Saint-Petersburg: Travel tips
See also: Visa support |
VISA Requirement |
Hotel prices and itineraries
of many tour programs change depending on the season.
Peak season is from May to September. Alternatives are
to come in spring (1 April-15 May) or fall (1 September-31
October) when prices are lower and the city less crowded.
The summer White Nights in St Petersburg are spectacular
but, at the same time, summer may be humid and dusty.
An Indian summer in the fall is lovely. If you do not
mind the cold and snow, the winter season is cheapest
and accommodation most readily available. There are
some of the events that annually take place in the city
in winter season: "Christmas musical meetings in the
Northern Palmyra", "Art Square" winter festival, international
jazz festivals, sport tournaments, international cinema
festivals and theatre first nights.
The first thing a visitor
should do is picking up “St. Petersburg: The Official
City Guide”, an excellent full-color quarterly freebie,
or buy the pocket edition of the Traveler's Yellow Pages.
The Friday edition of The St. Petersburg Times and the
monthly Pulse are both free and have good listings and
reviews. All the hostels can provide everything from
invitations and accommodation bookings to theatre tickets,
restaurant advice and general help and advice should
something go wrong. The City Tourist Information Office
at 41, Nevskiy prospect is still near the bottom of
a steep learning curve.
You should always have
identification. It is advisable to carry photocopies
of your passport and visa, showing that they have been
registered. Frequent random checks by police are taking
place, more usually on men. Besides passport and visa
are wanted to change money, and to buy train tickets,
book hotel rooms and in numerous other situations.
In St. Petersburg, as
in any large city, you should watch out for pickpockets
working in public places, such as on crowded public
transport (especially at metro electric trains) or in
markets and other touristy spots. Keep money and documents
in inner pockets, try not to flash big means, don't
leave your baggage unsupervised, have an eye on your
handbag (it could be cut up insensibly and you will
loose your purse). Stand as far as possible from Gypsies,
including the children. Don't give them money and the
like. You wasn't even notice when all your valuables
are disappeared. Walking out late alone in deserted
dark areas (courtyards and parks) or after drinking
would make you a good target for offenders.
Be warned about persons
representing themselves as police and wanting to check
your pockets, you may find lack of money after a time.
Police is allowed to inspect you only at the police
station. In case of stopping you in the street dial
(on your mobile phone) the special police number arranged
for foreigners and explain the situation. You should
obtain the officer's name, badge (ID) number, and patrol
car number, and note where it happened.
Verify your change carefully
before leaving the cashier or seller.
!! Free option:
If your return flight is in the afternoon you can book
a suburb tour with us for the morning of the departure
day and have airport transfer free of charge!
!!! Free option:
If you book a travel package with our company you will
get free visa support to obtain a Russian travel visa.
Travel services: VISA Support
See also: VISA Requirement
| VISA Types | Back to:
There are three types
of visas: tourist, business and visitor.
A tourist visa
application can be collected from a travel agent or
at a Russian embassy or consulate. Three passport size
photos and a photocopy of the information page of your
passport are also required. Once confirmation of your
the best rates in hotels. Each city you plan to visit
must be written on the visa. Once in Russia, you can
lengthen your stay or visit additional cities by making
arrangements with the service desk at your hotel.
If you are sponsored
by a Russian organization, you are entitled to a
business visa. Ask the organization to fax you with
an invitation and dates of stay. Give this to the Russian
embassy or consulate; they will usually issue a business
visa without proof of hotel stay. Multi-entry visas
are also issued with the proper papers.
If you hosted by a relative
or friend, you can enter on a visitor's visa.
You must send your host a visa application filled out
in duplicate (not a photocopy). The host must then take
it to his own travelers' organization, OVIR, which will
issue a visitor's invitation for you after several months.
The traveler is only allowed to travel to the cities
and stay with the persons designated on the visa. You
must make these arrangements far in advance.
