Be on the Ball: World Cup 2018

Guidance and tips for fans travelling to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

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Tournament schedule and host cities

The 2018 FIFA World Cup will take place in Russia from 14 June to 15 July 2018.

There are 11 host cities:

  • Moscow
  • St Petersburg
  • Kazan
  • Sochi
  • Rostov-on-Don
  • Saransk
  • Samara
  • Volgograd
  • Nizhny Novgorod
  • Kaliningrad
  • Ekaterinburg

For more information on all host cities, visit the official tournament website. You should carry out research for each city that you plan to visit.

England has been drawn in Group G and will play Tunisia in Volgograd on 18 June, Panama in Nizhny Novgorod on 24 June, and Belgium in Kaliningrad on 28 June.

Should England progress beyond the group stages, they could play in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Rostov-on-Don, Kazan, or Samara. For more information on those cities, check out the FIFA website.

The full tournament schedule can be found on the FIFA World Cup website.

The geographical distance between some of the cities is vast, so plan your travel and accommodation well in advance.


Volgograd, formerly known as Stalingrad, is located in the southeast of Russia. The dominant feature of the city is the sculpture The Motherland Calls, commemorating the battle of Stalingrad, which was a turning point in the course of World War II. Volgograd is an industrial city with a population over 1,000,000 people. It is twinned with Coventry.

Distance between Moscow and Volgograd is 969km. Approximate travel time to Volgograd is 2 hours by plane or up to 20 hours by train.

Find out more about Volgograd.

Nizhny Novgorod

Nizhny Novgorod is the fifth biggest city in Russia with a population over 1,250,000 people. It was founded in 1221 at the confluence of the rivers Oka and Volga. Between 1932 and 1990 it was known as Gorky, and between 1959 and 1990 it was the largest closed city in the former Soviet Union. Andrei Sakharov, the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, was subject to internal exile here for his human rights work. Nowadays tourists come to Nizhny Novgorod to admire magnificent monasteries and the iconic carved window frames on the city streets.

The distance between Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod is 421km, meaning that the approximate travel time to Nizhny Novgorod is 1.5 hours by plane or between 3 to 5 hours by train.

Find out more about Nizhny Novgorod.


Kaliningrad is a Russian enclave located on the Baltic coast between Lithuania and Poland. Until 1945 it was part of Germany, and known as Konigsberg. It is the hometown of the philosopher Immanuel Kant. The Soviet Baltic Fleet was stationed here, and because of this the city was closed to foreigners. The population of the city is roughly 460,000 people.

The distance between Moscow and Kaliningrad is 1235km, meaning that the approximate travel time to the city is 2 hours by plane or up to 20 hours by train (which passes through Belarus and Lithuania).

Find out more about Kaliningrad.


You must get a Fan-ID before you travel to Russia to attend any of the World Cup matches.

The Fan-ID will allow you to access the stadium, enter and exit Russia, and apply for free train travel on selected trains during the tournament.

You should apply for a Fan-ID as soon as you have an official ticket bought either through the FIFA website or a national Football Association. The FAN ID replaces the need for a separate visa and are non interchangeable. Only tickets purchased either through the FIFA website or a national Football Association are likely to be valid.

As a Fan-ID holder, you’ll be entitled to a multi-entry and exit visa to and from Russia for the period 1 June to 17 July 2018. In order to access any of the stadiums during the FIFA World Cup, you’ll need to have a valid match ticket, FAN ID, and your passport. You should take steps to keep all of these documents safe.

If your Fan-ID is lost or stolen, you can get a duplicate from one of the Fan-ID distribution centres. You can also replace your Fan-ID at one of the distribution centres if it has a technical error.

Fan-ID allows you to enter Russia only for the World Cup. If you intend to work or study in Russia during the tournament, this is not covered by the Fan-ID. You should apply for the appropriate visa through the Russian Embassy.

The official tournament website has further information on how the Fan-ID system works.

Passports and visas

If you haven’t bought an official ticket in advance of your trip, you’ll need to apply for a visa to enter Russia.

Before you travel to Russia, make sure that you’re aware of the terms and conditions attached to either your Fan-ID or visa.

More than 50 British nationals overstayed their visa in 2017. You will be denied exit at airports/seaports if you attempt to leave the country on an expired visa. 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 a visa extension, you should ask about this before your visa expires.

Make sure you apply for the correct type of visa, and that it lasts for the length of your stay. For further information on the visa process, see the Russian Embassy website and the VFS Global website which manages visa applications on behalf of the Russian Embassy.

