Guidance

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

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

There are 11 host cities:

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

The England team will be based in Repino, near St Petersburg. They 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, St Petersburg, Kazan, Rostov-on-Don, or Samara.

Travel advice

Make sure you know the latest travel advice for Russia before you go. You can sign up for email alerts to be notified of any updates before and during your trip.

Safety and security

Work is in hand between the UK and Russian police to help ensure the safety of British nationals. There have been 4 visits by the UK police to Russia in the past year, and 2 visits by Russian police to the UK in the past 9 months.

The British Embassy will have a presence on match days in all of the cities that England play a game in. British nationals needing help or advice will be able to contact consular officers by telephone 24/7.

Host cities

There will be an increased demand on flights, trains and hotels, so you should book early to avoid disappointment. For more information, visit the official tournament website.

Few of the host cities have experience of hosting international events like the World Cup, and all are in the process of building new stadiums and transport infrastructure. You should note that the distance between each of them is considerable and will involve long journeys.

Volgograd

The distance between Moscow and Volgograd is 969 km with an approximate travel time of 2 hours by plane or up to 20 hours by train. The Volgograd Arena is 6 km from the train station.

Formerly known as Stalingrad and the site of one of the pivotal battles of the Second World War, Volgograd is located in the southeast of Russia. It’s an industrial city with a population of over 1 million people, and is twinned with Coventry. There are many memorials to the Second World War (known in Russia as the Great Patriotic War), which must be treated with respect.

Find out more about Volgograd.

Nizhny Novgorod

The distance between Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod is 421km, with an approximate travel time of 1 hour 30 minutes by plane or up to 5 hours by train. The Nizhny Novgorod Stadium is close to the centre of the city on the banks of the River Volga.

Nizhny Novgorod (formerly known as Gorky) is the fifth biggest city in Russia, with a population of over 1.25 million people, and is an important historic site. Despite its size, there are only limited accommodation options.

Find out more about Nizhny Novgorod.

Kaliningrad

The distance between Moscow and Kaliningrad is 1,235km, with an approximate travel time of 2 hours by plane or up to 20 hours by train (which passes through Belarus and Lithuania). Border controls can result in delays of up to 6 hours for those travelling by road. The Kaliningrad Stadium is not within easy walking distance of the city.

Kaliningrad is a Russian enclave located on the Baltic coast between Lithuania and Poland, with a population of around 460,000 people. Until 1945 it was part of Germany, and known as Königsberg. It is a significant military site and the headquarters for the Baltic Fleet. Accommodation options will be limited.

Find out more about Kaliningrad.

Match tickets

Match tickets are sold through FIFA or national football associations. Tickets bought through unofficial means may not be valid. Ticket touts or individuals caught with forged tickets are likely to receive heavy fines.

Fan ID

You should apply for a Fan ID as soon as you have a match ticket. You will need to have your match ticket, FAN ID, and your passport to access the stadiums. You must enter the stadium using the nominated entry point on your ticket.

Your Fan ID, will act as a multi-entry and exit visa to and from Russia. You may enter Russia using your FAN ID from 4 June 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. If you intend to carry out any other activities (e.g. work or study), then you should apply for the appropriate visa through the Russian Embassy in London.

Your 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, you can get a replacement during the tournament from a distribution centre.

Entering and leaving Russia

You should make sure you’re aware of the terms and conditions attached to your FAN ID or visa before you travel to Russia. If you’re travelling through another country to get to or from Russia, make sure you check the entry requirements for that country and have any visas required.

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

You must sign a migration card on arrival, which is produced electronically 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.

If you lose your passport during the World Cup, this will affect your ability to use your match ticket and FAN ID as all 3 documents are linked. You will need to get an Emergency Travel Document. Once you obtain this, you’ll then 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.

At the matches

During the World Cup, stadiums and other venues will be protected by enhanced security measures. This will include limits on traffic as well as additional security checks.

You should use public transport to get to the stadium. Free public transport will be available to FAN ID holders. The exact routes and times will be determined by the local authorities.

Stadiums will typically be open 3 hours before kick-off. Allow yourself plenty of time to get there and to pass through the security checks. You will need to show your match ticket, FAN ID and passport to gain entry. You should then expect to pass through security screening, which will include metal detectors. Don’t bring bags into the stadium as these will be taken from you, and you will need to collect them when you leave.

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

All match venues and fan zones reserve the right to refuse entry to anyone who is intoxicated and/or disorderly. Even being mildly intoxicated can lead to being refused entry.

After the game, fans will exit the stadium on a phased release. You may be kept behind for up to an hour.

Travelling around Russia

Detailed information on air, rail and road travel in Russia can be found in our travel advice.

Air travel

There are regular scheduled flights from London to Moscow and St Petersburg. For other host cities you will need to either use internal flights or travel from a third country.

Rail travel

All railway stations have airport style security. All bags will be scanned, and passengers will need to go through detector arches.

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

Road travel

Driving is on the right hand side. Travel between cities can take a long time given the distance, heavy traffic in big cities, and poor road conditions. It is common practice for traffic police to stop motorists for spot checks. There is a zero tolerance policy towards drink-driving.

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

Registration

You’ll need to register in every host city you visit within 24 hours of arrival. This is normally done by your hotel or guest house but it’s your responsibility to make sure that this happens.

Healthcare

You should ensure you have appropriate travel insurance, even if you’re only coming for one match. Insurance can save you a lot of money if you get into difficulties. Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is not valid in Russia.

Emergencies

Emergency services: Call 112 from any phone.

Ambulance: Call 103 from any mobile phone or 03 from any landline.

Consular assistance: Contact the British Embassy in Moscow on +7 495 956 7200. If you’re in the UK and are concerned about someone in Russia, call the FCO in London on 020 7008 1500.

Tips

  • During the tournament, there will be official English speaking volunteers in each one of the host cities available to help visitors.
  • 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 meet any expenses. 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 (12 June) is a public holiday, and some service providers may be closed. You should 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? – “kak 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?”
Published 23 June 2017
Last updated 6 April 2018 + show all updates
  1. Guidance refreshed and information on host cities updated.
  2. Added in new section
  3. New sections added on host cities where the England team will play
  4. Added in section about 'At the matches'
  5. update to passport information
  6. First published.