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Pulkovo Airside Facilities / Arriving to Russia Before Visa Becomes Valid

Pulkovo Airside Facilities / Arriving to Russia Before Visa Becomes Valid

Old Jul 11, 14, 4:21 pm
  #1  
a7m
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Pulkovo Airside Facilities / Arriving to Russia Before Visa Becomes Valid

Long story short, I miscalculated something and now I have tickets to Russia that will get me there 5 hours before my wife’s and daughter’s visa becomes valid. It’s a 3-year multiple tourist visa, if it makes a difference. So… any chance the Russians let us in? And if they don’t, what is there to do airside in Pulkovo International? I flew through it several times but can’t recall much, because I used to have access to lounges. Now I don’t. Suggestions? Oh, I don’t want to change tickets either.
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Old Jul 11, 14, 9:03 pm
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Only been to LED 2x in 20+ years but I've been to Russia about a hundred times in 20+ years and I believe with all of my heart they will absolutely not allow you to enter until that visa is valid. Our comrades there are simply very attentive to the letter of the law when it comes to visas, dates and duration. Maybe deboard the plane really, really slowly and just hang out in whatever area is available to you and wait it out. You could theoretically do this at SVO though only bathrooms and walkway await you. Same at OVB. Just don't remember much about LED so I can't help you there specifically.

You might actually have trouble boarding your flight to LED depending on how attentive your counter agents are. I've had many times where I or my family have entered Russia the day a visa becomes active but that has normally meant leaving LAX or ATL or JFK the day before it becomes active and I have had to remind the counter personal when they say "your visa is not valid" that when I arrive in Russia it will be tomorrow and thus valid.

No way to change these tickets at all? If not, you're taking a pretty hefty risk. Even so, report back so we all can learn from your experience. By all means, good luck as well.
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Old Jul 12, 14, 2:47 am
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a7m
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Originally Posted by woody125 View Post
You might actually have trouble boarding your flight to LED depending on how attentive your counter agents are.
I thought that might be a problem. I wonder how rigid the airline personnel will be. From what I remember, they do not look carefully at those things at AMS, where I will be flying from. They only look at passports carefully when flying back to the US. But you never know.
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Old Jul 12, 14, 12:15 pm
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Bad idea as the chances that you will not be allowed to board the plane to Russia are rather high.
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Old Jul 13, 14, 6:33 am
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Originally Posted by a7m View Post
I thought that might be a problem. I wonder how rigid the airline personnel will be. From what I remember, they do not look carefully at those things at AMS, where I will be flying from. They only look at passports carefully when flying back to the US. But you never know.
Not for our enjoyment I assure you but if you go through with this please do report back. Try and note if it is true SU employees you're dealing with in AMS or contracted workers. I've had some very liberal interpretations of SU law at LAX and FRA in the past by dealing with contract employees. I might have even been known to try and distract them with some other small talk.

Again, I hope you find a way around this. I with you the best...
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Old Jul 14, 14, 12:41 pm
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a7m
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I will have little to report, I think, since I am leaning toward changing the flight for one main reason. If I do not go through passport control right away and wait for 5 hours, my checked in luggage will be circling around the carousel unattended (I am assuming I can't get my luggage before the passport control).

But I will post responses from the airline and the Russian Consulate when I asked about my options.

INQUIRY TO THE CONSULATE: "Я недавно оформил многократную визу на 3 года... Xотя я упомянул в анкете, что мы прилетаем в Россию 22/09/14, начало действия визы 23/09/2014.nТак как билеты у нас уже куплены, и наш самолет прилетает в 19:00, 22/09/14, будет ли нам запрещено прилететь в Россию и подождать несколько часов до полуночи . . . в зоне перед паспортным контролем? Большое спасибо за ваш ответ." THE CONSULATE'S PROMPT RESPONSE: "В случае, если вы прилетите раньше 23 числа, вас просто не пустят через границу. Лучше поменять билеты." Well, I know we can't go through the passport control, but my question was whether we could hang out airside for five hours before going through passport control. My guess is that the consular official simply didn't want to go on record telling us that we could do that.
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Old Oct 27, 14, 11:11 pm
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Originally Posted by a7m View Post
I will have little to report, I think, since I am leaning toward changing the flight for one main reason. If I do not go through passport control right away and wait for 5 hours, my checked in luggage will be circling around the carousel unattended (I am assuming I can't get my luggage before the passport control).
Don't worry about this; you will never get this far No airline will allow you to board their flight to Russia with an invalid visa - the airline may get fined and may have to transport you back. Forget about trying to explain that you will be walking around for 5 hours until your visa becomes valid.

Having been to Russia 6 times already, trust me your passport and visa will be scrutinised when boarding the flight.
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Old Nov 2, 14, 7:41 am
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I very much doubt you will get past check in. Given the cost of sorting replacement flights out in the spot I would try and change them now.
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