International Parental Child Abduction

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Country Information

Russia

Russian Federation
Russian Federation
Reconsider travel to Russia due to terrorism and harassment. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory

Reconsider travel to Russia due to terrorism and harassment. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Do not travel to:

  • The north Caucasus, including Chechnya and Mount Elbrus, due to civil unrest and terrorism.
  • Crimea due to foreign occupation and abuses by occupying authorities.

Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Russia. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities. Bomb threats against public venues are common.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup games will be held in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, Sochi, Volgograd, Yekaterinburg, Kaliningrad, Nizhny Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don, Samara, and Saransk, Russia, from June 14 to July 15, 2018. Large-scale international events such as the World Cup present an attractive target for terrorists. Although security for the World Cup will be extensive, terrorists may seek to attack event locations such as stadiums and Fan Fest viewing areas, tourist sites, transportation hubs, and other public venues. Travelers should expect increased police presence and enhanced security measures in and around the World Cup venues. Full information about the World Cup games for U.S. citizen visitors is available on our Travel.state.gov website.

U.S. citizens are often victims of harassment, mistreatment, and extortion by law-enforcement and other officials. U.S. consular assistance to detained individuals is often unreasonably delayed by Russian officials. Russia also enforces special restrictions on dual U.S.-Russian nationals. Due to the Russian government-imposed reduction on U.S. diplomatic personnel in Russia, the U.S. government has reduced ability to provide services to U.S. citizens.

Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.

If you decide to travel to Russia:

  • Travelers should expect increased police presence and enhanced security measures in and around the World Cup venues and Fan Fest viewing areas.
  • Avoid demonstrations.
  • Monitor local media for breaking events and adjust your plans based on news information.
  • Stay alert in locations frequented by Westerners.
  • Have travel documents up to date and easily accessible.
  • Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter
  • Review the Crime and Safety Reports for Russia.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations and a plan to contact family to let them know you are safe. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

North Caucasus (including Chechnya and Mount Elbrus)

Civil unrest and terrorist attacks continue throughout the North Caucasus region including in Chechnya, North Ossetia, Ingushetia, Dagestan, Stavropol, Karachayevo-Cherkessiya, and Kabardino-Balkariya. Local gangs have kidnapped U.S. citizens and other foreigners for ransom. There have been credible reports of arrest, torture, and extrajudicial killing of gay men in Chechnya allegedly conducted by Chechen regional authorities.

Do not attempt to climb Mount Elbrus, as travelers must pass close to volatile and insecure areas of the North Caucasus region.

The U.S. government is unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens traveling in the North Caucasus region, including Mount Elbrus, as U.S. government employees are prohibited from traveling to the region.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Crimea

There is extensive Russian Federation military presence in Crimea. The Russian Federation is likely to take further military actions in Crimea as part of its occupation of this part of Ukraine. The international community, including the United States and Ukraine, does not recognize Russia’s purported annexation of Crimea. There are continuing abuses against foreigners and the local population by the occupation authorities in Crimea, particularly against those who are seen as challenging their authority on the peninsula.

The U.S. government is unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens traveling in Crimea as U.S. government employees are prohibited from traveling to Crimea.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas

... [READ MORE]
Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
No
What You Can Do
Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US
ALL /
ALL /
Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Moscow

Bolshoy Deviatinsky Pereulok No. 8
Moscow 121099, Russian Federation
Telephone:
+(7) (495) 728-5000 or +(7) (495) 728-5577
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(7) (495) 728-5000
Fax: +(7) (495) 728-5084
moscowacs@state.gov

Due to the Russian government’s ordered closure of the U.S. Consulate General, U.S. citizen visitors and residents in the St. Petersburg’s should contact the U.S. Embassy in Moscow for all emergency assistance and routine services, including notary services, passport renewals, and Consular Report of Birth Abroad 

Consulates

U.S. Consulate General St. Petersburg

Due to the Russian government’s ordered closure of the U.S. Consulate General, effective March 31, 2018 we are no longer able to provide services to U.S. citizens in St. Petersburg. 

U.S. Consulate General Vladivostok
32 Ulitsa Pushkinskaya,
Vladivostok 690001
Russian Federation
Telephone:
+(7) (4232) 300-070
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(7) (914) 791-0067
Fax: +(7) (4232) 300-091

U.S. Consulate General Yekaterinburg
Ulitsa Gogolya 15a,
4th floor, Yekaterinburg 620151
Russian Federation
Telephone:
+(7) (343) 379-3001
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(7) 917-569-3549
Fax: +(7) (343) 379-4515

General Information

For information concerning travel to Russia, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Russia.   

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

 

Hague Abduction Convention

Russia acceded to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention) on October 1, 2011; however, the United States and Russia are not yet treaty partners.  Until Russia and the United States establish a treaty relationship per Article 38 of the Convention, parents whose children have been abducted from the United States to Russia or wrongfully retained in Russia are unable to invoke the Convention to pursue their children's return or to seek access to them.

Return

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Russia and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances. 

The Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children's Issues provides assistance in cases of international parental child abduction.  For U.S. citizen parents whose children have been wrongfully removed to or retained in countries that are not U.S. partners under the Hague Abduction Convention, the Office of Children's Issues can provide information and resources about country-specific options for pursuing the return of or access to an abducted child.  The Office of Children's Issues may also coordinate with appropriate foreign and U.S. government authorities about the welfare of abducted U.S. citizen children.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance.

Contact information:

Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
Website
Email: AskCI@state.gov

Parental child abduction is not a crime in Russia.  A parent or guardian must file a missing person report with the Russian police in order for the Ministry of the Interior (MVD) to take action.  The Federal Bailiff's Service will assist with enforcement if a parent obtains a Russian court order granting custody or visitation.

Parents may wish to consult with an attorney in the United States and in the country to which the child has been removed or retained to learn more about how filing criminal charges may impact a custody case in the foreign court.  Please see Possible Solutions - Pressing Criminal Charges for more information. 

Visitation/Access

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Russia and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances.

The Office of Children's Issues may be able to assist parents seeking access to children who have been wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States.   Parents who are seeking access to children who were not wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States should contact the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Russia for information and possible assistance.

Retaining an Attorney

Neither the Office of Children's Issues nor consular officials at the U.S. Embassy or Consulates in Russia are authorized to provide legal advice.

The U.S. Embassy in Moscow, Russia, posts a list of attorneys, including those who specialize in family law and here

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the persons or firms included in this list. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

Mediation

Mediation is not a recognized legal process used in custody disputes in Russia, although local religious organizations may provide informal services.

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.  For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Last Updated: December 1, 2012

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Moscow
Bolshoy Deviatinsky Pereulok No. 8
Moscow 121099, Russian Federation
Telephone
+(7) (495) 728-5000 or +(7) (495) 728-5577
Emergency
+(7) (495) 728-5000
Fax
+(7) (495) 728-5084
Russian Federation Map