On arrival, all
visitors to Russia must register their visa
and passport with Local Visa Office (OVIR). If you
are staying in a hotel, the registration desk will do
this for you upon checking in. (Your passport and visa
may be held for a few hours or days at the hotel registration
desk.) If staying elsewhere, you should go directly
to OVIR: Visa Registration Department 4 Saltykova-Schedrina
Travel services: VISA Requirement
See also: VISA Types |
Back to: VISA Support |
All foreigners traveling
to or transiting through Russia must have a passport
and visa covering the duration of stay in the country.
Visas are issued by Russian Consulates in your
home country, based on an invitation (a visa support
letter) from a Russian party.
To obtain a Russian visa,
you should submit the following papers to a Russian
- Completed visa application form
(one per person) which can be obtained from consulates
- Original national passport (valid
not less than one month after the date of departure
- Three standard passport-size photographs.
Please, sign on the back.
- An invitation from the authorized
hosting Russian travel agency (for tourist and business
visas). The letter of invitation can be arranged
through Nota Bena Co.
- A Money order or cashiers check
payable to the Russian Consulate for visa processing.
Russian visas must be
registered in the first 3 bank days after your arrival.
This can be done either at your hotel at a small fee
(about 1 EUR per person) at check-in procedure or in
OVIR offices (the local immigration authorities) with
the help of the company that invited tourists. Registration
fee in this case is negotiable.
Russian visa is an
exit permit as well and if you lose it or overstay
your visa's validity, even for one day, or neglect to
register your visa, leaving the country may cause problems.
Tourist visas are not
subject to prolongation. As for business visas — only
your sponsor (organization which has provided your invitation)
is allowed to apply for replacement, extension, or changes
to your visa.
- The visa fee is paid to the Consular
service issuing visas in your home country. Its
cost varies depending on the country. Please, check
with Russian Consulate.
- Visa processing fee is non-refundable.
- Any person applying for a visa for
a stay of more than three months must present a
certificate showing that the individual is HIV-negative.
- After you receive your visa please
check it for possible mistakes (passport number,
date of birth, term of validity) and, if necessary,
return it to the Consulate for corrections.
Travel services: VISA Types
Back to: VISA Requirement
| VISA Support | Travel
A supplementary requisitions for a Tourist visa:
- A standard tourist confirmation
(visa support letter) from the authorized hosting
Russian travel agency, registered with the Russian
Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The confirmation must
contain the agency's reference number, registration
number, official seal and signature of authorized
The invitations must be on letterheads and contain
full name of the invited person, his/her date of
birth, passport number, period of stay in Russia
and cities to be visited. The invitations must be
signed by authorized persons and sealed.
- Original voucher issued by
an authorized travel agency (or confirmed hotel
reservation), indicating full name of the traveler,
date of birth, passport number, dates of entry and
departure, name of the hosting Russian tourist company.
Please, notice that tourist visa is valid
for not longer than 30 days!
When entering Russia
with a tourist visa, you are required also to present
at the border checkpoint your tourist confirmation,
voucher and a return ticket with a fixed date of departure
from Russia. You also will have to prove that you have
sufficient funds for your travel. However, this does
not apply to cruises and tourist groups!
A supplementary requisitions for a Business visa:
- A letter of invitation from
the Russian Foreign Ministry, its regional representatives,
Ministry of Interior or its local offices, or any
other authorized Russian Agency. The letter must
contain: official seal and legal address of the
agency, document registration number, date of registration,
signature and name of official authorized to invite
foreigners to Russia, travel itinerary, dates of
stay, names of persons invited.
- A cover letter from your
company or from yourself if you are traveling individually,
with information about the traveler, destinations,
terms and purpose of visit.
A supplementary requisitions for a Visitor's visa:
- Original visa support letter
("Izveschenie") issued by a Local Visa Office
(OVIR) in Russia. Applicant's friends or relatives
can obtain such invitations.
The invitations must
be on letterheads and contain full name of the invited
person, his/her date of birth, passport number, period
of stay in Russia and cities to be visited. The invitations
must be signed by authorized persons and sealed.
"Izveschenie" is valid within
one year from the date indicated there.
!!! Free option: If you book a
travel package with our company you will get free visa
support to obtain a Russian travel visa.