On June 29th 2015, I will be traveling for the first time to Italy from USA. I will have a 10 hour layover in Moscow Russia. My question is, do I need a visa to visit the city?

  • 1
    Are you a US citizen?
    – nkjt
    Jun 22, 2015 at 16:46
  • 6
    Rather what citizenship do you have?
    – Karlson
    Jun 22, 2015 at 17:01
  • 1
    If you're American, you'll need a visa. Depending upon where you are and your nationality, 7 days is a short fuse; consider paying for accelerated processing. Also, they may refuse a transit visa because a 10 hour layover they may want you to remain airside. Also, 10 hours is short for getting in an out, queueing, etc, consider using taxis unless your plan is just to take some photos in Red Square.
    – Gayot Fow
    Jun 22, 2015 at 17:07
  • 3
    @GayotFow If you're on the clock don't use taxis. The overland transport in Moscow is a nightmare
    – Karlson
    Jun 22, 2015 at 20:30
  • 2
    I know it's cheap - I've taken it before. Just wow though. So much cheaper than the hassle + visa costs for Russia!? I guess if cost is literally the only thing you care about. Jun 22, 2015 at 21:46

1 Answer 1


The answer depends on your citizenzship. Assuming that you need a visa to ordinarily visit Russia, you would also need a visa to leave the airport. Relevant excerpt from the Sheremetyevo airport website (fairly certain you're traveling through that given your information)

В ожидании стыковочного рейса иностранные граждане могут находиться в аэропорту Шереметьево до 24 часов без российской визы. У пассажира должен быть билет авиаперевозчика на дальнейший полет с подтвержденными местами.

In English, this means

Foreign citizens waiting for a connecting flight may stay in the Sheremetyevo airport for up to 24 hours without a visa. The passenger must have a ticket from an airline for a connecting flight with confirmed seats.

When you exit your first plane at the airport, you can continue to another part of the airport (if needed) through the transit zone, which has security checks but no immigration checks. But to leave the airport, you have to go through the usual passport control desk that everyone has to use, which is where you will be prevented from exiting the airport if you need a visa to enter Russia.

Your most likely option if you want to visit Moscow is to try and get an expedited processing Russian visa, but it may be denied. You don't strictly qualify for a transit visa unless you have to change airports or your layover is more than 24 hours, and the authorities may well decide against granting you a typical tourist visa given the short duration of your planned visit. Keep in mind that Sheremetyevo is a huge airport not very close to central Moscow, and that Moscow itself is notorious for its traffic. A 10 hour layover does give you some hours in the city, but it is fairly short.

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