All Russian Visas
An East West Link company
According to Russian law, your Russian visa must be registered within 72 hours of your arrival (excluding weekends and official holidays).
So, if you stay in Russia more than three working days, or you are involved in a civil ceremony such as getting married, then you need to register your visa.
We will send you a guide on registration when you order your visa.
What is visa registration?
Registration of visas is a form of migration control within Russia managed by UFMS (Federal Migration Service Organisation). It is not aimed specifically at tourists or business people, rather its general aim is to control illegal immigration from the former Soviet Republics into the Russian Federation, though as the law is all encompassing, foreigners including tourists are also required to register.
Basically, registration involves placing a stamp either in your passport or on your migration card and obtaining a registration slip. The stamps and registration slip show the period you are registered to stay in any one place. In addition to the dates it will also contain the name of the hotel, accommodation or apartment, where you are staying and the name of the sponsor organisation.
Please be aware that the Russian militia often stop people to check their passports and travel documents, especially around train stations, metro stations, bus stations and areas such as the Kremlin so remember to take your passport, migration card and registration slip with you every time you leave your hotel or apartment. There is nothing unusual in this and there is nothing to be worried about if you are stopped, so long as you have registered correctly.
If you are stopped by the Militia for any reason, they will check that you are registered to be in the city / town and that the dates are valid.
What will happen if I don't register?
Remember, your Russian visa is an exit as well as entry visa, and if you don't register then technically it may lead to serious problems with the authorities including fines, detention, deportation and even prevention of leaving the country.
In practice, more often than not, if you have not registered your visa within the time required by Russian law you will be exposing yourself to "fines" by the local militia or other officials who may stop and check your passport.
If you have registered your visa correctly, or you had no need to register your visa when stopped by the Militia — for example if you had only arrived the day before - and you are told you need to pay a “fine”, stand your ground and say “no”, you have not broken the law, they are just looking for a bribe. If they persist, insist that you call your embassy to inform them you are the subject of police harassment, this will in most cases put them off.
If you are stopped by the Militia and you have not registered your visa within the proscribed time, the maximum fine prescribed by Russian law is now about $30.00 and, regardless of what the Militia say, at this point it is highly unlikely that you would be deported (the Militia do not have the power to do this) - as it is only a civil not a criminal offence. They can, if they choose take you to the Militia station for up to three hours to record your details and check you up and if they choose after this apply for your deportation. Because of this, we have heard of people who have paid up to $500 in “fines” as it is very difficult, if not impossible, to say “no” when faced by a couple of burley, unsmiling and armed militiamen in a foreign country and threatened with a trip to the local police station and the possibility of deportation procedures!
When leaving Russia through passport control at an international airport, crossing a land border or flying internally through a regional airport if you do not have correct registration then there is a chance that you can be fined (up to £1,000.00). In extreme situations you may also be deported "on the spot" and if this happens you will not be allowed to enter Russia for five years.
It is important to understand that if you are “officially fined” (that is your details have been taken and you have been given a receipt) twice for breaches of registration rules then this information will be recorded and be made available to the Russian consulates worldwide. In such a situation you may be blacklisted from obtaining a Russian visa for five years.
The best way to avoid such unpleasant situations is to register the visa as soon as you arrive.
OK, so now I'm worried, what should I do?
Don't worry, registering your visa is fairly straightforward, just click on the questions below to find out what to do.
Can you tell me more?
Finally, remember that while we keep this guide as up to date as possible and include feedback from clients where relevant, you should be aware; that it is not a comprehensive guide to all cities and situations; that Russian Federal visa and registration rules change on a regular basis, often without notice; that some registration authorities in the regions may also implement their own version or they may simply refuse to register your visa even if they should. If you encounter registration problems while you are in Russia, please get in touch with us immediately and we will do our best to resolve these through our Russian offices and partners.
If you are staying in a hotel, the hotel will register your visa (tourist or business) for you on arrival and may make a small charge of up to $5. They may keep your passport while they do this, so don't leave the hotel until you have it back, you will have problems if you are stopped by the police without it.
Once you have received your passport and registration back from the hotel, do check that the dates they have put on it are correct.
