What is a Fan ID?
A Fan ID is a document containing identity information that is compulsory for all visitors, along with their ticket. These IDs are only issued to ticket holders, so you can’t get one before purchasing a ticket. Both Russian and foreign nationals are required to apply for one.
The Fan ID is going to be valid throughout the whole period of the 2018 World Cup, and only needs to be ordered once, even if attending multiple matches.
How to apply for your Fan ID
The first step in obtaining a Fan ID is completing an application. That can be done either online or at a distribution centre. Since distribution centres are only in Russia, many people will need to do it online. The details given in the application should match the document you intend to travel with to Russia.
The next step is waiting for approval. Your status will be updated via SMS or email. As you need to have an actual card on hand, the Fan ID needs to be either picked up or delivered. Russian citizens can pick up the ID in one of the distribution centres around the country (addresses can be found on the official website). At present there is one centre in Moscow, with another expected to open in Saransk. Fans from other Russian cities can have their IDs delivered by post.
Foreign nationals will need the ID to cross the Russian border, so their card should be delivered to a VFS Global visa center in advance.
How to use it
The most important benefit of the Fan ID for foreign nationals is visa-free entry into Russia. Avoiding a visa application will save time and money. The card gives multiple entries into Russia and is valid from 10 days before the first match until 10 days after the last match. Note that entry into Russia is also subject to having a valid travel document, not just a Fan ID.
Further, the Fan ID also gives the ability to travel for free. Fan ID holders will be able to get tickets for additional trains travelling between host cities. Tickets can be booked through the website, where a train schedule can be found. The Fan ID will also give free rides on public transport to sports events.