Caution
October 19, 2023

Worldwide Caution

Update
January 10, 2024

Information for U.S. Citizens in the Middle East

Intercountry Adoption

English

Country Information

Russia

Russian Federation
Russian Federation
Do not travel to Russia due to the unpredictable consequences of the unprovoked full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russian military forces, the potential for harassment and the singling out of U.S. citizens for detention by Russian government security officials, the arbitrary enforcement of local law, limited flights into and out of Russia, the Embassy’s limited ability to assist U.S. citizens in Russia, and the possibility of terrorism. U.S. citizens residing or travelling in Russia should depart immediately. Exercise increased caution due to the risk of wrongful detentions.

Updated to remove COVID-specific information and the kidnapping risk indicator as well as updates to security risks.

Do not travel to Russia due to the unpredictable consequences of the unprovoked full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russian military forces, the potential for harassment and the singling out of U.S. citizens for detention by Russian government security officials, the arbitrary enforcement of local lawlimited flights into and out of Russia, the Embassy’s limited ability to assist U.S. citizens in Russia, and the possibility of terrorismU.S. citizens residing or travelling in Russia should depart immediately. Exercise increased caution due to the risk of wrongful detentions.

The U.S. government’s ability to provide routine or emergency services to U.S. citizens in Russia is severely limited, particularly in areas far from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, due to Russian government limitations on travel for embassy personnel and staffing, and the ongoing suspension of operations, including consular services, at U.S. consulates.

There have been numerous reports of drone attacks, explosions, and fires in areas in Western and Southern Russia, particularly near the Russian border with Ukraine, as well as in Moscow and St. Petersburg. In the event of an emergency, U.S. citizens should follow instructions from local authorities and seek shelter immediately.

In September 2022, the Russian government mobilized citizens to the armed forces in support of its invasion of Ukraine. Russia may refuse to acknowledge dual nationals’ U.S. citizenship, deny their access to U.S. consular assistance, subject them to mobilization, prevent their departure from Russia, and/or conscript them. 

U.S. citizens should note that U.S. credit and debit cards no longer work in Russia, and options to electronically transfer funds from the United States are extremely limited due to sanctions imposed on Russian banks. There are reports of cash shortages within Russia.

Commercial flight options are extremely limited and are often unavailable on short notice. If you wish to depart Russia, you should make independent arrangements as soon as possible. The U.S. Embassy has severe limitations on its ability to assist U.S. citizens to depart the country and transportation options may suddenly become even more limited. Click here for Information for U.S. Citizens Seeking to Depart Russia.

U.S. Embassy personnel are generally not permitted to travel on Russian air carriers due to safety concerns.  The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) downgraded the air safety rating for Russia from Category 1 to Category 2 on April 21, 2022, due to Russia’s Federal Agency for Air Transport noncompliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) safety standards.  The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) prohibiting U.S. aviation operations into, out of, within, or over those areas of the Moscow Flight Information Region (FIR), the Samara FIR (UWWW) and the Rostov-na-Donu (URRV) FIR within 160NM of the boundaries of the Dnipro (UKDV) Flight Information Regions. For more information, U.S. citizens should consult the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions, and Notices.

The right of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression are not consistently protected in Russia. U.S. citizens should avoid all political or social protests and not photograph security personnel at these events. Russian authorities have arrested U.S. citizens who have participated in demonstrations and there are numerous reports Russian nationals have been detained for social media activity. 

Country Summary:

U.S. citizens, including former and current U.S. government and military personnel and private citizens engaged in business who are visiting or residing in Russia, have been interrogated without cause and threatened by Russian officials, and may become victims of harassment, mistreatment, and extortion. 

Russian security services may fail to notify the U.S. Embassy of the detention of a U.S. citizen and unreasonably delay U.S. consular assistance. Russian security services are increasing the arbitrary enforcement of local laws to target foreign and international organizations they consider “undesirable.”

