With the exception of some commercial cruise ship passengers (see below), Australian citizens must obtain a visa before entering Russia. Australians attending a 2018 FIFA World Cup match can enter Russia using their Fan ID (presented with a valid passport), which will act as a multi-entry visa for the duration of the tournament.Australians not attending 2018 FIFA World Cup matches must obtain the appropriate visa before entering Russia.

Special visa-free entry permissions apply to travellers who arrive by commercial cruise ships that dock for less than 72 hours in some port cities, including St Petersburg.

Visa-free entry permissions allow you to disembark for short periods as part of an officially recognised tour organised by a cruise company or registered tour operator.

If you're travelling between Russia and Belarus, you must obtain visas for both countries.

For information on Belarusian visas, contact the Embassy of Belarus in Canberra.

Some visas, including tourist visas, can't be extended.

If you overstay your visa, you won't be allowed to leave Russia until the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs determines your legal status or an order is issued to deport you.

If you lose your migration card, a replacement can be requested from the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs but this could delay your departure and involve significant costs.

In 2017, the Russian Government announced plans to introduce biometric fingerprinting for all foreigners entering Russia. Adults travelling with children may be required to show evidence of parental, custodial and/or access rights on arrival, particularly in the case of dual nationals. The importation of electrical and some high technology equipment is strictly controlled.

If provided a migration card in paper form, keep the stamped exit portion of the card with your passport, as you'll need to provide it to passport control on your departure.

The migration card is electronic at most international airports but in smaller airports you will need to complete it manually. Retain the stamped migration card as you'll need to present it when exiting the last of the two countries visited.

Discuss your travel plans with your cruise operator well in advance of travel and check whether you need to obtain a Russian visa.