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Any US citizens/non Russians been to Russia recently?

Any US citizens/non Russians been to Russia recently?

Old Jul 17, 2022, 5:51 pm
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Any US citizens/non Russians been to Russia recently?

I don't doubt politics and world tensions make it harder, but how easy/difficult was it for you to go visit Russia. Looking to hear from recent people's experiences now that covid restrictions have dropped in USA and Europe. Hope its not to much of a hassle beyond getting the visa
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Old Jul 19, 2022, 3:57 am
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Logistically it would be a hassle unless you transit/fly via Istanbul or Belgrade, as the two "sides" have blocked each other from their respective airspace and commercial flights.

And then foreign-issued Mastercard/Visa/Amex cards won't work at all either. So you'd have to carry foreign currency into RUS and then exchange it for roubles.

It's a real pity the political situation ; Moscow has been on my list for a while.
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Old Jul 23, 2022, 4:45 am
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Originally Posted by mlin32
Logistically it would be a hassle unless you transit/fly via Istanbul or Belgrade, as the two "sides" have blocked each other from their respective airspace and commercial flights.
The Emiratis, Qataris, Bahrainis and Egyptians are still flying commercial passenger flights to/from Russia. There are some non-Russians on those flights. So Turkey and Serbia arent the only two countries continuing with some passenger flights to/from Russia.
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Old Jul 31, 2022, 12:37 pm
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Flights are Outrageously expensive. My girlfriend (US citizen but born in Russia) was looking to go in August to visit some friends. They were $3,000+ via IST and required like a 30 hour layover. As mlin32 noted, you also won't be able to use any of your cards (including your debit card to get cash). That is fine in Cuba where things are cheap, but it would be a nightmare in Moscow.
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Old Aug 13, 2022, 9:25 am
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I think the way to do it is to get two separate back to back tickets, one into IST and then from IST to somewhere in Russia. But I was looking at bringing someone to Europe and that might be a whole lot more complicated, although I'm not that tourist visas have been completely cancelled.
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Old Sep 6, 2022, 10:28 am
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My brother (American) just arrived St. Petersburg via bus from Helsinki, said imigration didn't ask about COVID testing----wasted $250USD on that since officially required. Take you chances, I suppose.
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Old Jan 10, 2023, 12:15 pm
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Tried/failed to visit St. Petersburg (visa)

I've visited Russia many times - mostly St. Petersburg.
Baltic Air/Swiss had a smoking deal: $470 round trip to Tallinn - no luggage included but $75 each way for luggage. From Tallinn, it is a 35 to 50 euro bus ride each way. The flight from SF was great: 1 stop and 15-16 hours elapsed. The bus ride and transfers add another 12 hours roughly. Not great but fine at that price.
To compare: Flights through IST or Dubai are $2000; $2500 to $3000 for economy during holiday season. Ouch! Even getting a miles ticket to IST - you still end up paying at least $800 for the round trip to/from Russia and likely will need to stay a night each way to get the timing right.

I tried to take advantage of the smoking deal: had everything ready to go but the visa was the issue.
Short summary: you normally need to get an invitation from a hotel if you are visiting as a tourist. This is quite simple - there are web sites to do this if you aren't actually staying at a hotel there.
Payment these days is challenging due to the Visa/MC cutoff, but the hotels now accept reservations with payment after you arrive.
In my case, I got the invitation and all the relevant docs. Some sort of health insurance is now required but no testing - the invitation service offered 1.8 euros/day health insurance which is dirt cheap. For everything else: bring cash. No problems trading dollars or euros for rubles in Russia but don't expect to get money via ATM or credit card or anything else remotely connected to Western financial systems.

However, the process of getting the visa itself was the problem. Even though I booked my ticket 12 business days before departure and inquired with visa companies 11 days before departure, not one single place would guarantee that I would get the visa in time.
This is apparently because nobody is allowed to do in-person visa applications anymore - not regular people nor professional services. Since everything must go by post - the Russian consulate is advising 3 weeks minimum(!) to get a visa while the services said 10 days but wouldn't guarantee it.
So I wound up cancelling Grrrrr.
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Old Jan 23, 2023, 12:48 pm
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Originally Posted by Tailgater
My brother (American) just arrived St. Petersburg via bus from Helsinki, said imigration didn't ask about COVID testing----wasted $250USD on that since officially required. Take you chances, I suppose.
how was the bus experience? Any holdup at the border? How long did it take total?
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Old Jan 22, 2024, 4:11 am
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One year later, any change in the conditions to travel to Ru from US? And are the prices relatively the same?
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Old Jan 27, 2024, 9:49 am
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Originally Posted by gkyu
One year later, any change in the conditions to travel to Ru from US? And are the prices relatively the same?
My wife's Russian so we follow the situation closely. Flights LHR-Moscow remain fairly expensive via DXB with EK (about 1000 eco return), however Turkish via IST is about half price compared to last year.

The rest remains unchanged in terms of currency etc. My wife flew last year in September and she said there were 'plenty' of Americans / Europeans in Moscow.
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Old Feb 22, 2024, 10:25 am
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How's the situation with land borders? Is it currently practical to get in via the EU for third-country (i.e. non-Russian non-EU) travellers?

Also, are UnionPay bank cards widely accepted in Russia as well?
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Old Feb 23, 2024, 12:28 am
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Originally Posted by miklcct
How's the situation with land borders? Is it currently practical to get in via the EU for third-country (i.e. non-Russian non-EU) travellers?

Also, are UnionPay bank cards widely accepted in Russia as well?
With land borders, it's generally not possible from the EU countries at the moment given the geopoltical situation.

Unionpay is theoretically accepted in Russia (along with many other European countries) but i doubt many mid or smaller merchants take them. The issue is that it's not so easy for non-Chinese people to get a Unionpay card in the first place, so a merchant would really be catering to Chinese tourists to accept it.
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Old Feb 23, 2024, 6:34 am
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Originally Posted by mlin32
With land borders, it's generally not possible from the EU countries at the moment given the geopoltical situation.

Unionpay is theoretically accepted in Russia (along with many other European countries) but i doubt many mid or smaller merchants take them. The issue is that it's not so easy for non-Chinese people to get a Unionpay card in the first place, so a merchant would really be catering to Chinese tourists to accept it.
What is the most popular non-American bank cards for non-Chinese people, especially those in the UK? Hypothetically, how does the UK guard against the national security in case the US sanctions the UK?
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Old Feb 23, 2024, 2:24 pm
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Originally Posted by miklcct
What is the most popular non-American bank cards for non-Chinese people, especially those in the UK? Hypothetically, how does the UK guard against the national security in case the US sanctions the UK?
The US unfortunately runs the global financial system, so they can do whatever they want, and it's not easy to avoid using MC or Visa, or the SWIFT payment systems.
:D! likes this.
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