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International Travel

English

Country Information

Russia

Country Information

Russian Federation
Russian Federation
Last Updated: October 20, 2017
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Embassy Messages
Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

Required six months beyond intended stay

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

2 pages per stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

Yes

VACCINATIONS:

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

$10,000 or more must be declared

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

You may export up to $3,000 (or equivalent) without declaring it.

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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Moscow

Bolshoy Deviatinsky Pereulok No. 8
(Consular Section located at Novinskiy Bulvar 21)
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

Consulates

U.S. Consulate General St. Petersburg
15 Ulitsa Furshtadtskaya,
St. Petersburg 191028
Russian Federation
Telephone: +(7) (812) 331-2600
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(7) (912) 939-5794
Fax: +(7) (812) 331-2646

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) 89-17-56-93-549
Fax: +(7) (343) 379-4515

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Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Russia for information on U.S. - Russia relations.

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Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

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 may deny entry or reentry into Russia for 5 years or more and cancel the visas of foreigners who have committed two “administrative” violations within the past three years. Activities that are not specifically covered by the traveler’s visa may result in an administrative violation and deportation.

Passport Registration During the Confederation Cup: In connection with the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup event to be held in Moscow, starting June 1, there will be some temporary changes in the process of passport registration. This change will affect non-Russian domestic employees and guests holding non-Embassy sponsored visas. These visitors must register with the Federal Migration Service Office (FMS) within 24 hours upon their arrival in the country, instead of the normal 7 business days.

If you are staying at alternative lodging somewhere other than an official hotel or hostel in a city hosting games Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, or Sochi, you are required to register with Federal Migrations Service Office within ONE BUSINESS DAY during the Confederations Cup.

This temporary change of registration procedures is in effect June 1 – July 12, 2017. These temporary procedures do not apply to those travelers holding diplomatic and official visas, nor to travelers with guest of embassy visas.

Under a bilateral agreement signed in 2012, qualified U.S. applicants for humanitarian, private, tourist, and business visas should request and receive multiple-entry visas with a validity of three years. Visas issued under the agreement permits stays in the territory of the Russian Federation for up to six consecutive months. (Please note that other types of visas are not part of the agreement and those visa holders should pay close attention to the terms of their visas.) You must exit Russia before  your visa expires. The maximum period of stay is shown on the visa.

  • You must have a current U.S. passport with the appropriate visa. Russian visas in an expired or canceled passport are not valid.
  • Foreigners entering Russia will be fingerprinted.
  • You must obtain a valid visa for your specific purpose of travel before arriving in Russia, unless you are arriving as a cruise ship passenger (see below information for passengers of cruise ships and ferries). Do not attempt to enter Russia before the date shown on your visa. If you are staying in Russia for more than 7 days you must register your visa and migration card with the General Administration for Migration Issues of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
  • For a foreigner to receive a Russian visa, there must be a Russian sponsoring organization or individual.
  • You must list all areas in Russia that you intend to visit on your visa application. You will be arrested if you enter a restricted area, so it is vital that you include all destinations on your visa application. There is no centralized list or database of the restricted areas, so travelers should check with their sponsor, hotel, or the nearest office of the FMS before traveling to unfamiliar cities and towns.
  • You must carry your passport with you at all times. Russian police have the authority to stop people and request identity and travel documents at any time.
  • Migration cards must be carried at all times while in Russia. A “migration card” is the white paper document given by the border police on first entry to Russia. If you lose your migration card you should ask your sponsor to assist you in reporting it to FMS and request a replacement.
  • Do not enter before the date shown on your visa, and do not remain in Russia beyond the date your visa expires. Violations of even an hour have led to penalties.
  • Transit visas: We recommend that all passengers transiting through Russia obtain a Russian transit visa.
    • With the exceptions noted below, travelers will not require a transit visa if they are transiting through an international airport in Russia, do not leave the Customs zone, and depart from the same airport within 24 hours. Please note the following exceptions.
    • Travelers should note that Sheremetyevo Airport terminals D, E, and F include transit zones and do not require transit visas.  If however, a passenger arrives at D, E, or F but departs from Sheremetyevo terminal C, a transit visa is required. Sheremetyevo terminal C is located six kilometers away from the other terminals.
    • Travelers must have a Russian transit visa if they plan to transit through Russia by land en route to a third country or if they transfer to another airport.
    • Travelers must possess a Russian transit visa in addition to a Belarusian visa if their travel route either to or from Belarus goes through Russia.

Anyone entering Russia who has claim to Russian citizenship, regardless of any other citizenship held, is fully accountable to the Russian authorities for all obligations of a citizen, including the required military service.

