President Putin made an announcement at the end of the World Cup yesterday that FAN ID holders would be welcomed to travel to Russia visa free until the end of 2018.
FAN ID was required to enter any of the World Cup venues and foreigners could use them instead of visa to enter Russia too during the event. I wrote about my FAN ID experience here.
Here’s an excerpt from Vedomosto (access their piece here):
President Vladimir Putin extended visa-free travel to Russia for foreigners on the passports of fans until the end of the year, Interfax reported . “I think we will do so: for the foreign fans who are at the moment passports fans, we have to make visa-free entry to Russia before the end of this year – multiple, I repeat, a visa-free regime”, – quotes Putin TASS .
On the eve of the Russian president proposed to introduce a special visa regime for returning to Russia foreign fans FM-2018. “We know that foreign guests and fans would like to come back to us again, bring their families, their friends, and we will think over for fans who love Russia, the most comfortable visa regime, we will provide them with the opportunity to continue our acquaintance with our country, especially since the potential this acquaintance is inexhaustible, “the president said.
I used the FAN ID to enter Russia on the first possible day in early June when I took a train from Helsinki to Saint. Petersburg. The Russian immigration conducted while the train was traveling was bit confused (I guess that they hadn’t read the memo yet) but I was allowed to enter the country.
Visited Moscow too and left when the matches were starting and hotel prices skyrocketing. Didn’t use the World Cup ticket that I had purchased to get the FAN ID (easier way to get what is essentially a Russian visa).
Good to know that they are planning to extend the travel validity through the end of 2018. I am sure that they will email all FAN ID holders in due course. My travel is pretty much set in stone until the end of 2018 so cannot visit Russia again this year.