- If you are staying in Moscow, then our Moscow office can register your visa for you. You will need to
contact them on arrival in Moscow to arrange to take or email scanned copies of your documents to them
within two working days of arrival:
- If registering in person, bring your passport, your migration card that you will receive on entry to Russia and a photocopy of your passport page, your migration card and visa (if required you can do this at our office)
- If registering by email, you can email a scan of the photo page and Russia visa from your passport and a scan of your migration card that you will receive on entry to Russia to firstname.lastname@example.org quoting your reference number
- For tourist visas the cost is 750 Roubles registration fee (if you have not pre-paid for this service with your order) or 1,000 Roubles if you did not obtain your visa or visa support document from All Russian Visas
- For business visas the registration fee is between 1,000 and 2,500 Roubles — please note that for business visas the maximum period we can register the visa for is 90 days, if you require registration longer than this then you will need to “de-register” and then register again before your first registration expires
- We will then complete the required forms and submit these to the local UFMS
- When your registration is ready we can either email a copy to you, you can return to our office to collect your registration documents or we can arrange for a courier to deliver this to you (courier incurs additional cost)
- When you leave Russia, we will automatically “de-register” your visa. Remember, that if you do not de-register your visa then you may face fines when leaving Russia or difficulty obtaining another visa for your next trip. If you re-enter Russia again, even using the same visa, then you will need to register your visa again
- Please note if you fail to register within the three working day window and want to register after this there is a fine of £150.00 levied by the Moscow UFMS — so if you are registering in Moscow through our office then we request that you visit us within two working days of arrival to avoid this.
- If Moscow is not the first Russian city you visit and you arrive in Moscow after the third working day in Russia then the Moscow UFMS may apply an additional cost of 500 roubles to your registration which is directly payable to our Moscow office.
- If you are staying in St. Petersburg, then our partner office can register your visa for you. You will need to
contact them on arrival in St. Petersburg to arrange to take your documents to them, currently this will
- Your passport
- Your migration card — that you will receive on entry into Russia
- A photocopy of your passport page, your migration card and visa (if required you can do this at their office)
- For tourist visas 900 Roubles registration fee (if you have not pre-paid for this service)
- They will then complete the required forms with you and submit these to the local UFMS
- You will need to return to our partner office to collect your migration card and registration document
- When you leave Russia, the day before you depart you should return the tear off strip to our partner office so we may return this to the UFMS for you to “de-register” your visa. Remember, that if you do not de-register your visa then you may face fines when leaving Russia or difficulty obtaining another visa for your next trip. If you re-enter Russia again, even using the same visa, then you will need to register your visa again
- You may complete the required forms yourself and take these to the relevant UFMS office
- For tourist and private visas the office will be the local UFMS to the place that you wish to be registered
- For business visas the office will be the central UFMS of the city
- A photocopy of your passport page, your migration card and visa
- A copy of your landlord's/host's passport and registration
- You will need to take your host with you to complete the notification of arrival form
- When you leave Russia, the day before you should return the tear off strip to your host so they may return this to the UFMS for you to “de-register” your visa. Remember, that if you do not de-register your visa then you (and your host) may face fines when leaving Russia or difficulty obtaining another visa for your next trip. If you re-enter Russia again, even using the same visa then you will need to register your visa again
If you are not staying in Moscow or St. Petersburg and you are not staying at a hotel, you will need to register your visa with the local UFMS (Federal Migration Service Organisation). While it may not be necessary, some places require (and we can provide you with) an official letter requesting UFMS officials register you, along with your other documents. Please make sure that you selected registration services when you order your visa support, and, when you receive your passport and visa:
Send us by email to email@example.com or fax to +44 (0) 207 504 3712
- A scan, or clear fax, of your visa
- The full address of the private apartment that you will be staying at and the person who will be your host
We will then prepare your registration support letter and send it to you by email usually the same day we receive your details.
Please note that this is not the registration itself, it is a letter requesting registration. Print out the letter and when in Russia take this to the local UFMS along with your passport and migration card (which you received on entry to Russia). You will be asked to complete a notification of arrival form — which is entirely in Russian, so it would be advisable that if you are not comfortable with the language that you take a Russian speaking friend or relative with you. The UFMS should then register your visa, experience shows that if all documents are correct it will usually takes about 15 minutes (after you work your way through the queues which can take several hours).
The registration will take the form of the completed tear-off registration slip from the bottom of the notification of arrival form and, in some cases, a stamp on your migration card and / or passport.
If you have a business visa and you require registration over 90 days, you may also be required to provide the results of a HIV test, this usually would be carried out in Russia and the UFMS would direct you to a local clinic who can usually prepare the test certificate within 24 hours.
