Here you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions concerning trips to Russia and tours in St. Petersburg
Do I require a Russian visa to enter Russia?
Citizens of certain countries do not require a regular tourist visa to enter Russia. For instance, passport holders from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Cuba, Israel, Peru, Venezuela and some others do not require a visa for short-term visits.
Besides, cruise ship and ferry passengers (arriving and departing by water) do not require a visa for visits under 72 hours. To find out more about visa-free shore excursions, please check out our “Visa-free and Tour Tickets” FAQ.
Do I require a tourist visa if I come by a cruise ship?
No. Those travellers arriving to and departing from St. Petersburg by a cruise or a ferry do not require a regular tourist visa to Russia if they book shore excursions with a licenced local tour operator. “I Love Travel St. Petersburg” is licenced to provide visa-free tours to cruise passengers. Our licence number is MBT 013246 (By clicking the link you will see our official registry entry with the Federal Agency of Tourism of the Russian Federation. The Russian name of our company looks as follows: ООО “Ай Трэвел СПб”). Our office is located at ST. Petersburg port “Marine Facade”, which makes service cruise passengers and cooperating with the Russian migration office easier and faster.
What is a Tour Ticket and how do I receive it?
Since cruise passengers do not have to have regular tourist visas to Russia if they book their shore excursions with a licenced tour operator, the passport control in St. Petersburg will ask for the confirmation that your tour is booked with such a tour operator. In other words, you will need to show your tickets for tours in St. Petersburg. Such a tour ticket has to contain:
information on the local tour company, providing the shore excursion;
passport information of the customer;
tour name and start time.
Such tour tickets are frequently referred to as “cruise passenger visas” or “blanket visas” or “visa waiver”.
To obtain such tour tickets for your visa-free shore excursions, you will need to book a tour with “I Love Travel St. Petersburg” (as official shore-excursion provider) and submit the following passport details to us:
Your full names (exactly as they appear in your passports);
Your passport number;
Your date of birth (exactly as it appears in your passport, same format);
Dates in St. Petersburg.
As soon as the tour is booked and we have your passport details, we’ll have tour tickets issued and e-mailed to you. You will need to print them out and have them together with your passports for the passport control in St. Petersburg.
I have received an information letter from the cruise telling me that I can only go ashore without a visa in St. Petersburg if I book shore excursions with the cruise. Is this true?
No, this is not true.. In St. Petersburg there are more than 80 tour companies licenced to work with visa-free cruise passengers. Your cruise ship is on contract with one of them. So, when your cruise tells you that visa-free tours are only available if you book them from the cruise, the cruise provides you inclomplete and misleading information. “I Love Travel St. Petersburg” is one of the local tour operators who are licenced to conduct visa-free shore excursions. You can see what our former cruise customers wrote about “I Love Travel” on TripAdvisor.
I am not on a cruise. Can I still have a tour with “I Love Travel”?
Yes. “I Love Travel St. Petersburg” is a full service tour operator. We can arrange both: separate private guided tours for you as well as tour package (including hotel bookings, internal flights/train rides, transfers, etc.).
We service in the following Russian cities/towns: St. Petersburg (the location of our head office), Moscow, Golden Ring towns (Vladimir/suzdal, Sergiev Posad, etc.), Novgorod and Tver.
Please e-mail us to arrange a tour package or a separate day tours with a private guide.
Do you require a deposit?
Yes. Since we make museum arrangements and such in advance (so that you do not have to waste your presious tour time in lines for museum entrance tickets) and some of them are non-refundable, we require a 10% deposit if you book day tours with us.
If you book a tour package that involves hotels in St. Petersburg and/or other Russian cities, we require a 60% deposit for your tour.
No. Unfortunately, in Russia there’s no law that would allow us to withdraw the gratuity from the business bank account and give it to the employees as tips, so cannot be possibly included in the bill and should be paid in cash. Besides, there’s no strickt rule on how much you tip. On average guides are tipped 10% and drivers are given 5% of the tour cost. It is better to tip your guide and driver separately. If you have tours in multiple cities/towns, you will need to tip the guides and drivers in each place separately.