Arrival in Russia
The Why Invest website is here to make your journey to any of the Russian Federation town's 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 the way it should smoothly. Before travelling to Russia, please make your own checks to confirm the latest information and requirements with your nearest Russian embassy or consulate.
Immigration and visa laws can change and Russia is currently making a number of amendments to the immigration standard procedures. please see below the main visa invitation page to see some of the latest news regarding immigration.
Border Crossing and entry Guidance
Make sure you have all the required documents,
Passport (which 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
Extra tips for travelling in general can be found here but before starting any journey abroad make a copy of your passport and visa. One good way to make sure you have a copy available is to email or online cloud store your documents and keep an additional set with you separately from your actual passport. Having these copies in the event of loss or theft this can make all the difference when trying to replace your documents under a deadline of flights or travel arrangements.
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 a 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 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 official will take your passport and migration card from you and stamp your passport and the card, removing one half of the 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.
After going through immigration, you will need to retrieve your luggage and fill out a customs declaration form. Tourists normally have nothing to declare and customs officials do not collect forms from people passing through the green channel (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:
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. Personal computers (if you bring only one) and other electronic devices do not need to be declared. Bringing in items such as drugs and weapons without permission, whether they are declared or not, may lead to your arrest.
The customs declaration form is straightforward to complete and is usually available in several languages.
Departure from Russia
Leaving is very similar to entering the country, except that you first go through customs and then 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 www.vch.ru.
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 and proceed to check-in.
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 betaken 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.