When you leave Russia, the day before you should return the tear off slip to your host so they may return this to the UFMS for you to “de-register” your visa. Remember, that if you do not de-register your visa then you (and your host) may face fines when leaving Russia or difficulty obtaining another visa for your next trip. If you re-enter Russia again, even using the same visa then you will need to register your visa again.
In some regions and cities the UFMS can be an unpleasant place for foreigners to visit, while in others you will have no problems at all.
If you are staying in a private appartment and don't want to visit the local UFMS, then Russian Federal Law now allows you to take these to the post office. In almost all cases the documents you will need to take are:
- a clear photocopy of the photo page of your passport
- a clear photocopy of your visa and migration card including the latest entry stamp
- a clear photocopy of the photo page of your host's internal passport
- a clear photocopy of the current registration stamp of your host, this must be the same as the address you are registering to
- two completed notification of arrival forms
- a large A4 envelope for posting the items to the regional UFMS, the post office will be able to supply you with the correct address, your host will also have to complete a couple of post office receipts detailing the contents of the package
- there will be a fee to pay at the post office in Rubles that will depend on local UFMS policy, how long you are staying and the type of visa you have
After queuing, assuming you have the correct documents, the whole process takes about 5 to 10 minutes, the post office will check your documents, complie the applications and provide you with your registration slip stamped complete with the post office stamp.
When you leave Russia, the day before you should return the tear off slip to your host so they may return this to the post office for you to “de-register” your visa. Remember, that if you do not de-register your visa then you (and your host) may face fines or difficulty obtaining another visa for your next trip. If you re-enter Russia again, even using the same visa then you will need to register your visa again.
You may find in some cities that the post office is reluctant to register business visas, tourist visas or visas where the date of entry was more than three days ago, in these cases you will be directed to the local UFMS.
As an alternative to registering with the UFMS, often in many provincial cities you can find a “friendly” hotel who will register your visa for you for a fee, even if you are not staying there. Some insist that you stay a night or two (or at least pay for the room) before registering your visa, while other just make a flat charge. This depends on the city and region, though typically is between $20 to $50. If you choose this option, please do so only if you are having difficulty registering at the local UFMS in time or for some other reason.
While a private visa (that is a visa raised with a private invitation sent from friends or relatives in Russia to you in the UK) can be an exercise in frustration to obtain, often taking several months and often costing twice as much as a simple tourist visa, a major benefit is that it is very easy to register to a private address (e.g. not a hotel) for up to a 90 day visit.
Simply take your passport and migration card to the local UFMS office when you arrive in the town or city that issued the invitation and they will register the visa for you. You do not need to take a copy of the invitation document or anything else, all information is encoded on the visa. The hardest part can be actually getting someone to be interested in registering the visa for you, especially during the summer or holiday periods, but persevere and ensure that you get registered within three working days.
Most cities throughout Russia are relatively painless to register in and, if you are staying in a hotel, you should have no problems at all.
However, if you are staying in one of the following “restricted” cities and not staying in a hotel, then you will need to get a registration support letter from us (see above) and if the OVIR will not register your visa, go to our local partner office who will register your visa for you. Please note that the partner office will make a charge for this which is payable directly to them.
You should also ensure that you have listed the city as one to be visited when when you request your visa from us and that you have a copy of your visa support documents with you when you arrive.
While Astakhan is not technically a “restricted city” the local authorities request additional documents for registration if the individual is not staying in a hotel registered for foreigners. For registration periods over three days the inviting organisation needs to provide:
- A copy of the passport of the General Director
- A company letter stating that the inviting company will take all responsibility for the invited person during their stay in Russia
These conditions are not possible for our or almost any other Russian company to provide and you should consider this information when organising trips to this area.
Natalia Alexandrovna Korkina
Tel/fax: +7 (3852) 510924
While Barnaul is on the list, reports from clients indicate that the local OVIR and authorities are very welcoming to tourists and other foreign travellers in the area and if not staying in a hotel you may use the standard registration support letter. However, in the case of any difficulties, please contact our local partner for assistance.
While this area is not restricted, the local authorities penalise people who try to register non “private” visas at private addresses. So, if you have a tourist, business or other type of visa then you should not register this locally or you will be officially fined which can lead to a 5 year ban on entering Russia.
If you have not previously registered elsewhere and are staying in Russia for more than three working days then you should register by email through our Moscow office and if challenged state that you have been in the town for less than three working days and will be leaving soon.
Samaeva Lubov Nikolayevna
Tel/fax: +7 (3882) 222413
The cost of registration is 300 Roubles.
