Russian Visa – St Petersburg Shore Excursions and Visa Free Visits

Arrival in St Petersburg by Cruise Ships, by Ferry and Private Yacht

We are often asked about the regulations for passengers visiting St Petersburg, Russia by sea. We outline the current situation below:

1. Passengers travelling on Baltic Sea cruise ships to St Petersburg, who book excursions exclusively through their cruise line do not require a Russian Visa.  You may not leave the ship at any other time, only for your shore excursions.

2. Passengers who book independent shore excursions with an accredited Russian Travel Agency, licensed to carry out shore excursions may travel ashore visa-free. You may not leave the ship at any other time, only for your shore excursions. Our agency in St Petersburg is accredited and issues a voucher for presentation to the immigration authorities on arrival and our guides and drivers enter the port to meet you after immigration.

Note: Not all Russian travel agencies hold this special accreditation. See Please see the range of options ASLA Travel Group offer for visa-free independent shore excursions.

3. Passengers wishing to travel ashore in St Petersburg without pre-booked services must obtain a Russian tourist visa.  Whilst in port in St Petersburg, a single-entry Russian visa covers your stay, regardless of the number of times you leave and return to the ship. You pass through immigration formalities each time you leave and return to the ship. In this case you will require a visa support letter in order to obtain a Russian visa.

If you require a visa support letter we can provide these. You can buy a Visa Support Letter by following this link.

If you wish to obtain a single entry Russian tourist visa please see our range of visa services. 

4. There is a 72-hour Visa-Free Ferry service, from Helsinki to St Petersburg, returning to Helsinki. This is operated by St Peterline Ferries. For further details regarding Visa Free tours to St Petersburg click here (opens external website).

We hope that this information helps and wish you a wonderful visit to St Petersburg!