FAQ about filming in Russia

Here’s a list of Frequently Asked Questions about filming in Russia.
Working for many years in the Russian filming market brought us to the fact that there’s a list of things that almost every crew needs to know. For further information please contact us on info@filmspb.tv.

Contents

  1. RUSSIAN VISA AND CUSTOMS
    1. Do we need a visa to travel to Russia? 
    2. For filming purposes should it be a business visa or tourist visa is enough?
    3. How can we bring the equipments into the country? Do you provide customs assistance?
    4. Can we use a CARNET with a tourist visa? 
  2. FILMING IN SAINT PETERSBURG. PERMITS.
    1. Do we need a permit for filming in the city?
    2. Can we film inside the palaces? Do we need a permit?
    3. Can we film at the Pulkovo airport? Do we need a permit?
    4. Can we film in the metro of Saint Petersburg?
    5. Can we film inside the public transport?
    6. How much should we pay for any permit?
  3. ACCOMODATION AND TRANSPORT IN SAINT PETERSBURG
    1. Can you book a hotel for us? Can you recommend a hotel?
    2. Can you provide us transport services? A transfer from the airport?
  4. FILMING IN OTHER RUSSIAN CITIES
    1. Do you provide filming services in Moscow? 
    2. Do you provide filming services in other russian cities?
  5. MISCELLANEOUS
    1. Can we find a busker with a balalaika in the city? 

1. RUSSIAN VISA AND CUSTOMS

1.1 Do we need a visa to travel to Russia? 

WITHOUT A VISA: Citizens of ex-USSR countries (up to 90 days), most part of Latin America countries (up to 90 days), Israel (up to 90 days), South Africa (up to 90 days, Diplomatic and Service passport holders only) and Hong Kong (up to 14 days)
WITH A VISA: Citizens of the EU, UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zeland, South Korea, Japan, etc.
 

1.2 For filming purposes should it be a business visa or tourist visa is enough?

It depends on what exactly you plan to film in Russia. If you are not planning to sign contracts, get official payments in the country or to act in any way in the name of any foreign legal entity you DON’T NEED a business visa. A tourist visa will be 100% enough for your filming. 
 
If you need a business visa we can make an invitation for you.
 
IMPORTANT! The invitation issuing procedure takes 15-20 working days.

1.3 How can we bring the equipments into the country? Do you provide customs assistance?

The best way to bring into the country filming equipments – to use a CARNET.
Please check twice the list of goods shown in the carnet, especially the serial № of all the goods. All the equipments can be arrested for 72 hours at the customs if there’s a small mistake in the papers.
Saint Petersburg Production Team can help you with the customs in Russia. We are not providing customs broker services, but we can provide you all the information needed or to find a reliable local customs broker.

1.4 Can we use a CARNET with a tourist visa? 

Yes.
The usage of a carnet has no connection to the type of visa you are using.

2. FILMING IN SAINT PETERSBURG. PERMITS.

2.1 Do we need a permit for filming in the city?

For filming at the streets of Saint Petersburg small filming crews (Less than 5 people) don’t need a special permit.

IMPORTANT! Filming crews bigger than 5 people need to apply for a filming permit to the Committee of Culture of St Petersburg. The procedure of getting such a permit takes 15-20 working days, depending on the complexity of the filming.

IMPORTANT! In Saint Petersburg there’s a list of places restricted for filming – areas near to factories, ports, military objects, privately owned locations, etc. Please check your filming plan or send us a list of filming locations you plan to use.

2.2 Can we film inside the palaces? Do we need a permit?

For filming inside any museum, palace or mansion you need to get a permit. During the high season (from May to August) many museums are not filming friendly, as they have crowds of tourists inside.
We should apply for a filming permit at least 10 days before the filming date.

IMPORTANT! Applying for a filming permit doesn’t guarantee you access to the palace or museum. The authorities will consider your request and will give you an answer.

2.3 Can we film at the Pulkovo airport? Do we need a permit?

For filming at the Pulkovo airport or in the area around the airport you need to apply for a permit from the airport authorities. Due to airport security requirements you’ll have to provide a complete list of the equipments you plan to use (including model names and serial numbers) and a list of the crew members involved into the filming.

IMPORTANT! This is a paid permit. The price depends on the area of the airport where you plan to film and on the quantity of time needed for your filming. We should apply for such a permit at least 10 days before the filming date.

2.4 Can we film in the metro of Saint Petersburg?

The metro of Saint Petersburg is the deepest in the world and it’s considered to be one of the most beautiful in the world. As a heavy heritage of the USSR, in our city metro is still considered to be a strategic object (It’s a huge bombshelter for all the population of the city), filming there is strictly banned.

IMPORTANT! This is a paid permit. The price depends on the amount of time needed for your filming and on the exact hour. We should apply for such a permit at least 15 days before the filming.
For getting a filming permit from the metro authorities we’ll need a complete list of the equipments you plan to use (including model names and serial numbers), a list of the crew members involved into the filming, the exact stations and the exact date and time of filming.

EVEN MORE IMPORTANT! Applying for a filming permit doesn’t guarantee you access to the metro. The authorities will consider your request and will give you an answer.

2.5 Can we film inside the public transport?

Without a permit – no. Filming inside public transport has to be approved by the city authorities.
We recommend to apply for such a permit 10 days before the filming date.

2.6 How much should we pay for any permit?

There’s no fixed fee for most part of the permits. The authorities responsible for the permits giving procedure will consider your request and will give their decission about the filming possibility and the price.

3. ACCOMODATION AND TRANSPORT IN SAINT PETERSBURG

3.1 Can you book a hotel for us? Can you recommend a hotel?

We do not provide booking services. We can send you a list of hotel where we recomend to stay. Our recomendations are always based on your filming itinerary. Traffic in the city is horrible, but choosing a hotel in a good place may save you some hours daily.

3.2 Can you provide us transport services? A transfer from the airport?

Yes, with great pleasure.
Saint Petersburg Production Team works only with drivers who have filming experience (they know how to behave during a filming). We can provide you vans for 8, 12 or 20 seats, buses for 25-40 seats or regular cars with a driver.

4. FILMING IN OTHER RUSSIAN CITIES

4.1 Do you provide filming services in Moscow?

Yes, our company has a branch in Moscow. We will be really glad to help you in organizing your filming there. Keep in mind that for filming in Moscow it is much harder to get filming permits, especially if you plan to film the key landmarks like Red Square, St. Basil’s cathedral, etc.

4.2 Do you provide filming services in other russian cities?

We can help you organizing your filming throughout Russia.
Fixers in Vladivostok and in Irkutsk are availible 24/7.

5. MISCELLANEOUS

5.1 Can we find a busker with a balalaika in the city?

No, there are none. It’s a myth. People at the streets are not playing balalaikas!
Still, if you need one – we can hire one for your filming and to place him where you want him to be.