St. Petersburg

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Moving to St. Petersburg

Big differences between the seasons, with harsh winters and hot summers, are one of the characteristics of St. Petersburg’s weather can make for a challenging stay; not only due to the climate, but also because find accommodation can be difficult. Get prepared for moving to St. Petersburg with our guide.

About the City

St. Petersburg is the second largest city in Russia with a population of an estimated five million in 2014. It’s located on the Neva River on the Baltic Sea and covers 1,439 square kilometers.

In St. Petersburg specifically, the climate is influenced by Baltic Sea cyclones resulting in hot and humid but short summers and lengthy, wet and cold winters. For example, the average hours of sunshine in January is as low as 21; but the average hours of sunshine in June is 276 — so there is a dramatic change in the weather as the seasons pass.

Interestingly, it tends to rain more in the summer than it does in winter, but this is likely due to the fact that the winters are very snowy. The average number of snowy days in December, January and February is 17. The actual air humidity is at around 78% on average. 

Finding Accommodation

City residents of St. Petersburg tend to live mostly in apartments, and those made in the 1930s and 50s tend to be favored over the ones made in the 80s and 90s from an aesthetic point of view.

A top of the range one bedroom apartment in the city would set you back around 1 million USD, whilst 3–5 bedroom apartments come in at around 2–3 million USD. Expats looking for relocation to St. Petersburg can search for places to rent or buy on websites like Engel & Völkers

Visas for Russia

Certain passport holders do not require any kind of visa to visit Russia, a list of those can be found on the website of Russian National Tourist Office. However, visitors from the UK and USA will require a visa of some kind - whether that’s business, student or tourist.

To take particular focus on a work visa as many expats might require, you can obtain a visa order form here. You will need to submit official documents to obtain a Russian visa: original passport, application form, a recent passport-sized photograph (no older than 6 months) and a booking form. You will also need to attend the Visa Application Centre for fingerprint scanning. A work visa can be valid for up to several years and ready for you from within as little as two days. 

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