TIGHT SECURITY AT THE FWC
Safety and security are reaching unprecedented levels, and fans and professionals travelling to Russia will be met by an array of regulations.
Anybody holding a match ticket has to apply for a Fan ID online. Once registered, fans from abroad are visa exempt, which will save them a lot of time and money.
At the border post, immigration officials will stamp the passport and hand over an immigration card the size of the passport.
Russia’s government wants to know about the movements of visitors from abroad and has introduced a strict registration system, which might lead to some frustration. Hotels are obliged to make copies of each page of the foreigners’ passport and to supply the local authorities with this information. As most hotels in Moscow, St Petersburg and the other host cities will be fully booked during the World Cup, this process will certainly cause delays. Visitors need to be patient, and it will be best to leave the passport at reception and collect it again later.
In the meantime, the hotel will prepare a grey registration form with a stamp and seal. Guests should treat this registration form like a passport. Foreigners have to be in possession of this document at all times. It is unclear what will happen to them if they are checked by police and can’t show it.
Anyone planning on travelling around Russia should be notified. When checking in at a new hotel, visitors have to present the registration form from their previous hotel. Without the form, the new hotel is not allowed to check in the guest. Whether this is practical remains to be seen.
It is important to note that the same registration process applies to foreigners who have rented an apartment or are staying with friends. They also have to be registered, in this case by the landlord.
Journalists are not exempt either. They have to apply for permission when filming anywhere other than at the World Cup venues.
Russian authorities are well-known for their no-nonsense attitudes. The best thing is to inform yourself about the regulations and adhere to them. Then you will be able to relax, and your FWC experience can become a festive affair.