  • U.S.-Russian dual nationals and Russian citizens who are Legal Permanent residents of the United States must register their dual nationality/foreign residency. Registration forms and further information (in Russian only) can be found on the website of the General Administration for Migration Issues of the Interior Ministry of Russia.
  • U.S.-Russian dual nationals must both enter and exit on a Russian passport. You will not be permitted to depart on an expired passport. Applying for a passport can take several months. 
  • U.S.-Russian dual nationals who return to Russia on a “Repatriation Certificate” are only permitted to enter Russia and will not be permitted to depart Russia until they obtain a valid Russian passport.
  • Students and English teachers should be certain that their activities are in strict keeping with their visa type. Students must not teach or coach English, whether compensated or not, while traveling on a student visa as it is considered a visa violation and may subject you to detention and deportation. 
  • Minors who also have Russian citizenship and are traveling alone or in the company of adults who are not their parents, must carry a Russian passport as well as their parents’ notarized consent for the trip, which can be obtained at  a Russian embassy or consulate, or a U.S. notary public. A consent  obtained in the United States from a U.S. notary public must be apostilled, translated into Russian, and properly affixed. Authorities will prevent such minors from entering or leaving Russia if they cannot present this consent.
  • Passengers of Cruise Ships and Ferries at St. Petersburg and Vladivostok are permitted to stay in Russia for 72 hours without a visa when accompanied by a tour operator licensed by Russian authorities. Ferry schedules may not permit visitors to stay more than two nights without exceeding the 72 hour limit. If you plan to sightsee on your own you must have a tourist visa. A visa is also required if you plan to depart Russia by another mode of transportation. Riverboat cruise passengers must have a visa and must follow the general guidelines for entry/exit requirements. U.S. citizens entering Russia as cruise passengers should be aware that a number of active duty and retired U.S. military members have experienced targeted harassment by the Russian authorities.
  • Crimea: Follow the guidance in the Travel Warning for Ukraine and do not travel to the Crimean Peninsula. 

Documentary Requirements: Consult with the Embassy of the Russian Federation or Consulates General for detailed explanations of documentary requirements.  The following are only a sampling of examples.

  • Tourist Visas: Visa application form, hotel reservation confirmation, contract for provision of tourist services with a tourist organization registered with the Russian Federal Tourism Agency.

  • Business and Humanitarian Visas: Visa application form and written statement from the host organization in Russian, including the following information:
    • Organization's full name, official address, and contact information
    • Full name of the person signing the written statement
    • If the organization is established in the territory of the Russian Federation, the organization's individual taxpayer number
    • Visa applicant's name, date of birth, citizenship, gender, passport number, number of entries sought, purpose of travel, requested period of entry, location of intended residence in Russia, and cities to be visited.
       
  • Private Visas: Visa application form and written statement from the hosting individual notarized by a Russian notary, including the following information:
    • Hosting individual's full name, date of birth, citizenship, gender, passport number, address of registration, and individual's actual residence
    • Visa applicant's name, date of birth, citizenship, gender, passport number, number of entries sought, purpose of travel, requested period of entry, location of intended residence in Russia, and cities to be visited.

The Russian Embassy or Consulate receiving the visa application may ask for additional documentation, including:

  • Bank statement from the applicant
  • Statement from the applicant's employer regarding the applicant's salary for the preceding year, half year, or month
  • Medical insurance valid in Russia and fully covering the period of the first trip
  • Documents regarding the applicant's ownership of property in the United States
  • Certificates verifying family membership (i.e., marriage certificate and children's birth certificates).

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.

Find information on dual nationalityprevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.

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Safety and Security

Terrorism: Persons visiting or living in Russia remain potentially vulnerable to attacks by transnational and local terrorist organizations. 

  • In the last decade, Moscow and St. Petersburg have been the targets of terrorist attacks. Bombings have occurred at Russian government buildings, airports, hotels, tourist sites, markets, entertainment venues, schools, residential complexes, and on public transportation (subways, buses, trains, and scheduled commercial flights). 
  • Bomb threats against public venues are common. If you are at a location that receives a bomb threat, follow all instructions from the local police and security services. 

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.

  • Do not travel to Chechnya or any other areas in the North Caucasus region.
  • If you reside in these areas depart immediately.
  • U.S. government travel to the region is prohibited, due to ongoing security concerns.
  • U.S. Government has no ability to assist U.S. citizens in the North Caucasus Region.

Mt. Elbrus:

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

Crimea:

  • Do not travel to Crimea.
  • U.S. Embassy Kyiv’s Consular section provides services to U.S. citizens in Crimea.
  • The current status of Crimea prevents official Americans from traveling to that area.

