The Department of State provides U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Russia the following information related to the XXII Winter Olympic Games and XI Paralympic Games taking place in and around Sochi, Russia, from February 7 to February 23, 2014, and March 7 to March 16, 2014.
This fact sheet provides information regarding the current conditions within the country to U.S. citizens as they consider traveling to Russia for the Games. Travelers should use the information and resources below to have a safe and enjoyable Olympics experience.
Before you go…
Official Sochi 2014 Website (in English): http://www.sochi2014.com/en/
Information on the Opening & Closing Ceremonies, sporting venues, accommodations, accessibility, ticket sales for foreigners living outside Russia, etc.
Official ticket reseller: https://www.cosport.com/
CoSport is the official ticket reseller for the Sochi 2014 Olympics for U.S. residents.
U.S. Embassy Moscow Website: http://moscow.usembassy.gov/
Information regarding services the Embassy offers to U.S. citizens, security and travel information, fraud warnings, etc.
Department of State Travel Website: http://www.travel.state.gov/
Latest travel warnings, international travel tips, information regarding the STEP registration process, etc.
Team USA/U.S. Olympic Committee Website: http://www.teamusa.org
Keep up with Team USA as they prepare for Sochi 2014. Site features athlete bios, merchandise, and more.
International Olympic Committee Website: http://www.olympic.org/ioc
Extreme shortages of hotel rooms are likely during the Olympics. Visitors are urged to book rooms well in advance. Given the increased demand for hotel rooms, prices will be inflated during the Olympic period. Advertised rates for standard rooms are currently as much as $750-1000 per night. While these rates will continue to fluctuate based on demand for the rooms, travelers should be prepared to pay premium rates for hotel accommodations. Some hotels are offering Olympic “VIP” packages, which include transportation, access to VIP lounges and entertainment, but these packages are priced separately.Now is the time to think about where you will want to stay.
CoSport is the official ticket reseller for the Sochi 2014 Olympics for U.S. residents. To purchase individual tickets or hospitality packages, visit their website or call 1-877-457-4647.
A few important things to remember when looking for tickets…
In addition to a valid ticket, fans will also be required to obtain a “Spectator Pass.” Applying for the Spectator Pass is part of the security regime for the Games and will subject the ticket holder to a background check administered by the Federal Security Services. Detailed information on procedures for obtaining a Spectator Pass will be available on the official 2014 Sochi website. The U.S. Embassy in Moscow will also provide additional details as information becomes available.
An Olympic express train will shuttle passengers between the Olympic Coastal Cluster located in Adler and the Olympic Mountain Cluster located in Krasnaya Polyana. Trains are scheduled to run every hour and will take approximately 34 minutes to travel between clusters. Once inside the Coastal Cluster, all Olympic venues are within walking distance. Ski lifts will be used to transport fans to individual Olympic venues within the Mountain Cluster.
Many Olympic-related events will also take place in the downtown Sochi area, which is located approximately 40 kilometers from the Coastal Cluster. A public transportation system, including buses and trains, can be used to access the Olympic Park from downtown Sochi.
It is recommended that travelers utilize public transportation as much as possible. Traffic in and around Sochi is expected to be extremely heavy during the Olympic Games, and traffic jams are likely. Pedestrians should exercise great care when crossing streets or intersections, traversing parking lots, or walking on sidewalks, as drivers in Russia often do not yield to pedestrians. Pedestrians should use marked walkways, overpasses, or crosswalks, and do not attempt to cross traffic in driving zones.
U.S. citizens planning to attend the Games in Sochi should remain alert regarding their personal security at all times. Criminal activity in Sochi is similar to other cities of comparable size. However, major events such as the Olympic Games, are a prime opportunity for thieves and other criminal elements to prey upon unsuspecting tourists. Travelers should be alert at all times and avoid carrying large amounts of money or other valuables. Purses, wallets, cell phones and electronics should be secured while traveling on buses, trains, or other forms of public transportation. There have been instances of credit card fraud, and travelers should be careful when choosing their form of payment for goods and services. Travelers should only use marked taxi services and prearrange transportation through hotel concierge or other reputable services whenever possible. Photocopies of passports, visas, credit cards, and other important documents should be kept in a secure location so proper notifications can be made if original documents are lost or stolen.
The Russian government is devoting considerable resources to ensure the Sochi Olympics are safe and incident-free. Travelers should expect increased police presence and enhanced security measures in and around the Olympic venues.
Travelers are reminded that acts of terrorism, including bombings and hostage takings, continue to occur in Russia, particularly in the North Caucasus region, which is less than 100 miles from Sochi. Threats have also been made against the Olympic Games. On July 4, 2013, Doku Umarov, the leader of a U.S. government-designated terrorist group based in Russia, posted a video message online using inflammatory language and specifically mentioning Sochi. Russian authorities have indicated to the Embassy that they are taking appropriate measures in light of this information. While we expect the Russian authorities will put in place enhanced security measures in Sochi, U.S. citizens are reminded to remain vigilant and be aware of their surroundings at all times, especially in crowded areas.
The U.S. Embassy will continue to monitor the security situation as the Olympics draw near. In the event the U.S. government receives information of any specific and credible threat, the Department of State will immediately provide information to the public. Information about potential threats to safety and security can be found on the Embassy’s websiteand the Department of State’s travel website.
Personal Privacy Note: Travelers should be aware that Russian Federal law permits the monitoring, retention and analysis of all data that traverses Russian communication networks, including internet browsing, e-mail messages, telephone calls, and fax transmissions.
In June 2013, Russia’s State Duma passed a law banning the “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” to minors. The U.S. government understands that this law applies to both Russian citizens and foreigners in Russia. Russian citizens found guilty of violating the law could face a fine of up to 100,000 rubles ($3,100). Foreign citizens face similar fines, up to 14 days in jail, and deportation. The law makes it a crime to promote LGBT equality in public, but lacks concrete legal definitions for key terms, and provides no clarity as to which actions will be interpreted by authorities as “LGBT propaganda.”
The United States places great importance on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms of all people, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, as well as anyone attending or participating in the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The U.S. calls on Russia to uphold its international commitments regarding freedom of assembly and association and freedom of expression, now and in the future.
LGBT travelers should review the State Department’s LGBT Travel Information page.
The U.S. Embassy’s American Citizens Services (ACS) unit will have an office in Sochi during the Olympic and Paralympic Games to provide a range of routine and emergency services to U.S. citizens in need. All payments for such services must be paid by credit card; no cash or checks will be accepted in Sochi.