Nearly 800 of 31,000 travelers with e-visas were denied access to St. Petersburg and sent back home to their countries in October because of mistakes they had made in fulfilling their papers when applying for the visas or in the use of it. We set up a list of typical mistakes which can make your journey to Russia with the help of an electronic visa impossible.
Wrong Name: Don’t Miss Diacritic Signs
That’s maybe the most common reason, why many visitors were not able to get into Russia farther than a border line at a border crossing. The application rules say that the applicant must write in his name as it is in his travel passport in the machine-readable section, it’s indicated with signs <<<<<<<. If you are Müller, than you must write as it's in this section "Mueller" (or whatever it's written there), not "Muller". But read further carefully to write Müller where (and if) needed. Can Russian border guards understand that you are that Müller which is in your passport, despite the wrong name in e-visa? Sure they can. But they say that the automatic scanning passports system cannot.
Wrong Name: Tell The Whole Truth
Another mistake about a wrongly written name is telling only half the truth, we mean when the traveler indicated only half of his or her real name. If you are Anna-Maria in your travel passport, then write Anna-Maria, NOT Anna or Maria. That’s just simple: write your name into an application form every bit as it’s in your passport.
You must accurately write in the numbers of your passport into your e-visa. One figure wrong or missed is a reason for border guards to send you back home. The same applies to all other data, including your birth date.
Wrong Border Crossing
There is a list of border crossings you can use to get to St. Petersburg. Any other crossing outside of this list is not valid for this purpose. For example, you cannot arrive in St. Petersburg with an e-visa via the Allegro train or any other train at all as there are border crossings at railway stations equipped to check electronic visas.
Some travelers somehow managed to arrive with an e-visa in Moscow aiming to get from there to St. Petersburg. That’s a very bad idea as you can go with an electronic visa through only a limited number of border crossings (see the previous point). And no one of them is in Moscow.
In Russia you can use e-visas for travelling to three regions: the Kaliningrad region, the Free port of Vladivostok (the Primorsky Krai region) and St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region (with a single electronic visa for these two regions). But you cannot go with an e-visa for Kaliningrad, for example, to another region, for instance, St. Petersburg. And vice versa.
A British citizen reportedly arrived in St. Petersburg airport Pulkovo and was informed that his country is not eligible for e-visa to Russia. It’s interesting how he managed to get such a visa at all. In any case, it’s recommended to check if your passport fits the list of countries whose citizens have a right for an e-visa to St. Petersburg.
Also important: one of our readers said in comments (see below) that you will be stopped when boarding by your airline if you have filled in your visa wrongly. It’s not case, unfortunately, at least not always. A lot of travelers have been denied access to Russia after they had already landed at Pulkovo, and nor their air company neither border security had stopped them at Budapest or Paris or elsewhere.
If you are not eligible for the electronic visa, you need to obtain a traditional visa. For this you will need a Russian invitation letter applying to a Russian embassy or a consulate.