On entering Russia, you must sign a migration card, which is produced electronically at passport control. The card is in 2 identical parts. One part will be retained by the Immigration Officer on arrival. You should keep the other part with your passport as you’ll need this when you leave Russia.

Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months after the expiry date of your visa or your Fan-ID.

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

If you’re transiting another country en route to or from Russia, make sure you check the entry requirements for that country and have the relevant visa.

If you lose your passport, you’ll need to get an Emergency Travel Document from either the British Embassy in Moscow or the British Consulate General in St Petersburg.

The fee for an Emergency Travel Document is £100. You’ll need to apply separately for an exit visa from the Russian Government at an additional cost. The British Embassy or Consulate General can advise you on the process.

If you lose your original passport during the World Cup, this will affect your ability to use your match ticket and Fan-ID as all 3 documents are linked.

Registration and accommodation

You’ll need to register in every host city you visit within 24 hours of arrival.

The registration is normally done by your hotel or guest house, but it’s your responsibility to make sure that this has been done.

Book accommodation in advance, and check that your hotel has registered your stay.


Ensure you have appropriate travel insurance

The European Health Insurance card (EHIC) isn’t valid in Russia, so travel insurance is essential – even if you’re only coming for one match. Insurance can save you a lot of money if you get into difficulties.

Make sure your insurance policy covers you for any activities you plan to do.

Travelling around Russia

All of the 11 host cities are located in the west of Russia, but the distances between some cities are vast. Make sure you plan your journeys between cities carefully.

You should make transport and accommodation plans as early as possible for the games you plan to attend. There will be an increased demand on flights, trains and hotels, so book early to avoid disappointment.

Free public transport (excluding taxis) will be available to Fan-ID holders in the cities hosting the FIFA World Cup on the days of matches along the routes of the events. The exact routes will be determined by the local authorities. During the tournament, use public transport to get to the stadium. No private vehicles will be allowed near to the stadiums. There will be a limited number of public parking spaces close to stadiums for match ticket holders in exceptional circumstances, for example if the ticket holder has told the organising authorities in advance of a pre-existing mobility issue.

Air travel

There are regular scheduled flights from London to Moscow and St Petersburg. If you’re travelling to 1 of the other 9 host cities by either train or plane you should make bookings well in advance.

Rail travel

Holders of an official match ticket and Fan-ID can apply for free train travel on selected trains between FIFA World Cup host cities during the tournament. Transport 2018 provides details of how to register for selected trains. Tickets will be issued on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.

If you are travelling by overnight train in a sleeping compartment, store valuables in the container under the bed or seat. Don’t leave your sleeping compartment unoccupied as some compartments only have a simple lock on the sliding door. On some trains there may be an additional security device, which can be attached to the fitted handle/lock unit. There may also be a steel switch at head-height on the door panel which, when pulled down, prevents the closed door from being slid open.

Don’t agree to look after the luggage of a fellow traveller or allow it to be stored in your compartment.

Road travel

Driving is on the right hand side. Travel between cities by road and rail can take a long time and traffic can be heavy in big cities.

Road conditions are often poor, especially outside the major cities. The standard speed limit for built-up areas is 60km/h (37mph), outside built-up areas 90km/h (55mph) and 100km/h (62mph) on motorways. It is common practice for traffic police to stop motorists for spot checks. There is a zero tolerance policy towards drink-driving.

According to Russian law, children under 12 must always ride in child safety seats or special booster seats in any car, including a taxi. The fine for breaking this law is around £40. Other laws that apply to taxi passengers include fastening seat belts, and not exiting a car until it’s come to a stop.

As a visitor, you can drive in Russia using a valid UK driving licence. If possible, get a notarised Russian translation. In order to drive a vehicle into Russia you will need to provide the following documents:

  • car registration
  • valid insurance document
  • driving licence
  • passport

Contact the Russian Embassy in London if you have more detailed questions about bringing a vehicle in to the country.

Match tickets

Tickets bought through any unofficial means may not be valid. Tickets in themselves aren’t sufficient to enter a stadium. A Fan-ID will be linked to the each ticket.

Ticket touts and individuals caught with forged tickets are likely to receive heavy fines.

Safety and security

Work is in hand between UK and Russian police to help ensure the safety of British supporters. This has included the visit of the UK police to Russia in March 2017 and Russian police to the UK in June 2017, and continues in the run up to the tournament.

From 1 June to 17 July 2018 stadiums and other venues associated with FIFA World Cup 2018 will be protected by enhanced security measures. This will include limits on traffic movement in host cities and additional security checks close to stadium.

