Travel advice for people visiting Russia

Starting the journey to Russia

The Why Invest website is here to make your journey to any of the Russian Federation town or cities as enjoyable and stress-free as possible. You will find below a little guidance to help make your arrival and departure to and from Russia run smoothly. Before travelling to Russia, please make your own checks to confirm the latest information and requirements with your nearest Russian embassy or consulate (which can be found here), immigration and visa laws can change and Russia is making a number of amendments to the immigration procedures. 


Make sure you have all your documents, it sounds simple enough but mistakes can happen, we have seen it!

  • Passport (should be valid for at least 6 months after the end of your stay)
  • Tickets and documents for return or onward travel
  • A valid Russian visa
  • HIV Certificate (if required)
  • Medical insurance (if required)
  • and any other required documents depending on the country that you are travel

Extra Tip for travelling in general 

Before starting any journey abroad make a copy of your passport, visa and any other important travel documents including your birth certificate. for more travel tips head here

One excellent way to make sure you have a copy available is to email yourself or use an online cloud store for all your documents and keep an additional set with you separately from your original documents. Having these copies in the event of loss or theft can make all the difference when trying to replace your documents under a deadline of flights or other travel arrangements, this can be especially true for Russia.


Top travel tips for business and tourist travellers alike

do you have a better tip? click here


When you arrive, you will first pass through passport control, then customs. Forms need to be filled out for each of these processes. Migration cards are normally now completed by the desk officer at passport control and are printed, but you may still be handed a migration card at some crossing or in the event of breakdown when entering Russia (if you are arriving by land or sea you will usually need to ask for a card at the immigration post). These cards or sheets of paper consist of two identical parts printed either side-to-side or top-to-bottom. Both parts need to be filled out, in either English or Russian.

The card is straightforward to complete, but here are some hints:

  • Under ‘Given name(s)’, print both your first and middle names.
  • Leave ‘Patronymic’ blank.
  • Remember to list dates by day/month/year.
  • For ‘Passport or other ID’, write ‘passport’ and fill out the number.
  • For ‘Purpose of travel’, underline ‘Tourism’ or ‘Business’.
  • Under ‘Name of host person or company’, write the name of company which issued your invitation.
  • Make sure the dates indicated under ‘Duration of stay’ are from the current date to the departure date indicated in your visa.

Having filled out the card, you will need to queue to go through passport control. Make sure you choose the line for foreign nationals. An immigration officer will take your passport and migration card from you and stamp your passport and the migration card, removing one half of the migration card and placing the other half in your passport. It is very important that you do not lose your migration card. If you do, you will need to pay a heavy fine.


Next you will go to retrieve your luggage and if required a customs declaration form. Tourists have nothing to declare in most cases and customs officials do not collect forms from green channel entry (for people with nothing to declare). If you do have something to declare, you should pass through the red channel, present what you are declaring and have your customs declaration stamped so that you can then take the item/s out of the country when you leave.

Items that need to be declared include:

  • Amounts of cash exceeding USD 10,000 (if you plan to leave the country with this money).
  • Items of particular value, including jewellery, artwork, or antiques.
  • Musical instruments.
  • Goods with a value exceeding EUR 2,000 and weighing over 35 kg.
  • Weapons and drugs.
  • Alcohol over 2 litres.
  • Tobacco (more than 50 cigars, 100 cigarillos, 200 cigarettes, or 250 g of pipe tobacco).

If you do not declare these items on entering the country, you may not be allowed to take them out with you. Money needs to be declared only if you are planning to leave the country with a large sum, as you cannot leave the country with more money than you brought in without paying taxes.

Departing Russia

Leaving is a reversal of the entering Russia, except that you first go through customs before passport control. When going through customs you will need to declare any artwork or antiques (including old books) you have purchased. In general terms, anything made before 1941 is considered to be an antique, and you will need special permission to take it out of the country. For more information on what you can and cannot take out of the country and how to obtain permission, visit


Anyone who filled out a customs declaration on arrival will need to pass through the red channel, presenting their declaration from when they arrived and the items declared. If you have lost your declaration, you may not be able to take those items out of the country. If you declared nothing on arrival and have bought nothing that you need to declare upon departure, you can pass through the green channel.


Having checked in, you will need to go through passport control, where you will get an exit stamp put into your passport and your migration card will be taken from you. When departing, make sure you have a copy of your Russian visa registration, otherwise you may be fined. The fine is about USD 200, or RUB 5,000. Once you have passed through passport control, you will be in the international area.

Points to remember

  • Before booking tickets, please check the start and finishing dates of your visa. You cannot enter the country before this date or leave after the exit date. Travellers overstaying the validity of their visa, even by one day, will be prevented from leaving until their sponsor intervenes and requests a visa extension on their behalf. you should have no problems entering and exiting if you check your dates.
  • Items of considerable value, watches and jewellery are good examples, should be noted on the customs declaration on entry. All such valuables must be re-exported, or an import duty will be charged.
  • On arrival and departure all items go through an X-ray machine.
  • Migration cards if Lost or stolen cannot be replaced.


Top travel tips for business and tourist travellers alike

do you have a better tip? click here