The much-awaited FIFA World Cup 2018 is about to start within a few days time in Russia. The entire world has been waiting with baited breath for the tournament, in which 32 teams would battle for the coveted trophy. While hosts of people from different nations would be travelling to Russia to watch the matches which would be held between June 14 and July 15, they need to heed the official briefings issued by their governments back at home.
Though Russia welcomes visitors with alacrity, there have been numerous instances when people have had unsavory experiences. So, here is a list of certain aspects which everyone ought to keep in mind before travelling to Moscow at this time of the year:
Red Tapism: Make sure that your passport is valid for a minimum period of 6 months after the expiry of your visa. The Russian police have the authority to intercept the foreign tourists at any point during their stay in that country. So, if there are any discrepancies related to your travel documents, then you might land into a mire of tribulations including a speedy deportation. It is mandatory for all to have a Fan ID, which would serve as a special permit for the spectators of the tournament. Also, it would allow multiple entries and exits for all the visitors between June 14 and July 15. All the Fan IDs would lose their validity post July 24. Tourists are debarred from entry to Russia via Belarus. Moreover, if you intend to travel to Russia by road, then plan your route through some other country. Make sure you sign your passport before starting your journey. Otherwise, the chances of immediate deportation are imminent. Also, it is mandatory to register in every host city within 24 hours after arrival.
Things to Declare: The Russian authorities do not impede any visitor from carrying his or her laptop into the country. It is, however, mandatory for the tourists to get their electronic devices checked during departure. The Russian officials leave no stones unturned, and they even inspect the installed software in every laptop or smartphone with impunity. In case, you are on a particular medication, then carry a doctor’s letter with yourself. Also, a notary’s translated letter in the Russian language is imperative to testify your physician’s letter. In case, you plan to collect antiques, samovars, medals, rugs or artwork, then make sure to buy such items from authorized dealers’ shops. All the same, the Russian authorities would insist on reviewing certificates, which would endorse the fact that the goods you intend to carry out of the country are not of any historical or cultural value.
Racism: Though Russia is a friendly country, there has been a spate of violent outbursts against people from different ethnic groups of late. Groups of ultra-nationalists and Neo-Nazis occasionally organize rallies and demonstrations, in order to fan hatred against the Asians, Africans and Caucasians. Planned and vituperative assaults against foreigners have been reported a number of times, and in certain cases the victims have succumbed to their injuries.
Match Report: It is mandatory to buy the tickets through authorized sources. Besides, your ticket needs to be linked with a Fan ID. Otherwise, you would be banned from entering the stadium. Also, you need to carry your passport along with your Fan ID and ticket. Keep them safe with yourself. Bottles and cans are strictly prohibited. Do not risk carrying a large amount of loose cash. If the Russian police happen to confiscate your money, then chances of retrieving the same are dim.
Accessibility Issues: People with physical disabilities have harrowing experiences while commuting from one place to another. The narrow sidewalks alongside the roads impede smooth movement for everyone, and there are practically no elevators for the old and disabled. One has to use the steep ramps and staircases as pedestrian underpasses to cross the roads. Though mobility is comparatively feasible in the big cities like St. Petersburg and Moscow, the metro services are not accessible to the disabled. Even the buses do not have facilities to accommodate, and facilitate such people.
Safety: While taking guided tours through the iconic Red Square, the Kremlin, people need to be wary of the local pickpockets. Ensure that your passport or valuables do not get targeted by larceny.
Curbs on Liquor: Alcohol consumption is banned in the stadiums. Besides, the sale of alcohol is restricted between 11 am and 8 pm. Drinking while driving results in legal confinement.
Climate: There are occasional heat waves during the months of June and July. Hence, people ought to carry a number of light clothes at this time of the year. Also, it is advisable to carry plenty of water before going outdoors.