FAQ in Russia

The road to RuBronyCon starts with planning your expenses and gathering all the info and docs you might need for the trip. This article is an extensive FAQ aimed at helping you prepare for the trip to Russia, and covers:

  1. Russian visa issues
  2. Registration
  3. Transportation
  4. Security
  5. Food and accomodation
  6. Medical Issues
  7. Other useful information

Russian visa issues

Q: Do I really need a visa?

You most likely do. The list of countries that have a visa waiver with Russia is pretty small. In addition, said citizens can usually only stay visa-free in Russia for a limited period of time. For more info, consult this list:

  • Unlimited period:
    • Belarus, South Ossetia
  • 90 days:
    • Abkhazia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova;
    • Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Estonia (holders of an alien passport), Latvia (holders of a non-citizen passport), Argentina;
    • Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador;
    • Fiji, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Nicaragua;
    • Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, South Africa, Uruguay;
    • Vanuatu, Venezuela
  • 60 days:
    • South Korea
  • 30 days:
    • Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Thailand, Macedonia
  • 14 days:
    • Hong Kong

We suggest you contact the Consulate of Russian Federation in your country anyway to make sure the info is still up-to-date on the day you start your RuBronyCon preparations.

Q: If I have a 2018 FIFA World Cup Fan ID, do I need to get a visa?

Nope! If you are a holder of a Fan ID, you can visit Russia visa-free multiple times till the end of 2018. We advise you to contact your Russian Consulate and learn what other documents you may require for the trip using your Fan ID.

Q: What is the visa application process?

For attending RuBronyCon, we suggest you go for the tourist visa, which is fairly easy to get. The tourist visa is either single-entry or double-entry and is valid for up to 30 days. To start the application process, consult your local Consulate of Russian Federation on the list of required documents, as it can be slightly different from country to country. The standard list of documents is as follows:

  • Visa application form
  • Two passport-sized photographs (3,5 x 4,5 cm, not older than 6 months)
  • Valid travel passport (should be valid for 6 months after your Russian visa expires and contain at least two clear pages)
  • Medical insurance that covers Russia
  • A confirmation of the consular fee paid (fee value varies from country to country. Check with your local Russian Consulate. The fee is non-refundable)
  • Tourist invitation (consists of tourist confirmation and voucher). We can help you out with obtaining this invitation for a small fee of 1750 RUB. However chances are your local travel agency offers the same service for the same price or slightly more expensive.

Q: How does the medical insurance work?

Foreigners visiting Russia must have a valid medical insurance which covers the territory of Russia. International insurance is fine, too.

If you don’t have travel insurance or are not sure if your medical insurance covers Russia and is valid for the duration of your trip, ask your insurance company. The insurance might also be included into your credit card policy, so it’s worth checking with your credit card issuer on whether it covers Russia.

Q: Where can the visa be submitted?

Once all your documents are ready, fill out the visa application and submit it all to the Russian consulate or an authorized visa center (some consulates don’t accept applications directly) either in person or by post. Alternatively you can have your local travel agency do it for you, if you are getting the visa through it. You also must pay the consular fee.

If applying by yourself, please note that VFS Global is the only visa application center authorized to work with Russian visas. Beware of scammers claiming their agency is also a visa application center.

Q: How long does it take to get the visa?

Your visa will be ready within 4-10 working days. If you’re in a hurry, it can be ready in 3 days, for double the price. Kids of no more than 16 years old do not require a visa if they travel with a parent or a guardian (with respective info about the kids stated in the passport of said parent or guardian) and are mentioned in the tourist invitation and the visa application form.

And again, we encourage you to check all this information with your local Russian consulate to make sure it’s up-to-date and covers all the fine points of getting a Russian visa in your country.

Specifics Q: I’m planning to travel to Russia through Belarus. Do I need a Russian visa in that case?

Yes, you do. The Belarusian-Russian border has no international border crossing points, and with the introduction of the visa-free policy in Belarus, Russia has tightened security at this border. Moreover, while buying an international train or bus ticket, you’ll need to present your passport (if you’re not buying it online, that is). Then you’ll need to present it one more time while getting on the bus or train. If you don’t have a Russian visa, you won’t be let on board.

Specifics Q: Can I apply for a Russian visa outside of my home country?

