Philippine passport holders rejoice! Russia has just released a list of countries that can visit, visa-free. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation recently gave a list of 53 countries that are allowed to visit the Kaliningrad Region, which includes the Philippines:
- China (including Taiwan)
- Korean People’ Democratic Republic
- The Netherlands
- Saudi Arabia
- North Macedonia
- The Philippines
- The Czech Republic
Important things to take note of
Before you start booking your tickets to Russia, here are some important things you need to know.
Russian Visa Type
The visa type offered by Russia to the countries listed above, including the Philippines, is limited to:
- Single Entry Business
All of these visa types are single-entry. If you need a multiple-entry visa, either for tourism, business, or humanitarian purposes, you need to apply for the applicable visa through the Russian Consular Office in Manila. Here’s the address and contact details in case you need to reach them.
A working visa in Russia for Filipinos also need to be applied at the Russian Embassy in Manila.
Ok, there’s something that needs a little bit of clarification. Visa-free doesn’t mean you don’t need a visa. Every country needs a visa. If you go to Singapore for example, they’ll still issue a visa but they’ll do that at the immigration counter. In the case of Russia, you still need to apply for a visa but you only need to apply online using the e-visa application website. No need to go through a travel agency or go to the Russian Embassy office. The process is quick and simple, just go to the e-visa application website and fill out the application form. The best thing about it is that it’s FREE!
The visa is valid only for travel to the Kaliningrad Region. If you specifically need to go to other parts of the Russian Federation, you need to apply for a visa at the Russian Embassy.
Since you’re only allowed to stay at the Kaliningrad Region, your entry and exit points are limited to:
- Khrabrovo Airport (air border checkpoint Kaliningrad)
- Kaliningrad, Baltiysk and Svetly Ports (maritime border checkpoint Kaliningrad)
- Mamonovo and Sovetsk Train Stations (railway border checkpoints)
If you’re traveling to Russia as a tourist, specially for the first time, this visa should be perfectly fine. There’s a lot of things to see, food to try, and history to learn at the Kaliningrad Region that you’ll easily use up your length of stay.
Speaking of the length of stay…
Russian Visa Validity
The Russian visa you’ll get through the e-visa application is valid for 30-days and you’re permitted to stay in Russia for a maximum of 8 days from the date of entry. This means that you need to enter Russia within 30-days of issue and when you get to Russia, you can stay up to 8-days after which you need to fly back to the Philippines (or to your own home country if you’re reading this as a non-Filipino).
Best Places to Visit in Kaliningrad
The great thing about visiting Russia is that it’s so different from what we’re used to in the Philippines. The architecture is different, the food delicious, and everything just looks foreign to us from the East. Here’s a list of a few things you could expect if you visit Kaliningrad.
Museum of Russian Superstition
Even if you’re not the superstitious kind, like us, it’s still fascinating to know the different superstitious beliefs that each culture holds. The Museum of Russian Superstition catalogs the different superstitions beliefs that the Russian people have held over the years. So if you want to learn more about mythical creatures like Baba Yaga then this place is a must visit.
The Bunker Museum retells its story as the headquarters of the German army during World War II. This is the oldest museum in the city which started collecting its exhibits in 1946. Make sure to add this to your itinerary to learn more about the rich history of Kaliningrad.
Lunch at Khmel’
Your visit to Russia would not be complete without trying traditional Russian cuisine. And the best place to try in in Kaliningrad is at Khmel’. Aside from having the local cuisine, make sure to pair your dish with the local beer.
Kaliningrad City Jazz Festival
In case you’re heading to Russia around the end of July or early August, make sure to catch the Kaliningrad City Jazz Festival. This is a 3-day open-air music festival where singers and musicians from all over Europe head to Kaliningrad for an all-out music performance.
This is the perfect place for you to end a tiring day of sightseeing. The area is full of restored old-style buildings and is a great place to just relax, have a nice seafood meal and watch the people pass by.
This is a just a small list of things to do but a quick Google search would give you more exciting things to see and experience at Kaliningrad Russia.
Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)
- How long does it take to get your visa to Russia through the online form?
- The application process can take up to four (4) days before you can get the results.
- How do I apply for a Russian Visa through the E-Visa website?
- First, go to the Russian E-Visa Application website. In case you go to the website and everything is in Cyrillic, don’t panic. Just click on the English link on the upper-right hand corner of the page to translate everything to English. If you’re using Chrome, you might be asked to translate to English. Do not use that and use the English form provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Consular Department.
- The application process is fairly straight forward so just follow the instructions and you should be good to go.
- Is it possible to check the status of my e-visa application?
- Yes, you can go to the E-Visa Status Check website to verify the status of your application.
- Can I get denied if I apply through the Russian E-Visa Application Process?
- Short answer, yes. However, this would most likely only happen if the Russian Embassy has a strong reason to prevent you from coming to the country. This can happen with any country including our neighboring visa-free countries like Singapore and Hong Kong.
- Remember that the Russian E-visa application is free so there’s really very little to lose if you get denied your application.
So, what do you think? Would this announcement put Russia in your bucket list? If you have any questions or comments, let’s discuss in the comments section below.