At the matches

The British Embassy will have a presence on match days in all of the cities that England play a game in. The role of the Embassy team is to support British nationalities in difficulty; for example if they have lost their passport. The team can be contacted for assistance while in Russia through the British Embassy in Moscow, the British Consulate in St Petersburg or the British Consulate in Ekaterinburg.

Allow yourself plenty of time to get to the ground, and to go through security checks and searches. Stadiums will typically be open 3 hours before kick-off. You should expect to pass through screening areas, including metal detectors. Don’t bring bags into the stadium – these will likely be taken from you, to be collected at the end of the match.

Licensed food and drink refreshments will be available within the match venues (including alcohol).

All match venues and fan zones reserve the right to refuse entry to anyone who is intoxicated and/or disorderly. Licensing laws are strictly enforced; even being mildly intoxicated can lead to being refused entry.

A full list of prohibited items and consumables at match venues and fan zones can be found on the official tournament website. Prohibited items include:

  • alcohol
  • drugs
  • weapons
  • materials of an extremist, offensive, or discriminatory nature
  • food and non alcoholic beverages
  • any liquids in containers larger than 100ml
  • glass containers and bottles
  • cans
  • flags and banners larger than 2 by 1.5m
  • musical instruments
  • professional camera/video/audio equipment

When a match is finished, fans will exit the stadium on a phased release for the purpose of crowd control and safety. You may be kept behind for up to an hour.

In an emergency

To call a public ambulance, dial 103 from any mobile phone, 03 from any landline, or 112 for emergency services.

For consular assistance, contact the Embassy in Moscow or the Consulate in St Petersburg.

British Embassy Moscow

Smolenskaya Naberezhnaya 10
121099 Moscow

  • Telephone number + 7 495 956 7200 (also for out of hours emergencies)
  • Office hours: Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

British Consulate General in St Petersburg

5 Pl. Proletarskoy Diktatury
St Petersburg 191124

  • Telephone number +7 812 3203200 (also for out of hours emergencies).

For more information, please visit British Embassy Moscow website.


  • during the tournament, there will be official volunteers in each one of the host cities available to help visitors in English
  • most major high street banks and currency exchange providers in the UK can pre-order roubles (Russian currency). If you plan to buy roubles in Russia, you should take US dollars or Euros to exchange. Only change money at banks, hotels and airport exchange bureaus. It is an offence to change money from street traders
  • let your credit/debit card provider know where you’re going to avoid your card being blocked for anti-fraud reasons
  • most hotels, restaurants and larger shops accept credit cards. There are ATMs in most major cities. Travellers’ cheques are not widely accepted
  • while Moscow and St. Petersburg have ATMs and cash exchange points at major airports, other host cities may not. It is advisable to have the cash equivalent of some £200 in Russian roubles with you to pay for the taxi from the airport to your hotel, as taxi drivers are unlikely to accept bank cards
  • during the tournament, the sale of alcohol at events associated with the tournament may be restricted. The sale and consumption of alcohol in glass containers will be banned on the evening and day of matches in certain locations in host cities. The sale of alcohol from shops is restricted, typically from 11pm to 8am (10pm to 11am in St Petersburg)
  • check with your mobile phone provider to make sure your phone will work, and store useful numbers in your phone, such as the British Embassy and the local emergency service numbers. To obtain a local SIM card, you may be required to provide your passport
  • tell a friend or relative about your travel plans. Give them some idea of your itinerary if possible and an emergency contact number
  • Russia Day is a public holiday due to be held on 12 June. Some service providers may be closed during this time, so please ensure you have adequate stocks of prescription medicines or any other items you may need

Useful phrases

  • 1 – “adin”
  • 2 – “dva”
  • 3 – “tri”
  • thank you – “spasiba”
  • hello – “zdrastvuite”
  • bye – “da svidania”
  • please – “pazhalusta”
  • what is your name? – “lak vas zovut?”
  • my name is… – “menya zovut…”
  • entrance/exit – “vkhod/vykhod”
  • please help me – “pazhalusta pomogite mne”
  • bus – “avtobus”
  • train – “poezd”
  • metro – “metro”
  • police – “politsiya”
  • I don’t speak Russian – “Ya ne gavaryu pa-russki”
  • do you speak English? – “vy gavarite pa-angliyski?”
  • what is your Wi-Fi password? – “kakoy u vas parol ot vay-fai?”

Further information

Published 23 June 2017
Last updated 15 February 2018 + show all updates
  1. New sections added on host cities where the England team will play
  2. Added in section about 'At the matches'
  3. update to passport information
  4. First published.