Football fans rejoice! There's a visa-free system in place for those traveling to Russia for the 2018 World Cup. Fans who have game tickets and have been granted a Fan ID by the Russian government will be able to enter the country without a visa. In accordance with the Russian Federation legislation, those entering this country as sports events spectators within the framework of the World Cup next year, from June 14 to July 15th, will be able to do so without a visa.
This is not the first time that Russia has established a system to facilitate travel for sports fans. In 2014, during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, spectators had to complete an online application process and received in exchange a document from the Russian Authorities to enter the country during the period of the games. In general, very few countries are exempt from applying for a visa to Russia.
Register with the Fan ID before your trip
It should be said that even though a visa is not required, there are other requisites involved. One of them is obtaining the Fan ID, a document issued in electronic and paper form. All people traveling to Russia for the 2018 World Cup can register online for the Fan ID. This authorization will be necessary to enter the country, the football matches and free transport travel. The Fan ID does not replace a ticket to a game, it is a mandatory requisite for the spectators of the World Cup.
The visa entry system was trialled this past summer, during the Confederations Cup and registration for the new Fan ID for the World Cup will be available shortly. Spectators should bear in mind that they will have to provide personal and contact data, a photo with the requirements specified on the official website, and the tickets for the sports events attendance.
Countries across the globe have started to put in place online registration programs for foreing visitors. The U.S. for example established the ESTA and the EVUS to improve security and facilitate travel. The EU will start implementing the ETIAS visa in 2020 in order to ensure better border control. It should not come as a surprise that Russia would create online registration systems to improve travel and safety.
Registration with the Fan ID will replace the Russian entry visa and holders of this ID can enjoy free transport between and within the host cities of the 2018 World Cup. If you are traveling to Russia during the football championship, but have no intention of participating in it, you will have to complete the usual visa requirements.