Tips for visiting Kaliningrad Region / Russia (UPDATED!)

Arrival and departure with the boat

  • Baltijsk is the only harbour with regular border and customs clearance for foreign boats. It is therefore always the first and last port of call. International boats may approach Baltijsk only from the Bay of Gdańsk. Entry via the Curonian Lagoon or the Vistula Lagoon is not possible.
  • It is not allowed to stay in Baltijsk over night. Boats must leave the harbour immediately after the border and customs clearance. The continuation of the journey to the next marinas via the Sea Channel takes 3 to 4 hours. Leisure boats are only allowed to use the canal during daytime (i.e. between sunrise and sunset) and only under engine with a maximum speed of 25 km/h. When entering Kaliningrad Region, therefore, you should arrive in Baltijsk at least 4 hours before sunset.
  • The following marinas are recommended for the first overnight stay in Kaliningrad Region:
    • For sailing and motor boats: „Marina Haydekrug“ in Vzmorje (travel time from Baltijsk: approx. 3 h, max. draught: 2-2,3 m, depending on the water level).
    • For motor boats, alternative: Marina at the Museum of the World Ocean in Kaliningrad (travel time from Baltijsk: approx. 4 h, max. height: 3,5 m because of a bridge passage).
    • For the larger yachts: Marina Kaliningrad “Fish Boat” (travel time from Baltijsk: approx. 4 hours; Note: the marina does not operate on a regular basis. Please contact the harbour master well in advance if you consider to stay in the harbour and ask if mooring will be possible on the planned day of your arrival.

Check-in and check-out in Baltijsk

  • Boaters should hold radio watch on VHF ch. 74 when entering Russian waters and approaching Baltijsk. It is required to make a call by VHF ch.74, call sign «Baltijsk Traffic» for arrival permission.
  • Border and customs clearance in Baltijsk takes place at the border control point next to the container terminal (pier no. 81). If all documents are in place and prepared beforehand, check in and check out should usually not take more than 30-60 min per boat.
  • Please note that you have to check in and check out on the side of European Union, too. Please contact the responsible authorities in Gdańsk, Hel or Klaipėda. The harbour masters are glad to help you and to give you further information on process and contact persons.

Required documents for entering Kaliningrad Region with the boat

Please prepare following documents before entering Russia:

  • Passports & entry documents:
    • In case of entering with an e-visa:
      • Passport (recommended: original & 1 copy of the photo page of the passport)
      • e-visa (recommended: printout of the PDF version; alternatively: Download-version on the mobile device)
      • Proof of health insurance / insurance certificate for Russia (can be obtained from the insurance company, min. overage: 30.000 EUR)
    • In case of entering with a tourist visa (or any other, non-electronical kind of visa):
      • Passport with a valid visa (original & 1 copy each of  photo page & the visa page)
  • Boat-related documents:
    • International boat certificate or flag certificate (original & 1 copy)
    • For charter boats: charter contract (original & 1 copy)
    • Crew list (min. 5 copies, usually you need 3 of them for the check-in and another 2 for the check-out)

Applying for Russian visa

Citizens of the European Union need valid Russian visa to enter Kaliningrad Region. There are different types of visa available:

  • E-visa (new from 1 July 2019): This type of visa is free of charge. Application and issuance are done online. An invitation is not required. The electronic visa allows a one-time entry to Kaliningrad Region and (within 30 days after issuing) a stay of max. 8 days.
  • Tourist visa (non-electronic): This visa is subject to a fee (approx. EUR 80-120 per person). The application must be made in person or in writing. Furthermore, an invitation is required. The maximum stay is 4 weeks. Within this period, up to 2 entries into Russia are possible.
  • Other types of visas: In addition, other types of visas (e.g. business visas, multiple visas, etc.) can be applied for. However, these may be relevant for boaters only in some special cases (e.g. multiple entries over a longer period).

