Fans will be able to travel to Russia visa-free during the upcoming FIFA World Cup with their FAN IDs. The world cup starts on June 14 with the opening ceremony followed by the first match, Russia vs Saudi Arabia.
Normally, the vast majority of nationalities need to obtain a visa to enter Russia but this will not be the case during the World Cup. Fans can apply for a FAN ID from the Russian Government if they have World Cup match tickets.
The FAN ID application requires fans to submit a range of personal information such as passport details, address, phone number, and travel plans. After the application has been approved, the FAN ID can be sent by post or collected at special centers in the host cities.
Fans will be able to enter Russia from up to 10 days before the first match and stay until up to 10 days after the last match of the World Cup. It will be necessary to present the FAN ID upon leaving Russia.
Fans will have three days to register with the authorities after arriving in a new city. Hotels register guests automatically. Fans must keep their registration paperwork and their passports with them at all times. Not registering with the authorities could lead to a fine.
Free transport around Russia using a FAN ID
The FAN ID also acts as a transport pass as well as a Russian visa. The FAN ID will allow holders to use certain public transport services, including inner-city trains, for free. There will also be free train services between the host cities.
Many trains run overnight as the distances are so great. Traveling from Moscow to Kazan can take 12 hours, and getting from St Petersburg to Sochi it takes 37 hours by train. For these longer journeys between cities, fans need to book in advance on the tournament website using their FAN IDs.
There will be extra flights during the World Cup but the tickets are likely to be expensive.
It is necessary to buy World Cup tickets before applying for a FAN ID. There are still some tickets available on the FIFA website. Fans should remember that tickets are registered to individual buyers. Buying tickets from touts or resellers is unlikely to get you into the stadium as it is necessary to have the FAN ID which corresponds to the ticket.
Fans should expect tight security around stadiums and key transport links. There will be thousands of police as well as the National Guard. There will be a number of security measures in place such as airport-style scanners and routine searches spot-checks.
Fans are advised to apply for a FAN ID as soon as possible after they have successfully obtained a World Cup ticket.