Tel/fax: +7 (4212) 305603 , 32679, 783344
Tel/fax: +7 (3952) 243715 , 619835
Oksana Leonidovna Zarinnaya
Tel/fax: +7 (0112) 916225 , 916164
KAMCHATKA and PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY
As of 01.02.2007 this region is now only allowed to be entered by foreign nationals who receive a special permit from the local authorities. It is not possible to request business or tourist visas to allow entry alone, the visa must be accompanied by the new permit, which can take up to three months to process.
If travelling on a tourist or business visa then a scan of your visa should be sent to the local FSB before you enter the region.
Tel/fax: +7 (8432) 920 555
Tourist registration costs 50 Euros and business registration 4,200 Roubles.
Guliver-Rus / Andrey Akulayev
Tel: +7 (8512) 459000
As with all cities in the Southern Caucasus region, it is very important that you have a copy of your visa support documents with you when entering and leaving the region otherwise you could face extreme difficulty with the authorities including repeated fines.
Elena Alexandrovna Yashina
Tel: +7 (8312) 19-48-69 , fax: 18-09-55
If you are flying directly into Nizhnii Novgorod from outside of Russia, for example from Vienna, and wish to use a tourist visa, this now requires a special voucher. Processing time is one business day and the cost is an additional £45.00 on top of the standard visa charge. Please make sure that when ordering you select Nizhnii Novgorod as your arrival city, and enter “flying direct” into the comments box.
This new voucher does not apply if you are using a business visa, or travelling to Nizhni Novgograd from a Russian city.
Please note that all foreigners staying in the city of Nizhni Novgorod for more than 7 days are required to have an HIV test in order to obtain local registration. This test is to be processed in the UK and an International Medical Certificate obtained or in Nizhny Novgorod at 20E, Minina Street. Phone numbers: (8312) 195-483 or 199-549. This also applies to people staying at hotels.
While Novosibirsk is not technically a “restricted” city, we have had reports from clients who have had difficulty registering their visas with the local OVIR. As we currently do not have a partner in Novosibirsk you should either register before you arrive (for example in Moscow), or, check in to a local hotel. We have been informed that the “Siba Hotel” will register your visa for the full duration of your stay for the cost of one night for their cheapest room.
Norilsk is a closed city for foreigners and you need to obtain a business invitation from a local organisation to avoid the risk of being turned away at the local airport. You should not use a tourist visa under any circumstances.
Tel/Fax: +7 (3812) 535555
Tel: +7 (921) 7002543 , fax: +7 (8814) 2558201
Oleg Yuryevich Morozov
Tel/fax: +7 (4152) 258530 , 115011
Tel/fax: +7 (87933) 63411
It is very important that you have a copy of your visa support documents if entering Piatigorsk or the surrounding area through the airport at Mineralnye Vode that you have a copy of your visa support documents with you otherwise you will have extreme difficulty with the authorities including repeated fines and even detention or deportation.
Tourist registration costs 500 Roubles.
Tel/fax: +7 (8632) 698057
We also have received the following information from Tony J (thanks Tony) with regards to registering in Rostov-on-Don:
“It turns out there's a little hotel that's happy to register anybody for 600 roubles — no need to stay there. And they'll leave the registration date open-ended so you can fill in whatever ending date you want. Here's the details: Starry Rostov (Old Rostov) ph.262-52-94 Rostov-na-Donu, Turgenevskaya 32.”
Tel: + 7(864) 310 00 00
Sahalin Travel Group
Tel: +7 (4242) 727288
If you are travelling to the Uzhno-Sachalinsk / Sakhalin region note that this is a place of restricted passport control.
The Sakhalin local Authorities (Migration Department) exercise close control over all building sites, plant facilities, and other places where foreign citizens can work. If the Authorities find a foreign citizen working there on a business visa invitation processed by some “non local” company they will deport these people. At the same time the Sakhalin Authorities will apply sanctions to the company that processed business invitations and also to the Sakhalin company that invited the foreign citizens for work.
Certainly, foreign citizens can enter Sakhalin on business visas provided by All Russian Visas if they intend to take a part in meetings, negotiations, conferences, etc. but not for work!
As such we may contact you to confirm the exact nature of your business in the region to avoid any potential problems.
Tel: +7 (8652) 947 218
While Vladimir is not technically a “restricted” city, we have had reports from clients who have had difficulty registering their visas with the local OVIR in the surrounding areas when staying at private apartments as well as some difficulties in Vladimir itself.