Most likely, yes. You need to check this with the Russian consulate of the country you’re planning to apply for the visa in.

Registration

Q: What is the registration procedure?

The registration is the process by which the government is notified of your arrival to Russia. Your host is responsible for the registration. For instance, if you stay in the hotel, the hotel will register you. The document looks like this.

Q: When do I have to register?

You have to register only when staying in Russia for more than 7 business days, excluding holidays and weekends.

When you travel to different cities through Russia you have to register in every city, if you stay there for more than 7 business days. However if you, for instance, stay for 5 days in Moscow and then for 5 days more in Saint Petersburg, you can register in just one of these cities.

Q: What documents do I need in order to register?

  • Your passport
  • Your immigration card (will be given to you upon arrival at the airport. Don’t lose it! You will need to show it on the departure too!)

The copies (of all pages) of these documents will be made and they will be given you back.

Q: Where can I register?

  • Hotel:
    • If you are staying in a hotel, the hotel management will take care of your registration within 1-2 days
  • Apartment:
    • If you are staying in an apartment (Airbnb, Couchsurf etc.), the host has to register you. Negotiate this with the host before arrival, as you may be required to pay for this service
  • Private homes/Friends/Relatives:
    • The same as Airbnb, your host has to register you

Q: Will I be asked for the registration on departure?

Normally, the registration document is not required on departure at the airport, though the immigration card is required. However, it is better to do the process of registration, because if you don’t, there is a chance that you will be fined or have problems with obtaining Russian visas in the future.

Transportation

Q: How can I get from the airport to my accomodation?

You have three options to get from the airport to the city centre:

  • Taxi:
    • It is one of the most convenient ways of getting to the centre of the city. However during rush hour traffic jams can prolong your trip for up to two hours. The price can vary in the range of more or less 1900-2300 RUB.
    • Important when you arrive at the airport, use the official airport taxi services (they have special kiosks in the airport) or taxi apps, as normally at arrivals there are a lot of fraud taxis that can charge you much more than the normal price.
  • Aeroexpress train:
    • Very efficient way to get close to the downtown area, as you don’t depend on traffic jams. It is also cheaper than a taxi–420 or 500 RUB for a one-way ticket depending on how you buy it. However keep in mind that after the train you will most likely have to take a metro to get to your accommodation. For Aeroexpress prices, check out this page.
    • From Sheremetyevo (SVO): goes every 30 minutes and arrives on Belarusky railway terminal. Check out the schedule on the official website
    • From Domodedovo (DME): goes every 30 minutes and arrives on Paveletsky railway terminal (Paveletskaya metro station). Check out the schedule on the official website
    • From Vnukovo: goes every hour and arrives on Kievsky railway terminal. Check out the schedule on the official website
  • Bus or Marshrutka (share taxi, usually a van or a small bus) + metro
    • Another way of getting to the city centre is to take a local bus and go to the closest metro station. It is the cheapest way to go to the city centre, however, we recommend it only to the experienced travellers that don’t have a lot of luggage. It could be tough to get a grasp how to get from the outskirts of Moscow to the downtown area on the very first day, and tougher still if you have heavy bags. It will probably be the most time consuming option too.

Q: What are the best ways to move around the city?

The most convenient and cheapest transport to move around Moscow is the metro. The system is fast and convenient, and the central metro stations are also insanely well decorated in barroquish style and are absolutely worth checking out. One metro ride costs 55 RUB, but you might be willing to get an unlimited rides ticket for 1, 3, or 7 days, which costs 218, 415, and 830 RUB respectively. Another way to save up on public transport is to get a Troika card, which also covers overground transport and lowers the price of a ride to 36 RUB. More info about Moscow Metro and its pricing can be found here.

Another convenient way of transportation is taxies. The cheapest way is to order a taxi via apps, such as Uber or Yandex.Taxi. Check out the list of English-speaking taxi services here. However we suggest you check the traffic before calling a taxi as Moscow is a busy city with lots of traffic jams.

Security

Q: Is the city safe?

The city is pretty safe, however you can encounter pickpocketing, especially in metro or in touristy areas. In addition, the taxi system in the city is not that well-controlled, so if you try to hail a taxi right on the street, all types of vehicles can actually stop and give you a ride. So we suggest you use the apps or taxi services we mentioned earlier.

To learn more about the safety of Russia, we recommend watching this video.

