As soccer fans have probably been aware for months, the FIFA World Cup is coming to Russia in June. Fans of the World Cup absolutely dwarf fans of the Super Bowl. While over 100 million people tune in for the Super Bowl, it is watched almost exclusively in the United States. The final game of the World Cup, however, garners over a billion viewers worldwide. That’s right – a billion. As a whole, the tournament is watched by about three billion people.
Evidently, we should be calling soccer “football” and football something else entirely. Crush ball? We can debate that another time…
If You’re Flying to Russia for the World Cup
If you’re planning to attend the World Cup in Russia, we hope you already have your game tickets. Be aware that tickets selling on secondary sites like StubHub are seriously overpriced, and you may not be able to get into the games with these tickets, as all tickets are supposed to be bought directly from FIFA.
But assuming you have your tickets from FIFA, the next thing on your mind is probably a visa to Russia. Usually a Russia visa is far from a simple order, as you need to get permission from the country to visit. You also need to complete a lengthy application and pay a hefty fee.
But in an effort to make things as simple as possible, Russia has relaxed the process for entry for World Cup fans. All you need to do is get a Fan ID. These IDs have multiple uses, and one of those uses is working as your FIFA visa.
Here’s how it works:
- With your FIFA ticket(s) in hand, go to the Fan ID website and register for an account. You’ll get a confirmation via email.
- You can then choose to have your Fan ID mailed to you, or you can pick it up from one of several distribution centers.
- When you arrive in Russia, your Fan ID will prove that you are there to see the World Cup, and it will therefore function as your visa. You won’t need any other sort of visa to enter the country, but you will need a valid passport.
- Once in Russia, you can use your Fan ID for free unlimited travel on public transportation. You can also use it to get into the stadiums (but bring your tickets, too).
Think of the Fan ID like a conference badge. Treat it like you would a driver’s license or passport.
If You’re Traveling to Russia, But NOT for the World Cup
If you’re heading to Russia between June 14 and July 15, be aware that the World Cup is likely to cause some headaches for you. Millions of people will be visiting Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, and a host of other cities for the tournament. Plan ahead as much as possible.
Also note that you will need a visa just like usual to travel to Russia if you’re not attending a game. The Russian consulate will be closed on April 30, May 1, May 2, and May 9. This means that no rush services can be processed on May 8. Give us a call if you have any questions.
Rob Lee is co-founder of Swift Passport and Visa Services. Originally from Michigan, Rob is an avid fisherman and SCUBA diver who enjoys adventure travel.