many papers and stuff. Eventually, they were let in. – trollster Apr 30 '18 at 6:38
  • @trollster, Russian-speaking kids or English? – Pacerier Apr 30 '18 at 9:23
  • Unfortunately, I was not close enough to see their passports or hear their voice. – trollster Apr 30 '18 at 9:24

Note that in addition to border control, you'll have to fulfill requirements of the airline for unaccompanied minors. Obviously, those will depend on the airline. Typical requirements include:

  • taking only direct flights or flights with connections from the same airline.
  • night flights may be closed to unaccompanied minors.
  • your parents / legal guardians may be required to be present during your boarding in US.
  • a designated adult may have to be appointed to meet you in Russia. Should this person fail to meet you or present appropriate ID, the airline may decide to fly you back to US.

For teens of your age, such programs are often optional, but I'd encourage you to enroll in one anyway, unless you're fluent in Russian and can deal with the situation if something goes wrong. E.g. if you miss a connection and the hotel nearby won't accept minors.

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    Some airlines will not offer unaccompanied minor service for children as old as 15 years. United is an example, where the maximum age is 14. – phoog Apr 30 '18 at 12:21
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    In the something goes wrong scenario, don't forget that your phone may fail to connect to the local network. – ugoren Apr 30 '18 at 14:27
  • I don't know of any airline that considers a 15 year-old an unaccompanied minor. It's for small children. – nerdfever.com Apr 30 '18 at 23:33
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    @nerdfever some airlines do offer the service for children that age without requiring it. American Airlines is an example. – phoog May 1 '18 at 1:42
  • @nerdfever.com Moreover, some airlines simply won't allow underage solo travelers. E.g. Ryanair won't let you fly alone if you're under 16. – Dmitry Grigoryev May 2 '18 at 11:45

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