Q: What should I do in case of emergency?

You should call the number 112 from your mobile phone. It is a universal emergency number that also works in Russia. Also you should always carry the telephone number of your embassy in case of an emergency.

Q: What do I do if I get robbed?

If it only the money that was stolen, the police would normally not be very helpful, you will just fill out the report and that will be it. However check out if your insurance covers robbery. If so, you must go to the police station to report it to present your insurance case to the insurance company later.

Furthermore if your passport was stolen, you must go to the closest police department to document the robbery. In such a way you will have a confirmation document of the stolen passport. Then you can contact your embassy and fill out the form for an emergency passport.

Q: Will I get in trouble going to Russia as LGBTQ+?

You will be perfectly fine. Unfortunately, Russia is infamous for its level of homophobia, but it does not mean that you will be in danger if you travel to Russia as LGBTQ+. The advisable thing to do is if you come to Russia with your partner, do not to show signs of affection, such as holding hands or kissing, in public.

Q: Will I get in trouble as a person of colour?

The media portrays Russia as a racist country. It is true that, like in a lot of countries in the world, Russia has a neo-nazi movement. However it used to be strong in early 2000s, and right now has lost most of its power, and every year the numbers of hate crimes is declining. You can check the reports and statistics here.

If you want to know more about this issue, there is a video about a positive experience of an African-American woman traveling to Russia.

In addition there is a small diaspora of people of colour living in Russia (less than 1%), if you want to know about their experience, you can watch this video.

Food and accomodation

Q: What good though affordable restaurants can I visit near the venue?

  • Near the first venue: Hotel Vega
    • Хинкальная (Hinkalnaya). One of the many restaurants of currently very popular Georgian cuisine is just around the corner from the venue. The prices are average and keep in mind that the service can be a little slow. However, the food seems to be good and it is open round the clock!
      Izmaylovskoye Shosse, 71, к. 5

      Google rating: 4,3 Tripadvisor rating: 4,0.

    • Гуси-Лебеди (Gusi-Lebedi). A little bit fancier restaurant of Russian cuisine with very good ratings. The good thing about it is that the prices are not over the top; you can check them out in the menu.
      Izmaylovskoye Shosse, 71, к.3В

      Google rating: 4,4 Tripadvisor rating: 4,5

    • Теремок (Teremok). Russian fast food chain. It is one of the cheapest options where you can grab something quick (sowery pancakes are really good there). The food is not fancy, however it is quite popular and might be interesting to try out.
      Izmaylovskoye Shosse, 71А

      Google rating: 3,2.

    • There are also numerous international fast food joints such as Burger King or McDonald’s around the venue.
  • Near the second venue: Клуб Театръ (Club Teatr)
    • Lambic Brasseri. A popular place just near the venue with a great variety of Belgian beer and extensive menu on barbeque and grill. The prices are little bit higher than average.
      Neverovskogo Ulitsa, 10

      Google rating: 4,7.

    • Теремок (Teremok). The same chain that we talked before is just around the corner in case you want to eat something really fast.
      Bagrationovskiy Proyezd, 5

      Google rating: 4,3.

    • Атмосфера (Atmosfera). A nice restaurant inside a business centre. The menu is very large including different cuisines, the prices are more or less average.
      Vasilisy Kozhinoi St., 1

      Google rating: 4.

Q: What restaurants in Moscow are worth visiting to experience the Russian cuisine?

Here are some of the places, which were advised by the local Moscovits:

  • Матрёшка (Matryoshka). A very nice and slightly fancy restaurant, which promotes the high-end Russian cuisine. You can check out the prices in the menu. Keep in mind that you will have significant discounts if you go at lunchtime. The place is pretty popular and the meals is highly valued by the Russian guests.
    Kutuzovski avenue, 2/1, building 6.

    Tripadviser rating: 4,5.

  • Пивной ресторан Ёрш (Beer restaurant Ersh). This is a chain of beer restaurants that offers Russian cuisine and a great beer selection for a moderate price. An average bill would be around 700-1500 rubles. The food and beer in this chain are highly recommended by the locals!
    Kosmonavtov St., 15
    Varshavskoye Shosse, 86
    Narodnogo opolcheniya street, 22

    Tripadviser rating: 4.