Harassment: Foreigners have become victims of harassment, mistreatment, and extortion by law-enforcement and other officials.

  • Police do not need to show probable cause in order to stop, question, or detain individuals.
  • If stopped, obtain the officer's name, badge number, and patrol car number, and note where the stop happened, as this information assists local officials in identifying the perpetrators.
  • Report harassment or crimes to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow or the nearest U.S. Consulate General.

Demonstrations: 

Crime:

  • Crimes against tourists occur at popular tourist sites and on public transportation.
  • Be cautious and aware of your surroundings. U.S. citizens have been victims of serious crimes when visiting Russia.  The ability or willingness of Russian authorities to impartially and thoroughly investigate crimes against Americans is often doubtful. Death cases have resulted in disputed findings. Frequently, criminal gangs collude with the local  police and operate with near impunity.
  • Exercise caution when large crowds have gathered.
  • Be vigilant, as pickpocketing is prevalent in the larger cities.
  • Do not leave bags unattended. Thieves are active on public transportation, underground walkways, the subway, overnight trains, train stations, airports, markets, tourist attractions, and restaurants.
  • Never leave your drink unattended in a bar or club. Drink alcohol in moderation and stay in control.
  • Never agree to go to a bar or club with someone you have just met on the street. Criminals have drugged some travelers at bars, while others have taken strangers back to their lodgings, where they drugged, robbed, and/or assaulted them.
  • Report Credit card or ATM card theft to the credit card company or issuing bank immediately.
  • Avoid carrying large sums of cash. High-profile armed robberies are an almost daily occurrence. The attacks usually take place while the victims are either entering or exiting banks.  These attacks occur throughout Moscow, including in the city center and near the U.S. Embassy. Travelers have also had cash stolen from hotel safes.   
  • Be alert to other criminal schemes, such as:
    • “Turkey Drop” Scams, a street scam in which an individual "accidentally" drops money on the ground in front of an intended victim, while an accomplice either waits for the money to be picked up, or picks up the money him/herself and offers to split it with the pedestrian. Then the victim is accused of stealing the money. Do not  pick up the money. Walk quickly away from the scene.
    • Internet Dating Scams: U.S. citizens have lost thousands of dollars to romantic “partners” met online who feign distress to persuade the American to send money. Never send money to anyone you have not met in person. Please review our information on International Financial Scams.
    • Airport Scams: A con artist asks you to watch his bag, then extorts money or other valuables to avoid hassle with the police. Never agree to watch a bag that belongs to a stranger.
    • 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.

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for additional information on scams.

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 on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

 

We can:

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical
  • support in cases of destitution
  • help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • replace a stolen or lost passport.

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence should contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance.

For further information:

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Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Arrest Notification: If you are detained, ask the police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy or Consulate immediately. Your U.S. passport does not protect you from arrest or prosecution. See our webpage for further information.

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to all Russian laws. If you violate these laws, even unknowingly, you may be arrested, fined, imprisoned, or expelled and may be banned from re-entering Russia. 

Some crimes committed outside the United States are prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

  • You can be arrested, detained, fined, deported and banned for 5 years or more if you are found to have violated Russian immigration law. 
  • Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Russia are severe.  Convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
  • You can be detained for not carrying your passport with you.
  • You can be jailed immediately for driving under the influence of alcohol.
  • It is illegal to pay for goods and services in U.S. dollars, except at authorized retail establishments.
  • You can be arrested for attempting to leave the country with antiques, even if they were legally purchased from licensed vendors. Cultural value items like artwork, icons, samovars, rugs, military medals and antiques, must have certificates indicating they do not have historical or cultural value. You may obtain certificates from the Russian Ministry of Culture.  For further information, please contact the Russian Customs Committee.
  • Retain all receipts for high-value items, including caviar.
  • You must have advance approval to bring in satellite telephones
  • Global Positioning System (GPS) and other radio electronic devices, and their use, are subject to special rules and regulations in Russia. Contact the Russian Customs Service for required permissions.

Faith-Based Travelers: Russian authorities have detained, fined, and in some cases deported travelers for engaging in religious activities. Russian officials have stated that Russia recognizes four “historic” religions: Orthodox Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism. The Russian government places restrictions on so-called “missionary activity” and defines it broadly – travelers engaging in certain types of religious work may risk harassment, detention, fines, or deportation for administrative violations if they do not have proper authorization from a registered religious group.  The Russian government has detained U.S. citizens for religious activities that they contend are not permitted under a tourist visa.  Even speaking at a religious service, traditional or non-traditional, has resulted in immigration violations. See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report.

