I recently visited Russia as a tourist traveling from Qatar. Russia is an amazing & affordable destination; an intoxicating blend of historic culture and lively modernity. I was captivated by the candy-shop colours of Moscow’s St Basil’s Cathedral, and the sheer scale of the imposing museums in St. Petersburg. If you are interested in traveling to Russia as a resident of Qatar, this guide will help you to plan your trip!
I am linking my comprehensive guide to planning a trip to Russia including accommodation options, navigation advice & my itinerary. If you would like a behind the scenes look at what I got up to in Russia as a solo female traveller, please consult my Russia highlight on Instagram!
Background information: I have a South African passport with a valid Qatar ID and received 2 doses of the vaccine. I returned to Doha 16 days after the 2nd dose was administered. Please check the exact requirements for your nationality by confirming with the Russian embassy. This post was accurate & true based on my experiences traveling in April 2021.
Planning your trip
Russia is currently only allowing citizens and residents of 26 countries to enter. Qatar is one of them. Please check this OFFICIAL LINK for the full list to see if you’re eligible.
That means if you have citizenship from a country not currently allowed to travel to Russia but you hold residency in a country that is, YOU CAN STILL ENTER RUSSIA.
You MUST fly directly from the allowed country- NO LAYOVERS- in order to be allowed entry. I flew with Qatar Airways. You can return to Doha on any airline (I used Turkish Airlines & booked 2 one way flights).
Russia requires a negative result on a PCR test taken no earlier than 72 hours prior to departure to avoid quarantine. The result must be printed and in English.
If you need a Russian visa, you will need to apply for that in advance from the Russian embassy in West Bay. Their website can be found here to check details. South Africans do not need a visa for Russia & can stay for 90 days visa free so I have no experience doing this.
Russia requires medical insurance for each traveller. There are many conditions to be met. The full list can be found here. I used this insurance from AXA which cost me 130QAR for 7 days.
Since my citizenship didn’t match the country allowed into Russia (Qatar), I had to present my valid QID along with my passport when I landed in Moscow. They will spend a long time checking your documents. Be prepared!
You only need a negative covid test before landing in Qatar if your airline requires it. Check directly with the airline. Turkish Airlines did not require it. All arrivals are tested at Hamad International Airport.
Print your exceptional entry permit (you will receive the SMS as soon as you depart Doha) to have when checking in for your flight back to Qatar. I made multiple copies & took photos on my phone because I am paranoid. I also printed my vaccination certificate from my Hamad Health Portal.
Coming back ‘home’ was smooth with these items as well as my QID. At Hamad International Airport, follow the queue for vaccinated individuals and remember to provide proof of the vaccine. This can be your downloaded vaccination certificate or your vaccination card. I did not quarantine in Doha because I tested negative.
If you are not vaccinated, you will need a hotel booking unless you are medically exempt and are eligible for the 7 day home quarantine.
Just to repeat, if you need help planning your trip or wondering what to do or see, please consult my detailed guide to planning trip to Russia.