  • Столовая 57 (Stolovaya 57). This cafeteria promotes itself as “a gastronomic journey to the Soviet Union”. The prices are very moderate and the reviews are very promising. Also the location is super centrical, right on the Red Square in the shopping center ГУМ (GUM). Totally worth visiting for the experience and the meal itself.
    Krasnaya Sq., 3 | Inside GUM

    Tripadviser rating: 4,5.

  • Вареничная №1 (Varenichnaya №1). This is a chain of Russian cuisine restaurants, which specialises on Russian dumplings (“varenik” – a type of dumpling). The prices are very moderate, you can check them out in the menu. Also, here you can check out different locations, while the most centric one is right on the Arbat street.
    Arbat St., 29 | metro Arbatskaya, Smolenskaya

    Tripadviser rating: 4.

  • Тарас Бульба (Taras Bulba). A very nice restaurant of the Ukrainian cuisine located in the centre of Moscow. The prices are moderate and the decor is made in a traditional Ukrainian style. They also have menus in different languages, and a band that plays Ukrainian songs on request. Highly suggested!
    Petrovka St., 30/7 | Pushkinskaya Metro Station

    Tripadviser rating: 4,5.

  • Гарцующий Дредноут (The Prancing Dreadnought). This art cafe offers an interesting interior and a great selection of wargames. On Friday and Saturday it is open until 6 AM! The prices on food are quite moderate, and the food is more European, however you can also find some Russian dishes, like Borscht.
    Taganskaya St., 13/3

    Tripadviser rating: 3,5.

There are also numerous international fast food joints such as Burger King or McDonald’s around the venue. There are in fact spread out all over the city, can’t miss them.

Q: Where can I stay close to the venue?

As the venue is not in the center of the city, we advise you to search for accomodation close to the venue. This area is quite and nice, and also have some sights to offer (Moscow Izmailovo Kremlin, for instance); going to the center by taking the metro is convenient too.

Moreover holders or Silver-tier sponsor tickets or higher get a promo code for a 35% room reservation discount in our Day 1 venue, Vega Hotel & Convention Center, for November 21-29 and the dates in between. The promo code should be in the email with your ticket or a separate email. If you haven’t received it, contact us via [email protected] with your ticket ID. To apply the promo code you have to reserve a room from their official website.

There are other options close to the venue: (prices displayed in euro are written according to the exchange rate of 25 of August; all the data is retrieved from Booking.com)

Medical Issues

Q: How do I get medical assistance?

If it is an emergency, you should call 112 to request an ambulance. If you require hospital care, you will be transported to the Russian hospital for free. You can also call your insurance company, and in this case the company’s representative has to contact an ambulance. Here you can find a good explanation of your options in an infographic form.

If you have a special condition, for instance, diabetes it is advised to get a comprehensive medical insurance before travelling. Furthermore, these are some informative links if you are a diabetic travelling to Russia:

Q: What type of medicine can I bring to Russia?

You can bring the medicine for personal use, even if this specific medicine is not registered in Russia. However, be careful with strong medicine, which can include narcotic or psychoactive substances.

There are regulations on bringing a certain strong medicine to Russia. Due to the Federal Law № 163-ФЗ “On amendments being made to the Article 50 of the Federal Law “On Medicine Circulation”, the medicine which contains superpotent and/or toxic substances (controlled medicines), could be brought only with a prescription from a doctor and its official (notarised) translation into Russian and should be declared at customs. This is the official list* of such substances, which is approved by the Government of the Russian Federation (* this list is in Russian, however you can google the components with the help of wikipedia and get the titles in English).

Q: What information could be useful for a person with Autism Spectrum Disorder?

First off, you should know that there will be a lounge area in the venue where you can res away from the major crowds.

Second off, in Russian culture it is uncommon to touch/kiss another person in greeting (compared to Mediterranean ones, for instance) without express permission. Men usually greet each other with a handshake, but you can always get away with just waving at a person. In addition, people usually do not talk too close to each other and it is alright not to maintain eye contact all the time during the conversation.

Other useful information

Q: Are there apps, which could be useful for the trip?

Of course, there are a few:

If you have any more questions regarding the visa, registration or other issues don’t hesitate to send them here. Same if you believe this FAQ should be expanded to cover your topic of interest.

Contact Info:

We are looking forward to seeing you at RuBronyCon!

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