Is it safe to travel to Russia? Advice for British tourists travelling to the World Cup
A flurry of tourists will flock to Russia for the World Cup, which is taking place from June 14 to July 15.
The tournament is a joyous occasion where 32 teams will compete to become the top team.
However, heightened political tensions due to the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal has put Brits on edge.
In 2016 around 170,000 Brits visited Russia – but many more are expected to flock to the country for the tournament.
Football fans are being advised to stay out of trouble and follow the rules and regulations of the country.
Is it safe to travel to Russia? British tourists go for World Cup action
“We wouldnt expect people to come across to this country, get drunk and drape flags on the Cenotaph so we need to extend the same courtesy when we go abroad and treat places with due reverence”
Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts
Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts, national lead for football policing, said: “We wouldnt expect people to come across to this country, get drunk and drape flags on the Cenotaph so we need to extend the same courtesy when we go abroad and treat places with due reverence.”
Most of Brits who travel to Russia do so without trouble, so there is no reason to panic.
However, The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) encourage Brits to be “good guests” and to “do their research before they travel to understand local laws and customs”.
World Cups are mostly trouble-free events, and there is a large amount of cooperation between the UK and Russian police to ensure safety.
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Is it safe to travel to Russia?
It is safe to travel to Russia – if you follow certain precautions.
There are certain areas in Russia the FCO advises against travelling to.
It is not advised to be within six miles of the border with the Ukrainian Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts.
Other areas you should avoid are Chechnya, Ingushetia, Dagestan and the districts of Budyonnovsky, Levokumsky, Neftekumsky, Stepnovsky and Kursk in Stavropol Krai.
The warning also encompasses all but essential travel to North Ossetia, Karachai-Cherkassia and Kabardino-Balkaria.
WORLD CUP: The tournament kicks off today
You should also try to stay at least six miles away from the border with Ukrainian Kharkiv Oblast.
The FCO has put together travel and safety tips for when it comes to traveling to Russia for the World Cup.
This travel section, titled Be on the Ball, will give more advice on visas, healthcare and security.
That said, the safety of British tourists is extremely important to the government.
British police will be stationed in Russia for the World Cup.
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There will also be enhances security measured at the stadiums.
This sets limits on traffic and extra security checks.
According to the website Safe Around, Russia has an overall high crime rate, but there is no need to panic if you are careful.
Tourists have previously been targets for petty crime, for example in St Petersburg – therefore travellers have been advised to avoid carrying expensive objects.
Also look after your passport and be vigilant in crowded areas.
If anything unexpected should happen, you should go to a place of safety and follow local instructions.
If you need help during your stay you can contact the consular officers by calling +7 495 956 7200 (in Russia) or 020 7008 1500 (from the UK).
WORLD CUP: The Foreign Office has issued travel advice for those travelling to Russia
Here are some of the essential things you need to know before you go:
• Your passport needs to be valid for a minimum of six months after the expiry date of your visa or Fan-ID (special permit for people will World Cup tickets)
• Your Fan-ID is important because it will act as a multi-entry and exit visa from Russia
• The ID will also give you free train travel on selected trains
• You will need to sign a migration card with is produced electronically at passport control
• Bring only the bare minimum of electrical devices you need
• Only exchange money at banks, hotels and recognised exchange branches
• People with unofficial tickets will be prohibited from entering the stadium