Russian security services have arrested U.S. citizens on spurious charges, singled out U.S. citizens in Russia for detention and harassment, denied them fair and transparent treatment, and convicted them in secret trials or without presenting credible evidence. Furthermore, Russian authorities arbitrarily enforce local laws against U.S. citizen religious workers and have opened questionable criminal investigations against U.S. citizens engaged in religious activity. U.S. citizens should avoid travel to Russia to perform work for or volunteer with non-governmental organizations or religious organizations.

There have been multiple security incidents in southwestern Russia related to Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine. The Russian government declared martial law in Russia’s regions bordering Ukraine (Bryansk, Kursk, Belgorod, Voronezh, Rostov, Krasnodar) on October 20, 2022. The martial law regime allows the rapid introduction of restrictive measures such as curfew, seizure of private property, restriction of entry/exit and freedom of movement, internment of foreigners, forced relocation of local residents, and restrictions on public gatherings. U.S. citizens should avoid all travel to these areas.

Recent legislation has expanded the ability of Russian authorities to detain, question, and arrest individuals suspected of acting against Russia’s interests, including posts on personal social media accounts, engaging with foreign and international entities, discrediting the Russian state or military, as well as advocating for the rights of LGBTQI+ persons.

Terrorist groups, both transnational and local terrorist organizations, and individuals inspired by extremist ideology continue plotting possible attacks in Russia. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs and systems, markets/shopping malls, local government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, major sporting and cultural events, educational institutions, airports, and other public areas. Travel to the North Caucasus (including Chechnya and Mt. Elbrus) is prohibited for U.S. government employees and strongly discouraged for U.S. citizens.

The international community, including the United States and Ukraine, does not recognize Russia’s purported annexation of Crimea as well as four other Ukrainian oblasts – Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhya – that Russia has purported to annex more recently. There is extensive Russian Federation military presence in these areas. Russia staged its further invasion of Ukraine, in part, from occupied Crimea, and Russia is likely to take further military actions in Crimea, and the four other Ukrainian oblasts are the subject of intensive fighting. There are continuing abuses against foreigners and the local population by the occupation authorities in these regions, particularly against those who are seen as challenging Russia’s authority.

The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv continues to provide consular services to U.S. citizens in Crimea as well as four other Ukrainian oblasts partially occupied by Russia – Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhya, although the ongoing conflict severely restricts the Embassy’s ability to provide services in these areas.

Read the country information page for additional information on travel to Russia.

If you decide to travel to Russia:

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Hague Convention Participation

Hague Adoption Convention Country?
No
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Intercountry adoptions are not currently possible between Russia and the United States. Russian Federal law No 272-FZ remains in place banning the adoption of Russian children by U.S. citizens. This law entered into force on January 1, 2013. It bans the adoption of Russian children by U.S. citizens, bars adoption service providers from assisting U.S. citizens in adopting Russian children, and required the termination of the 2012 U.S.-Russia Adoption Agreement. The Russian Supreme Court issued a letter to city and regional courts on January 22, 2013 explaining the implementation of Federal Law No. 272-FZ. The letter states that adoptions of Russian children by U.S. citizens may be completed only in those cases in which adoption orders were made before January 1, 2013, (including those that became final after January 1, 2013 following the 30-day waiting period). The U.S.-Russia Adoption Agreement was terminated on January 1, 2014. Additionally, on July 2, 2013 Russian Federal Law No. 167-FZ entered into force banning the adoption, custody, or patronage of children by same-sex couples and also to singles living in countries where same-sex marriage is allowed. Effective May 15, 2018, Russia’s adoption authority changed to the Ministry of Education. Previously, the Ministry of Education and Science held jurisdiction over guardianship and adoption issues. Please see the following web page for more information: http://government.ru/info/32614/.

Hague Convention Information

Russia is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Intercountry adoptions of children from non-Hague countries are processed in accordance with 8 Code of Federal Regulations, Section  204.3 as it relates to orphans as defined under the Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 101(b)(1)(F).

Russian Federal law No 272-FZ remains in place banning the adoption of Russian children by U.S. citizens.

