World Cup 2018: How England fans can get a tourist visa for Russia 

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England are about to play in their first World Cup semi-final in 28 years. 

If you are planning a last minute trip to Moscow to watch the Three Lions take on Croatia and have managed to bag a ticket or a flight you still need a travel visa to get into Russia. 

England fans are flocking to Russia for the semi-final. Picture: Tim Goode/ PA Wire.

England fans are flocking to Russia for the semi-final. Picture: Tim Goode/ PA Wire.

Normally tourists are advised that it takes around 20 business days (four weeks) to process visa applications, so you should leave plenty of time before your trip, but fortunately special arrangements are in place for the World Cup. 

If you have managed to get a ticket for the semi-final tomorrow you will be able to apply for FAN ID which will act as an entry and exit visa for fans travelling to Russia for the World Cup. 

You may enter Russia using your FAN ID until 15 July and you must leave by 25 July. Your FAN ID will only allow you to enter Russia to attend the World Cup.

FAN ID also enables you to apply for free train travel on selected trains during the tournament.

If your FAN ID is lost, stolen or has a technical error, or requires lamination you can get a replacement during the tournament from a distribution centre.

You will need to have your match ticket and a laminated FAN ID to access the stadiums. You must enter the stadium using the nominated entry point on your ticket.

If you intend to travel to the World Cup and don’t have a FAN ID, or if you intend to carry out any other activities (e.g. work or study) during your visit, then you will need to apply for the appropriate visa through the Russian Embassy in London.

If you have a FAN ID, then your passport should be valid throughout the period of your visit. If you are travelling with a visa, then your passport must have a minimum period of 6 months validity after the expiry date of your visa.

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If you’re travelling on a British passport issued since January 2017, you should make sure you’ve signed your passport with a black pen before you travel. Some British nationals who haven’t signed their new passports have been denied entry into Russia.

You must sign an immigration card every time you arrive in Russia. This will be given to you at passport control. The card is in 2 identical parts. One part will be retained by the Immigration Officer. You should keep the other part safe as you’ll need to submit this at passport control when you leave Russia. There are many hotels and hostels that will not accept guests without an immigration card. You can also be fined and your departure from Russia could be delayed.

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If your passport is lost or stolen during the World Cup, then you will need to obtain a police report from the nearest police station and get an Emergency Travel Document. Once you obtain these, then you will need to apply for a new FAN ID. If you don’t have a FAN ID, then you’ll need to apply for an exit visa to leave Russia.

You will not be able to leave Russia if your FAN ID or visa has expired. In some cases, you may be required to pay a fine, be banned from returning to Russia, or have to attend a court hearing. If you need to extend your stay, you should enquire about this before your FAN ID or visa expires.

Flights are available from London Gatwick airport to Moscow – but better act quick to make sure you arrive in time for the game!