As we currently do not have a registration partner in Vladimir you should either register before you arrive (for example in Moscow), or, check in to a local hotel. It is recommend that if possible you request your registration support letter before you travel to Vladimir to avoid any potential problems at the OVIR.
Tel: +7 (4232) 454465 , fax: 459483
While Vologda is not technically a “restricted city” the local authorities only allow hotels to register their foreign clients for a maximum of three (3) days. For registration periods over three days the inviting organisation needs to provide:
- A copy of the passport of the General Director
- A copy of invited persons passport
- The registration form with the original inviting company stamp
- A company letter stating that the inviting company will take all responsibility for the invited person during their stay in Russia
Conditions one and two are not so bad.
Condition three is difficult and would involve additional costs as our companies are based in Moscow and St Petersburg and the registration form would need to be couriered about Russia to get the stamp.
Condition four is not possible for our or almost any other Russian company to provide and you should consider this information when organising trips to this area.
Update July 2007: A client reported that his hotel in Vologda registered him for three days at a time each time his registration “expired”.
If you have a one or three month visa (tourist or business), you may stay in Russia for the entire validity period of the visa.
If you have a multiple entry visa then you are restricted to staying in Russia for a total of 90 days in a 180 day window. This 180 window starts from the first day that you use the visa.
Please remember, if you have a double or multiple entry visa, then you will need to renew your registration if you re-enter Russia.
Please note that effective 01.06.07 according to new Russian migration laws and dependent upon your nationality there may be further restrictions on how long you can stay in Russia during any specific periods and this restriction, if it applies, will be written into the visa.
In theory you should register your visa when you arrive in a city, or town within three working days. So, if you arrive in Moscow and stay for 4 days and move on to St. Petersburg for 4 days then you need to obtain a registration stamp in both cities.
If you are not staying in a city or town for three working days then there is no “technical” need to register, however, if you have the chance to do so easily then you should do so as it avoids any potential problems with “gaps” in your registration.
Where you have been travelling between cities you should keep copies of any tickets to show the period of the journey if requested to explain gaps in the registration.
If you arrive in Russia and then continue to transit to your final destination without the chance to register your visa, for example arrive in Moscow on a Saturday and taking the Sunday train from Moscow through to Vladivostok which takes over 6 days, then you should keep copies of your plane, rail or other travel tickets and show these to any official who asks to show why you could not register.
When you arrive at your final destination or if you have a chance en-route then please ensure that you register your visa as soon as possible.
When you cross the border into Russia, for example by air from London into Moscow or overland by train from Helsinki into St Petersburg, then you will be given a migration card which you will need to complete. The card is in two parts, part “A” and “B”, and both parts need to be completed (in block capitals) before you go through passport control.
Part “A” of the card will be kept by passport control on entry and part “B” is returned to you with an entry stamp on it — do not lose this card and keep it with your passport at all times. When you leave Russia you need to present passport control with part “B” of your migration card containing your entry stamp, and, if required, your registration stamp(s) from the hotel or UFMS.
If you have failed to register your visa correctly or lost your migration card, then you may have problems with passport control when leaving Russia including fines of up to £1,000.
|Part "B" of a migration card showing an entry stamp||UFMS registration stamp on the rear of part "B" of a migration card|
In some cases, the migration card may only be in Russian and not have an English translation and you may find the following sample form below useful.
|Sample migration card only in Russian with English translation of text|
The notification of arrival form is a form that is required if you are not staying in a hotel and is filled in either in our office in Moscow or St. Petersburg if we are registering your visa for you, or at the local UFMS if you are registering your own visa. The form is entirely in Russian and if you do not speak Russian then it would be useful for you to have either your hosts or Russian speaking friends help you to complete it. A sample of the form may be viewed by clicking here and remember that if you are printing this out for use later that it needs to be double sided on a single sheet of paper with the “tear off” registration slip aligned on each side.
The form contains personal information and data about you, your trip to Russia, your passport and visa details, the address and details of your receiving party (hosts) and details of your inviting organisation.
When this information is completed, at the UFMS they will tear off the bottom part of the form and give this to you, this forms your registration and you should keep it with your passport and migration card at all times.
When you leave Russia, the day before you should either return the tear off slip to your host or our office so they may return this to the UFMS for you to “de-register” your visa. Remember, that if you do not de-register your visa then you may face fines when leaving Russia or difficulty obtaining another visa for your next trip. If you re-enter Russia again, even using the same visa then you will need to register your visa again.
|Tear off registration slip showing “host” or "receiving person details" and UFMS stamp.|