On the 1st of July 2019, Russia has slightly changed his visa policy. It is now easier to visit a region called Kaliningrad thanks to the introduction of the Kaliningrad E-Visa. It is an area of significant historical importance, as it was part of Germany until 1945 under the name of Königsberg. The specificity of this region is that it’s not connected to the rest of Russia, instead it is sandwiched between Lithuania and Poland, with an opening on the Baltic Sea. It is what we call an exclave.
What you will find in this article :
A step-by-step guide on how to get an E-Visa for Kaliningrad.
I have gotten a visa in July 2019 and visited Kaliningrad for 3 days in August 2019. I have a French passport. My wife and my son have a Hong Kong passport and therefore they didn’t need a visa to visit Russia.
How to get an E-Visa for Kaliningrad
Before the 1st of July 2019, a traveler wanting to visit Kaliningrad needed to get a proper Russian visa (if he wasn’t eligible for a visa-free entry of course). Therefore this region has been overlooked by travelers for a long time due to how hard it can be to get a Russian visa.
Step 1 : Are you eligible for the Kaliningrad E-Visa ?
First you can have a look at the visa policy of Russia, most nationals need a visa except some ex-Soviet countries and Latin Americans. This is the list of foreign nationals who can apply for the Kaliningrad E-Visa, 53 nationalities are eligible, and that include EU citizens, Chinese, Indian, Filipino, Japanese and Korean citizens as well.
What are the terms and conditions for this E-Visa ?
- A Kaliningrad E-Visa is valid for 30 days after the date of issuance. Don’t plan to long in advance !
- You can apply for an E-Visa at most 20 days and at least 4 days before the intending date of entrance.
- Unlike the Russian tourist visa, this E-Visa is not date specific.
- Once you enter Kaliningrad, you’ll be able to stay for at most 8 days in the region.
- You can use this E-Visa whether you arrive by air, by land and even by boat.
- The E-Visa is free of charge.
In my case I applied for this E-Visa 12 days before. I got the confirmation of my E-Visa 48 hours later, and I received my E-Visa documents one day later. I entered through a land border with Lithuania and exited through another land border with Poland.
Step 2 : You are eligible ? Great, this is how to apply.
You need to apply for a Kaliningrad E-Visa through the official website of the Russian government. It is only available in English or Russian.
Fill your nationality, and then select Kaliningrad Oblast. Make sure you read the rules underneath to avoid any potential problem.
You have to fill with all your information. There are 6 pages to fill, including Personal details, Visit details, Documents details, Contacts and occupation, Relatives details and Photos. The first five pages can be all completed in a total of 5 minutes.
These are a few tricky points :
Intended places of stay in the Russian Federation : You’ll need to enter details of a hotel or an individual. It doesn’t need to be true. We were Couchsurfing in Kaliningrad, and we just entered details of a random hostel in this case and we didn’t have any problem.
Do you have a permanent residential address? / Do you work (study) in the present time?
You can choose yes or no for these questions. If you do say yes then you’ll need to enter more details. I chose no for both questions and it wasn’t a problem.
Upload a photo
That’s the part which takes more time. You need to upload an ID photo. You can take your own picture at home with a plain background and it will be fine.
Double-check your info, submit and wait a couple of days !
Once you have filled these 6 pages, you’ll be able to proofread the information you entered. Make sure everything is ok and click submit. A few days later you should receive a confirmation.
Step 3 : Receiving the confirmation
This confirmation and your passport are all you need to enter Kaliningrad. You can print it, and show it to the border guard when you enter. In my case I just had this confirmation on my mobile and it worked well. I quickly filled a paper at the border and then they proceeded to stamp my passport.
And this is it, enjoy your stay in Kaliningrad !