Visa vs. Fan ID: What You Should Apply For and Why


The long-awaited biggest football spectacle is getting closer. Besides speculations about who has the best chances of winning and will Germany repeat its success from four years ago, fans are in the midst of it all preparing for their travels to Russia, this year’s host.  


As you probably know, it is mandatory to receive a Russian visa when travelling to this country. In addition, to get a regular tourist visa you need to obtain an invitation for it first. To make things easier for the fans during the World Cup this year, Russian authorities decided to introduce something called a Fan ID.


In accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation, entry (exit) of foreign citizens and stateless persons arriving in Russia as spectators for sports events within the framework of the FIFA 2018 World Cup (will be held from June 14 to July 15, 2018 in the cities of Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Ekaterinburg, Kaliningrad, Nizhny Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don, Samara, Saransk, Volgograd), is carried out without issued Russian visas.” This stands in the official statement on the Russian embassy’s website and only documents that you will need to travel are a valid passport and the Fan ID. Your passport needs to be valid for at least six months at the time of entering Russia.


What exactly is this Fan ID? The Fan ID is a mandatory pass that will allow you to enter the stadiums and also to travel to Russia and stay there during the period of the World Cup. However, it is only valid during that period, including 10 days before the first match and 10 days after the final match. In case you were planning to stay longer than that, it would be better if you apply for a regular tourist visa.


You can apply only for one Fan ID. You are eligible for it only if you have already applied for the match tickets and FIFA approved your application. So if you were hoping to visit Russia using Fan ID and football is the last thing on your mind, that won’t be possible since you need to fill out the match ticket’s number during your application for the Fan ID.


With match tickets and Fan IDs, you can travel by designated trains between the World Cup’s host cities free of charge. You can also use public transportation in host cities for free, but only on match days.


If you lose your Fan ID by chance, you will need to apply again to get a new one. But, you need to make sure to use the same valid identity document that you used when applying initially.


You cannot use the Fan ID you got during the Confederation Cup since the new ones are issued for the World Cup.


It is not out of the question that your tickets will be delivered late and therefore you won’t be able to apply online for your Fan ID. In that case, you will have to get your Fan ID at the designated centres in your or neighbouring country or at posts near the Russian border. Prepare for long queues.


The Fan ID is valid for the whole country, but you should keep in mind that it would look suspicious if you travelled far away from the host cities. In case you wish to visit Russia purely for tourist purposes, we highly advise you to apply for a regular tourist visa and avoid any problems that you may face by using the Fan ID.