72 visa free hours in St. Petersburg

 

In accordance with the decision of the Government of the Russian Federation, cruise and ferry passengers may stay in the territory of the Russian Federation for 72 hours without visa if they arrive in Saint-Petersburg on board a vessel as part of a tour group.

 

There are just 4 steps to visa-free entry: 

1. Purchase an airline ticket to Helsinki
There are more than 10 airlines that provide direct flights from European cities to Helsinki.
2. Book a ferry cabin
MOBY SPL LIMITED ferries sail from Helsinki almost every other day according to the schedule (at approximately 6 p.m.). Travel time is about 13–15 hours. Estimated time of arrival in Saint Petersburg is 9 a.m. the following day. The ferry sails back from Saint Petersburg 3 days later.
3. Book a transfer from the seaport of Saint Petersburg
The ferry company will provide a transfer service to the city centre and also to some hotels. It is a paid service, but it is mandatory if you would like to purchase a visa-free cruise travel. The transfer fee is 25 euros.
4. Select a hotel to stay in the city centre
After selecting a cabin and booking the transfer service you can select a hotel in the city centre from the list of hotels. Please note that to use the visa-free stay option, you may only choose a hotel to stay from the list of hotels included in your tour group programme. Your travel agent will provide you with the full list of the hotels available for booking and the room prices, or, if you book a MOBY SPL LIMITED ferry online, you can select a hotel online via the booking system of MOBY SPL LIMITED. MOBY SPL LIMITED reserves the right to refuse in check-in in port of departure if the hotel is booked through other booking systems not affiliated with MOBY SPL LIMITED.

 

Purchasing the Cruise

Travel Agencies
You can contact one of the travel agencies representing the MOBY SPL LIMITED ferry company to purchase a visa-free cruise. After booking the cruise, the travel agent will provide you with the booking confirmation.  You can visit the web page https://stpeterline.com/gde-kupit to contact the department of MOBY SPL LIMITED responsible for the sales in your region.

Online booking system
You can book a visa-free cruise travel without leaving your home using an online booking service via the website of the ferry company. When booking a cruise online, please follow the system instructions and leave the "visa" field blank when filling out the form. Next, the system will automatically bring you to the purchase of a transfer service to the city centre. After that, you will be able to book a city tour and print out the booking confirmation.

Travel Start

How can I get from Vantaa Airport to the Helsinki passenger port — Länsiterminaali?
You can take a taxi or use public transport: first the bus, then the tram:

 

  • Use a regular 615 or 620 bus which runs from the airport to the Helsinki city centre to the railway station (in the direction of the city centre: Rautatientori).
    Fare: 5.00 Euros in the daytime and 7.00 Euros in the night-time (from 2 a.m. to 4:30 a.m.)
  • You can also take a Finnair City Bus, which departs from the airport to the railway station.
    Fare: 6.30 Euros.
    Journey time: about 40 minutes.
    Helsinki bus schedule
    Finnair City Bus schedule

  • Transfer to the number 9 tram from the Rautatientori station to reach the passenger  port of Helsinki -Länsiterminaali.

Ferry check-in

On the day of the departure, you should arrive at the terminal in advance for check-in. Check-in starts 3 hours before departure. To check in, you must provide the passport you used to book the ferry. Please do not forget your cruise and hotel booking confirmations to simplify the check-in procedure and for your own convenience. After check-in, you will proceed to passport and visa control and then get on board the ferry.

On Board

The information counter on board is open 24 hours a day. Cosy cabins, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, casinos and other entertainment will be at your service. For children, there is a specially equipped game room with a pool of plastic balls, a maze, and a children's cinema. Children under 12 years have free access to the Aqua Zone upon the condition that they are accompanied by their parents.

 

Arrival in Saint Petersburg

After the ferry arrives in Saint Petersburg, you should leave the ferry and proceed to passport and visa control. In order to speed up the migration control procedure, it is necessary to make sure that you have the following documents on you before leaving the ferry: your passport, hotel and transfer booking confirmations, migration card, and arrival-departure card obtained when checking in for the ferry. Request a migration card onboard the ferry or at the passport control at the marine terminal in Saint Petersburg. Upon arrival in the Russian Federation, and after going through migration and customs control, you should proceed to the hall of the marine station, which is located right behind the terminal. Having left the station building, proceed to the minibuses with  MOBY SPL LIMITED logo. The route of the shuttle bus is available here: https://stpeterline.com/visa-free-rule

Upon your arrival, please check with the ferry staff about the timetable of the bus. The bus makes several stops. With your arrival-departure card, you can use the shuttle an unlimited number of times. Please note that the shuttle bus runs on a schedule and only on the days when the ferry is staying at the quay at the marine station in Saint Petersburg.

Departure from Saint Petersburg

On the day of the departure from Saint Petersburg, take the shuttle to the marine terminal, boarding at any of the stops listed on the site https://stpeterline.com/visa-free-rule. Inside the terminal, first check in for the ferry, providing your passport and the cruise booking confirmation. Then walk directly into the migration and customs control area. At passport control, you will need to present your passport, migration card and arrival-departure card.

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We hope this page will be useful for foreign tourists who want to take advantage of a unique visa free regime and enjoy the indescribable atmosphere of Saint Petersburg.

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INFORMATION FOR CRUISE PASSENGERS

The 72-hour visa free rule applies to those who arrive to Saint Petersburg not only by ferries, but also by cruise ships. In order to exit the port and visit the city, a cruise passenger must be registered as a member of a tourist group. To become a part of such group, a passenger should purchase an excursion or a shuttle service, which are available aboard the ship. Please note, that the tourists are required to return to their cruise ship cabins for the night.