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Current Russia entry experience for vaccinated Americans

Current Russia entry experience for vaccinated Americans

Old Dec 27, 21, 6:10 am
  #1  
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Join Date: Apr 2007
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Current Russia entry experience for vaccinated Americans

In September 2019, I managed to score a 3-year multi-entry tourist visa for Russia... spent an amazing week in Moscow and saw so much cool stuff.

I'd like to get back to Russia before the visa expires in September 2022, and was thinking St. Petersburg would be the headline attraction. But the more I read, the more I'm confused. Here are my questions for those with practical knowledge of the current situation:

1. As an American thrice-jabbed with Pfizer and a CDC card to prove it, will Russia accept me as vaccinated?

2. Does it matter which country I transit to get there? As a OneWorld FF, the main candidates are Finland, UK, Spain, and Qatar.

3. Do I have a present a test to fly to Russia? What are the parameters?

4. Will I face quarantine on arrival in Moscow or St. Petersburg?

5. What are the restrictions on the ground re: restaurants, public transit, museums, stores, churches, etc.?

Thanks, in advance, for sharing any helpful knowledge on these or related issues.
discoverCSG is offline  
Old Dec 27, 21, 11:14 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
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American here who flew into Russia last week. The short answer to everything is yes, you can come to Russia, but Moscow and St. Petersburg will be a bit restrictive for you as they do not recognize the Western vaccines and a Russian QR code is required (which requires a Russian or Chinese vaccine). You can show them a negative COVID test for entry into anything, and they tend to simply glance at them.

I spent a few days in Moscow before heading to another city and it's a big time YMMV situation, but you will likely have limited access to many museums, restaurants, etc. Outside of those two cities it is still technically restrictive, but my Pfizer vax card has gotten me in everywhere. I'd also note that this could of course change before your intended travel date next year. I'll answer your questions in the same order, but bottom line is I would not hesitate to travel to Russia.

1. As an American thrice-jabbed with Pfizer and a CDC card to prove it, will Russia accept me as vaccinated?
--- No, they do not recognize Pfizer. With that said, the reality is many places will look at your card and say you're fine to enter. I've had this experience primarily with bars and restaurants. Museums were stricter. You can show a negative COVID test from within 48 hours though (again, in my experience they don't really check the dates so you shouldn't have too much trouble).
2. Does it matter which country I transit to get there? As a OneWorld FF, the main candidates are Finland, UK, Spain, and Qatar.
--- Yes, at the moment Russia is only accepting travelers from places where they have direct flights. You can check Aeroflot's page for clarification, and they actually have a very helpful COVID protocols page where you can see all protocols for every country.
3. Do I have a present a test to fly to Russia? What are the parameters?
--- Yes, I needed a negative PCR test (antigen not accepted). It's very confusing if it needs to be from within 72 or 48 hours. It used to be 72, then they updated to 48, but many of the forms, Aeroflot and consulate's sites, etc. still show 72. I did 48 just to play it safe. The only time I was asked for my test was when I checked in at JFK. I never showed my test or vax card again until going to a restaurant in Moscow the next day.
4. Will I face quarantine on arrival in Moscow or St. Petersburg?
--- No quarantine at the time of writing this.
5. What are the restrictions on the ground re: restaurants, public transit, museums, stores, churches, etc.?
--- No restrictions for public transit. Restaurants, museums, and stores you will have to show a negative COVID test and as mentioned above, you may have luck showing your Pfizer card though technically it should't get it you in. I didn't visit any churches so can't speak to that. I also have not stayed at any hotels so am not totally sure about that process. I would contact wherever you plan on staying directly and find out.
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Last edited by pstm91; Dec 28, 21 at 2:20 pm
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Old Feb 4, 22, 12:21 am
  #3  
 
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I traveled to St. Petersburg and Moscow in late December, 2021 for tourism and while the restrictions have changed since then (I've been continuing to monitor them as I'd like to return soonish) I'll do my best to give you some answers.

Originally Posted by discoverCSG View Post
1. As an American thrice-jabbed with Pfizer and a CDC card to prove it, will Russia accept me as vaccinated?
When I traveled, no, we were required to get daily rushed PCR tests (we had a nurse come to our hotel and test us each day at night so we'd have a valid test for the next day. This method is very stressful (always worrying if you'll test +) and far from cheap) in SPb and in Moscow we got tested every other day, but I think things have changed in this regard. Russia does not yet recognize Pfizer/Moderna/etc., but you can now get an antibody test which would give you a QR code for 6 months essentially meaning that you can use your Pfizer vaccination to get a QR code (albeit via a test and not just the CDC card as they recognize antibodies, not Pfizer).

Originally Posted by discoverCSG View Post
2. Does it matter which country I transit to get there? As a OneWorld FF, the main candidates are Finland, UK, Spain, and Qatar.
You just need to make sure you go through one of Russia's approved countries. As a fellow OW FF we flew AY via HEL and had no problems.

Originally Posted by discoverCSG View Post
3. Do I have a present a test to fly to Russia? What are the parameters?
We had to present a negative PCR taken within 48hr of arrival into Russia to enter. It must be a PCR and the timing can be difficult as you need the results to be valid to board your flight and at landing.

Originally Posted by discoverCSG View Post
4. Will I face quarantine on arrival in Moscow or St. Petersburg?
No, unless you test positive of course.

Originally Posted by discoverCSG View Post
5. What are the restrictions on the ground re: restaurants, public transit, museums, stores, churches, etc.?
Once you get your QR code you should encounter few if any restrictions unless something has changed that I'm unaware of.
doc4science is offline  
Old Feb 5, 22, 11:02 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
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I returned to Moscow again yesterday and the entry protocols did not change, though they did make the PCR requirement within 48 hours more clear than my previous experience in December. Aeroflot also handed out an attestation form about an hour before final descent that I had to complete and sign much like an immigration card, which I do not remember doing back in December. It was collected right after passing through immigration.

On the ground, it's hit or miss with being asked for your QR code or proof of vaccine. I believe they still aren't technically allowed to accept Pfizer/Modern/J&J, but I did not have any problems getting in anywhere by showing my CDC card. Not one restaurant, coffee shop, or bar has asked for it yet so I would not worry about this.
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Old Feb 6, 22, 11:25 am
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Originally Posted by pstm91 View Post
Aeroflot also handed out an attestation form about an hour before final descent that I had to complete and sign much like an immigration card, which I do not remember doing back in December. It was collected right after passing through immigration.
When flying HEL-LED in mid December we were given a similar form at boarding (or also 1hr from landing I guess... haha). They collected them as we deplaned prior to customs.
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