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I already got a Russia "Regular" Visa based on a conference invitation from a university in Moscow. The invitation letter stated only "Moscow" as location.

Am I restricted to stay ONLY in Moscow during the entire trip?
In particular, I plan to visit St. Petersburg for personal travels. Is that allowed ?

  • If you don't get caught it's not illegal. – user7472 Jul 11 '13 at 5:35
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In practice, yes, you're free to travel as you wish.

The list of cities you're planning to visit should technically be included in your visa application, but there is zero enforcement of this once you're in the country. What you do need to do is register with the police in any city you spend more than seven days in, but any larger hotel will take care of this automatically, and there is no cross-checking that the cities you register in match those you originally applied for.

The one caveat is that there are some "closed" cities foreigners are not allowed to visit without special permits, but these pretty much by definition do not have any tourist sights and there's zero chance of stumbling into one by accident.

  • 1
    You cannot get into a closed town unawares: access to them is always through checkpoints. Where you can get unawares are so-called border-adjacent areas, and for example, such a touristy place as mt. Elbrus is located in one of these. – ach Feb 14 '14 at 11:10
  • Does "zero enforcement" also apply to domestic flights? Could there be any issue trying to board a plane to a location not included during my visa application? – martin May 15 at 4:00
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    @martin No issues: not only is your visa not checked, but the visa does not list what cities you applied for. Once granted, your visa is valid for all of Russia (minus exceptions noted above). – jpatokal May 15 at 4:39

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