What is the change? Russia’s parliament has approved a bill that will extend visa-free entry into Russia for 2018 FIFA World Cup FAN ID holders for the rest of the year. The bill has been signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and will take effect Aug. 14.

What does the change mean? FAN IDs were used as entry/exit documents during the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Once the bill takes effect, holders of FAN IDs will be able to enter Russia without a visa through the end of 2018. Additional amendments may be made to visa regulations that allow family members and friends traveling with FAN ID holders to obtain a visa free of charge.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing through 2018.
  • Visas/permits affected: Entry visas.
  • Who is affected: Foreign travelers who hold a 2018 FIFA World Cup FAN ID as well as friends and family members entering Russia with them.
  • Impact on processing times: Extending the visa-free entry benefit of the FAN ID will remove the time required to apply for and receive a visa to enter Russia, making it easier for FAN ID holders to travel to Russia.

Background: The FIFA World Cup soccer tournament, which ended July 15, took place in western Russia, where 11 cities hosted matches. After the World Cup final match in Moscow, Putin announced the visa-free entry policy for FAN ID holders and a bill was later approved by the Federal Assembly and signed by Putin. Approximately 806,000 individuals hold Fan IDs and 3 million foreigners visited Russia during the tournament, according to Russia’s deputy prime minister. Putin said in a cabinet meeting that the FAN ID travel system may be extended to other sporting and cultural events in 2019.

BAL Analysis: Foreign travelers who hold a World Cup FAN ID are reminded that they must have a valid passport at the moment of entry and for the duration of their stay in Russia. The purpose of extending visa-free entry for FAN ID holders is to promote tourism. Travelers who have a FAN ID but plan to conduct business activities while in Russia will still need to obtain a business visa.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice Group and our network provider Intermark Relocation located in Russia. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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