E-visa (new from 1 July 2019):

  • As a general rule, the electronic visa is the best option. It is free of charge. Application and issuance takes place online. An invitation from Kaliningrad Region is not required, too. Single entry and a maximum stay duration of 8 days is sufficient for most kind of trips, too.
  • The application for e-visa is done online via On the website (languages: English, Russian), you will be guided through the application process step by step and with detailed explanations.
  • The following documents are required to apply for e-visa:
    • Passport (valid for at least 6 months after the day of application)
    • Digital photo (in color) as a jpg-file
    • Proof of foreign health insurance for Russia (issued by the insurance, minimum coverage 30,000 EUR)
      This document does not have to be uploaded when applying for the visa, but it has to be shown shown when you cross the border. Since some insurance companies send it out only by post, it is best to apply for it before the trip begins.
  • The issuance of the e-Visa takes place via the website, too (download via an user account that is created with the application). You can choose between a PDF version for printing or an electronic version that you can directly upload into your smartphone.
  • Please note:
    • You can apply for e-visa at the earliest 20 days and at the latest 4 days before the planned entry. Processing and issuing takes 4 calendar days. Depending on the trip plan, therefore, the application for the electronic visa may in some cases be possible only during the cruise.
    • Photos must be taken and uploaded as part of the application process. Furthermore (despite the download option), it is still advisable to print out the visa and take a paper version with you when entering by boat. In addition to a good internet connection, therefore, further office equipment may also be required to obtain the visa.
    • In case you would like to apply for the visa during the trip, you are welcome do this in one of the SOUTH COAST BALTIC Info Lounges in Kröslin / DE, Darłowo / PL, Szczecin NorthEast Marina / PL and Smiltyne Yacht Club / LT. The staff on site will be happy to help you and to print out documents for you. For further information, please have a look to the menu item SCB INFO LOUNGES.

Tourist visa (non-electronic)

  • In some cases, and despite of its costs and the more complex application process, it may still be necessary or better to apply for a conventional tourist visa, e.g.:
    • If you plan longer stay in the Kaliningrad region (more than 8 days)
    • If you plan two entries in quick succession (e.g. on the outward and the return journey)
    • If you prefer to have all the documents “safely in place” before the start of the trip
  • A tourist visa is valid for up to 4 weeks and allows up to 2 entries to Russia.
    Please note: On sailing trips, there occur quite often unexpected changes of the tour schedule (e.g. because of weather conditions). It is therefore recommended to define the period of stay generously and to use the option of two entries, in any case
  • Please prepare the following documents in due time before applying for the tourist visa:
    • Passport (valid for at least 6 months after the visa period, with free pages for visa)
    • Proof of health insurance / insurance certificate for Russia (can be obtained from the insurance company, min. coverage: 30.000 EUR)
    • Up-to-date biometric passport photo (in colour)
  • It is recommended to apply for the tourist visa before starting the sailing trip, because various documents (e.g. passport) need to be sent to the consulate per regular mail. If you should decide spontaneously for a visit of Kaliningrad, however, the SOUTH COAST BALTIC Info Lounges in Kröslin/ DE and Darłowo / PL are glad to help you with the application process. For further information, please have a look to the menu item SCB INFO LOUNGES.
  • It is necessary to have an invitation from Russian to apply for the tourist visa. Those can only be issued by certain institutions (e.g. travel agencies or public authorities). The marinas in Kaliningrad Region are normally not entitled to do so. It is therefore recommended to obtain the tourist visa with the help of a specialised agency, which may organise an invitation, too.
  • There exist a lot of visa agencies in all European countries (incl. DE, PL, SE, DK, Fi, NL), which offer assistance in applying for Russian visa and organising invitations. Please note that you should use an agency from your home country. You may easily find addresses of visa agencies in the internet.
  • Visa agencies can give you detailed information and offer extensive assistance during the application process. Another advantage is that you do not need to personally visit the consulate. The whole process can be done by phone, e-mail, by mail and / or online.
  • “Full service” visa assistance by specialised agency incl. invitation costs approx. 100-150 EUR per person.  It takes normally about 4-5 weeks until you receive the visa. With an express surcharge, you may get it even in 1-2 weeks.