From the Russian Embassy website......Tourists on board large cruise chips should
have the right to stay in the Russian Federation without a visa during 72 hours.
They have the right to leave the ship and come back on board the ship only as
part of an organized tourist group as per the list. In case a tourist wants to leave
the ship alone, he needs a visa. (NOTE: This does not apply to 'River Cruises'.).
In other words, the normal procedure for passengers on a cruise ship is for them
to issue an official invitation for you to apply to the Russian Embassy for a tourist/cruise
visa. The guide who is licensed by the Russian Authorities is responsible for you
while you on a conducted tour organised by the cruise line. If you do not leave the ship,
then no visa is required while in port, up to a maximum of 72 hours.
If you wish to leave the ship on your own, then you need your own invitation and visa.
Most cruise lines allow you to get your own visa so that you can wander around on your own,
instead of using their invitation for guided tours. We will be happy to provide an invitation for
a tourist visa should you wish in order to obtain your own visa. This currently costs 65USD
The cost for the visa is additional to the cost of the invitation, and depends which country you
are in, and the processing speed.
In the UK the Russian Embassy site - http://www.rusemblon.org
In the USA the Russian Embassy site - http://www.russianembassy.org
Other countries listed at http://www.russianembassy.biz
Normally when entering Russia you pass through passport control at a border point.
A Russian official sits at the gangplank or dock gates enabling you to pass through
a 'border control' point at the dockyard.
This may sound strange, but we have to book you on a conventional tour of St.Petersburg
to be able to issue you with the correct paperwork for a tourist invitation, as yet there is
nothing for ships passengers. This paperwork is required to obtain your visa.
Each person needs their own invitation and visa. The invitations costs US$65 per passport,
you pay online for this after completing the online form.
Please check with the cruise line, they may have more information. Also you cannot apply
more than 3 months before the cruise date, and you need at least 6 months validity
AFTER leaving Russia on your passport.
If you decide to take the 'ships tours', and wish us to refund any payment you have made
to us, we are happy to do so prior to the invitation being issued. A refund cannot be
made once the invitation is issued.