Can I leave Moscow airports while on layover?

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It depends on what country you come from.

Imagine you are stuck on a layover in the Russian capital. Wouldn’t it be nice to take a ride to the city and explore local landmarks for a few hours or a day? It certainly would. But is it possible?

First things first, you don’t need to worry about anything, if you do not intend to walk out of the transit zone in the airport within 24 hours of arrival. Just shop in the duty-free and catch your flight. It’s as easy as it sounds.

Visa waivers

Things get more interesting if you want to exit the airport for some time. What you need to do in this case is to check if Russia grants a visa waiver for citizens of your country.

For example, Belorussians can freely travel to Russia without any restrictions. Citizens of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and some other territories are allowed not only to visit Russia visa-free, but also to seek a job without applying for a visa.

For shorter, non-commercial visits, the list of countries eligible for visa waiver grows

exponentially. Travelers from most of the South American countries fall into this category.

You can leave the airport and explore the Russian capital for up to 90 days (just don’t miss your flight - and remember that check-in takes time, too).

The same rules apply for citizens of Cuba, Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, and most other South American countries.

Outside of the South American continent, citizens of the Republic of South Africa, Mozambique, Thailand, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hong Kong, Macao, and several other countries enjoy a visa waiver for different periods (the shortest period being 14 days in the case of Hong Kong). Naturally, 14 days is more than enough, even if you happen to have the longest layover in the history of mankind.

Click here to see if your country has a visa-free regime with Russia. If your country is not listed, you won’t be able to walk out of the transit zone without a visa. But there is a way...

Transit visas

If you can’t find your country on the list, don’t despair. You still have a good chance to enjoy Moscow in between your flights. Apply for a transit visa.

Remember that if your layover is longer than 24 hours you must apply for a transit visa anyway. Why not turn it to your advantage?

A transit visa is valid for up to three days if you travel by air and up to 10 days if you travel by car. And it’s much easier to apply for because you don’t even need a visa invitation, just your travel papers and visa to the country of your final destination.

Having a transit visa, you may freely leave any of the Moscow airports and enjoy the beautiful capital of Russia!

Click here to see 12 remote wooden airports still in operation in Russia.

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