4

If I enter Russia by taking a no-visa-needed Helsinki-St Petersburg ferry, can I take a day trip to Moscow, or do I have to stay in St Petersburg for my entire stay?

  • I can't find documentation to prove it, but having been there myself on a cruise, I'm quite certain you'll not be allowed to leave the city. You'll also need to book a transfer into the city from the ferry for the visa to be valid, and if you're on a ferry, not a cruise, to have pre-booked accommodation in St. Petersburg. A train trip to Moscow without a proper visa could land you in jail. – Claus Jørgensen Apr 9 '16 at 12:55
  • Those day excursions to Moscow from Peter are uniformly demanding in terms of stamina and endurance. Take care that you're well rested and fit. – Gayot Fow Apr 9 '16 at 16:35
  • Two nearly-four-hour train rides does seem like it'd make for a long day, but I'd be willing to tough it out if it's allowed - not sure when I'll be in Russia next! – Urbana Apr 9 '16 at 17:00
  • Related: travel.stackexchange.com/questions/26909/… – VMAtm Apr 17 '17 at 19:33
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Here's the actual legal basis for visa-free travel: http://base.garant.ru/195505 . It says you can stay for 72 hours, have to leave by the same port where you entered, and most importantly (point #6) it says you may only be located on the territory declared in the "official tourist program" filed by your cruise line with the Russian government.

There may be some "official tourist programs" that include other cities like Moscow (see e.g. the article at http://www.rostourunion.ru/ob_rst/novosti/news_archive/pervyyi_bezvizovyyi_parom.html )

Some articles online imply that this requirement is just a formality. For example, this article ( http://www.myestonia.ru/publ/72_chasa_bezvizovogo_schastja/13-1-0-572 ) implies you can go to other cities as long as you still pay for your St. Petersburg "official" hotel. However, the legality of this is very questionable. I would strongly recommend getting an actual Russian visa if you want to do any real exploring, especially given the current tense political situation.

  • Thanks. None of the tours offered on the St Peter Line website (at least on my travel dates) go to Moscow, so I guess I'm staying in St Petersburg. – Urbana Apr 10 '16 at 11:54

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