Travel Warnings: Issued when Protracted situations make a country dangerous or unstable. Defer or reconsider travel.
Travel Alerts: Issued when short-term conditions pose imminent threats. Defer or reconsider travel.
Embassy Messages: Issued when local security issues arise.
Bolshoy Deviatinsky Pereulok No. 8
(Consular Section located at Novinskiy Bulvar 21)
Moscow 121099, Russian Federation
Required six months beyond intended stay
2 pages per stamp
$10,000 or more must be declared
You may export up to $3,000 (or equivalent) without declaring it.
The Russian authorities strictly enforce all visa and immigration laws. The Embassy of the Russian Federation website provides the most up-to-date information regarding visa regulations and requirements. In accordance with Russia’s Entry-Exit Law, Russian authorities have denied entry or reentry into Russia for five years or more, and have canceled the visas of foreigners who have committed one or more “administrative violations.” Russian visas are issued for a very specific, limited purpose based on the invitation of a Russian “sponsor.” Foreigners engaging in activities that are not specifically covered by the sponsor’s invitation and the traveler’s visa have been cited with administrative violations and deported.
Important Visa and Registration Facts:
Under a U.S.-Russia bilateral agreement signed in 2012, qualified U.S. applicants for humanitarian, private, tourist, and business visas are entitled to request and receive multiple-entry visas with a validity of three years. Visas issued under the Agreement permit stays in the territory of the Russian Federation for up to six consecutive months. Other types of visas are not part of the agreement. Those visa holders should pay close attention to the terms of their visas.
World Cup: Passport Registration During the 2018 World Cup: (May 25 – July 25, 2018). Russian authorities will issue “fan passports” to those who have purchased tickets to the World Cup matches. Individuals bearing “fan passports” must meet the following requirements: Fans must register with the Russian migration authorities within 24 hours of their arrival in a city where matches are to be held (instead of the normal seven business days. Normally your hotel or hostel will register you.) Travelers on “fan passports” staying somewhere other than an official hotel or hostel in a city hosting games -- Volgograd, Yekaterinburg, Kazan, Kaliningrad, Nizhniy Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don, Samara, Moscow, Saransk, St. Petersburg, and Sochi -- are required to register with Federal Migration Service Office within 24 hours.
Dual Nationals: U.S.-Russian dual nationals who return to Russia on a “Repatriation Certificate” are only permitted to enter Russia; you will not be permitted to depart Russia until you obtain a valid Russian passport.
Travelers in Transit: We recommend that all passengers transiting through Russia obtain a Russian transit visa.
Students and English teachers must be certain that their activities comply fully with their visa type. Students must never teach or coach English, whether for pay or not. The Russian authorities have held that teaching English without a specific visa that permits it is a violation of status. They have detained and deported U.S. citizens who have done this.
Passengers of Cruise Ships and Ferries in St. Petersburg, Vladivostok, and other ports are permitted to stay in Russia for 72 hours without a visa when accompanied by a tour operator licensed by Russian authorities.
Active Duty and Retired U.S. Military: Active duty, reserve, and retired U.S. military members have experienced targeted harassment by Russian authorities because of their military service. This occurs frequently with U.S. military personnel disembarking cruise ships in Saint Petersburg.
Travelers Who Have Recently Undergone Nuclear Medical Therapy: If you have recently undergone nuclear medical therapy, such as radioactive iodine treatment for Graves’ disease, you should carry a letter of explanation from your physician translated into Russian. This is because radiation detection devices used at ports of entry can detect small radiation levels and positive results may result in detention of the traveler.
Faith-Based Travelers: Russian authorities have detained, fined, and, in some cases, deported travelers for engaging in what they consider to be impermissible “religious activities.” Russia recognizes four “historic” religions: Orthodox Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism.
LGBTI Travelers: Russian law bans providing "the propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" to minors. Violators face fines, up to 15 days in jail, and deportation. The law is vague as to what Russia considers propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations.
Documentary Requirements: Review the Embassy of the Russian Federation or the Russian Consulates General websites for detailed explanations of documentary requirements. The following are the most frequently requested documents:
HIV/AIDS Entry Restrictions: Some HIV/AIDS entry restrictions exist for visitors to and foreign residents of Russia. Applicants for longer-term tourist and work visas or residence permits are required to undergo an HIV/AIDS test. The Russian government may also ask these applicants to undergo tests for tuberculosis and leprosy. Travelers who believe they may be subject to these requirements should verify this information with the Embassy of the Russian Federation.
Do not travel to Chechnya or any other areas in the North Caucasus region.
Do not travel to Crimea:
Terrorism: Credible information indicates terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Europe. European governments are taking action to guard against terrorist attacks; however, all European countries remain potentially vulnerable to attacks from transnational terrorist organizations.
Persons visiting or living in Russia are vulnerable to attacks by transnational and local terrorist organizations.
North Caucasus Region: Civil and political unrest continues throughout the North Caucasus region, including Chechnya, North Ossetia, Ingushetia, Dagestan, Stavropol, Karachayevo-Cherkessiya, and Kabardino-Balkariya. Local criminal gangs have kidnapped foreigners, including U.S. citizens, for ransom.
Harassment: Foreigners have been victims of harassment, mistreatment, and extortion by law-enforcement and other officials.
Be alert to other criminal schemes, such as:
Internet Dating Scams: U.S. citizens have lost thousands of dollars to romantic “partners” met online who feign distress to persuade U.S. citizens to send money. Never send money to anyone you have not met in person. Please review our information on International Financial Scams.
Airport Scams: Con artists ask individuals to watch their bags, then extorts money or other valuables to avoid hassle with the police. Never agree to watch a stranger’s bag.
Crimes Involving Businesses: Extortion and corruption are common in the business environment. Business disputes may involve threats of or even acts of violence. Organized criminal groups, and occasionally even local police, target foreign businesses in many cities and have been known to demand protection money.
Victims of Crime: Report crimes to the local police at 02 or 102, or 112 if using a mobile phone, and the U.S. Embassy at +7 495 728-5000, or the nearest consulate at the telephone numbers listed above in the Embassies and Consulates section. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime. United States law enforcement agencies do not have jurisdiction to investigate crimes against U.S. citizens that occur on Russian territory.
See our webpage: help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence should contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance.
For further information:
Medical care in most areas of Russia is below Western standards. Recent Russian budget cuts have resulted in poor access to medical care and a persistent shortage of doctors. Moscow and St. Petersburg facilities have higher standards but do not accept all cases and require cash or credit card payment at Western rates.
The following diseases are prevalent:
Vaccinations: Be prepared to show documentation that all travelers are fully up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the “yellow book).”
Further health information:
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be arrested, fined, imprisoned, or expelled and may be banned from re-entering Russia.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested, ask the police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy or Consulate immediately. See our webpage for further information.
Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Getting around in Russia is often difficult for persons with mobility issues. In general, public transportation is not accommodating to people with disabilities. The Moscow Metro is generally not accessible to persons with disabilities.
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Road Conditions and Safety: Road conditions and driver safety customs differ significantly from those in the United States.
Traffic Laws: Russian authorities consider traffic or parking infractions as “administrative violations” that can result in deportation and denial of entry back to Russia at a later date. This is an increasingly frequent occurrence.
See our Road Safety page for more information.
Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed that the Government of Russia's Civil Aviation Authority is in compliance with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Russia's air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA's safety assessment page.
Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Russia should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts at www.marad.dot.gov/msci. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website (https:homeport.uscg.mil, and the NGA broadcast warnings website; select “broadcast warnings.”