This law entered into force on January 1, 2013. It bans the adoption of Russian children by U.S. citizens, bars adoption service providers from assisting U.S. citizens in adopting Russian children, and required the termination of the 2012 U.S.-Russia Adoption Agreement. The Russian Supreme Court issued a letter to city and regional courts on January 22, 2013 explaining the implementation of Federal Law No. 272-FZ. The letter states that adoptions of Russian children by U.S. citizens may be completed only in those cases in which adoption orders were made before January 1, 2013, (including those that became final after January 1, 2013 following the 30-day waiting period). The U.S.-Russia Adoption Agreement was terminated on January 1, 2014.

Additionally, on July 2, 2013 Russian Federal Law No. 167-FZ entered into force banning the adoption, custody, or patronage of children by same-sex couples and also to singles living in countries where same-sex marriage is allowed.

AFTER ADOPTION

The Government of Russia requires children adopted from Russia to be registered with either the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) before they leave Russia or with the Russian Embassy or Consulate once they arrive in the United States.

Russia requires four post-adoption reports to provide information regarding the welfare of children adopted by U.S. families. We strongly urge parents with children adopted from Russia to comply with Russia’s post-adoption requirements in a timely manner. Your adoption agency may be able to help you with this process.

  • The initial post-adoption home study should be done at least five months after the court order granting adoption goes into effect, and the post-adoption report is due no later than the end of the seventh month.
  • The second post-adoption home study should be done at eleven months after the court order granting adoption goes into effect, and the post-adoption report is due no later than the end of the 13th month after the court order.
  • The third post-adoption home study should be done 23 months after the court order granting adoption goes into effect, and the post-adoption report is due no later than the end of the 25th month after the court order.
  • The fourth post-adoption home study should be done 35 months after the court order granting adoption goes into effect, and the post-adoption report is due no later than the end of the 37th month after the court order.

Reports should be prepared in accordance with the requirements established by the Russian government and as agreed to during the adoption process. All reports should be translated into Russian. Reports may be submitted either to the Ministry of Education and Science at the following address or to the regional authorities where the adoption was completed. The Ministry’s address is below. For contact information for the regional authorities, please see our Russian Regional Authorities Contact List.

     Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation
     Department of State Policy for the Protection of Children’s Rights
     51 Lysinovskaya St.
     Moscow, 115998

Post - Adoption Resources
Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption.  There are many public and private nonprofit post-adoption services available for children and their families. There are also numerous adoptive family support groups and adoptee organizations active in the United States that provide a network of options for adoptees who seek out other adoptees from the same country of origin.  Take advantage of all the resources available to your family— whether it is another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.

Here are some places to start your support group search:

Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.

Contact Information

U.S. Embassy in Russia
Address: #21 Novinsky Blvd.
Moscow, Russia 123242
Tel: 728-5000 switchboard
728-5567 (orphan visas)
Fax: 728-5247 (orphans only)
Internet: ru.usembassy.gov/

Russia’s Adoption Authority
Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation
Department of State Policy for the Protection of Children’s Right
Address: 51 Lysinovskaya St.
Moscow, 115998

Embassy of the Russian Federation
Address: 2650 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20007
Tel: 202-298-5700
Fax: 202-298-5735
Internet:   https://washington.mid.ru/en/

Russia also has consulates in: New York and Houston

Office of Children’s Issues
U.S. Department of State
CA/OCS/CI, SA-17A, 9th Floor
Washington, D.C.  20522-1709
Tel: 1-888-407-4747
Email: Adoption@state.gov
Internet: adoption.state.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about filing a Form I-800A application or a Form I-800 petition:
USCIS National Benefits Center (NBC):
Tel: 1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-913-275-5480 (local); Fax: 1-913-214-5808
Email: NBC.Adoptions@uscis.dhs.gov

For general questions about immigration procedures:
USCIS Contact Center
Tel: 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
Internet: uscis.gov

Last Updated: March 17, 2021

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Moscow
Bolshoy Deviatinsky Pereulok No. 8
Moscow 121099, Russian Federation
Telephone
+(7) (495) 728-5000
Emergency
+(7) (495) 728-5000
Fax
+(7) (495) 728-5084

Russian Federation Map