LGBTI Travelers: Russian law bans providing "the propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" to minors.  Foreign citizens face fines, up to 15 days in jail, and deportation. The law is vague as to what Russia considers propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations.

  • Discrimination based on sexual orientation is widespread in Russia. Acts of violence and harassment targeting LGBTI individuals occur.
  • Government officials have made derogatory comments about LGBTI persons.
  • Violence against the LGBTI community has increased sharply since the law banning propaganda was passed, including entrapment and torture of young gay men by neo-Nazi gangs and the murder of multiple individuals due to their sexual orientation.
  • There have been credible reports of arrest, torture, and extrajudicial killing of gay men in Chechnya allegedly conducted by Chechen regional authorities.  

See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further 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.

  • Many sidewalks are narrow and uneven.
  • Mobility is usually easier in major cities such as Moscow and St. Petersburg.   
  • Crossing streets in large cities can be difficult, since it usually requires the use of a pedestrian underpass which includes stairs, steep ramps, and no elevators.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

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Health

Medical care in most areas of Russia is below Western standards. The Russian authorities have cut hospital bed numbers resulting in increased deaths. The healthcare system budget will be cut 33 % in 2017. Moscow and St. Petersburg facilities may have higher standards but do not accept all cases and require cash or credit card payment at Western rates.

  • Payment is expected at the time of service.
  • The Embassy does not pay the medical bills of private U.S. citizens.
  • U.S. Medicare does not provide coverage outside the United States. 
  • Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage
  • Elderly travelers and those with existing health problems are at risk.
  • Disposable IV supplies, syringes, and needles are standard practice in urban area hospitals. If you plan to travel in remote areas, bring a supply of sterile, disposable syringes and corresponding IV supplies.
  • Do not visit tattoo parlors or piercing services due to the risk of HIV and hepatitis infection.
  • Due to uncertainties in local blood supply, non-essential and elective surgeries are not recommended.

Prescription Medication:

  • Russia prohibits some prescription and over the counter drugs that are legal and commonly used in the United States.
  • Carry a copy of the valid U.S. prescription, including a notarized translation into Russian, when entering Russia with prescription medications. 
  • Prescription medication should be in its original packaging.

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

Most care providers in Russia only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage

The following diseases are prevalent:

  • Tuberculosis
  • HIV/AIDS has reached epidemic proportions
  • Sexually transmitted diseases: syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia
  • Tick-borne encephalitis
  • Rabies

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

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Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: Road conditions and driver safety customs differ significantly from those in the United States. In some areas of Russia roads are practically nonexistent or have poor or nonexistent shoulders. Many roads are one-way or do not permit left turns.

  • Exercise caution near traffic. Drivers frequently fail to yield to pedestrians.
  • Vehicles regularly drive and park on sidewalks or pedestrian walkways.
  • Do not drive outside the major cities at night.
  • Livestock crossing roadways is common in rural areas.
  • Construction sites and road hazards are often unmarked. 
  • Food, hotel, and auto service facilities are rare along roadways.
  • Do not drive alone at night or sleep in your vehicle on the side of the road.
  • Do not pick up hitchhikers. You may be assaulted or arrested for unwittingly transporting narcotics.

Public Transportation:

  • Do not use unmarked taxis. Passengers have been victims of robbery, kidnapping, extortion and theft.
  • Robberies may occur in taxis shared with strangers.

Traffic Laws: Russian authorities consider traffic or parking infractions as “administrative violations” that provide a sufficient basis for deportation and/or denial of entry back to Russia at a later date. This is an increasingly frequent occurrence.

  • Drivers must carry third-party liability insurance under a policy valid in Russia.
  • You may drive for 60 days using your U.S. driver’s license, with a notarized Russian translation.
  • Tourists may also use International Driving Permits issued by the American Automobile Association or the American Automobile Touring Alliance to drive in Russia.
  • Russian law requires foreigners on business or employment visas or with permanent residence status to have a Russian driver's license.
  • Driving regulations are strictly enforced and violators are subject to severe legal penalties.
  • Russia practices a zero-tolerance policy for driving under the influence of alcohol.  Authorities can detain an intoxicated driver and your driver’s license can be suspended up to two years.
  • If you are involved in an accident, do not move your vehicle from the accident site. You may be held liable if you move your car even if you are not at fault.
  • Police and ambulance response to accidents is slow.
  • Roadside police checkpoints are commonplace and are ostensibly in place to detect narcotics, alien smuggling, and firearms violations.

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.

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
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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Moscow

Bolshoy Deviatinsky Pereulok No. 8
(Consular Section located at Novinskiy Bulvar 21)
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

Consulates

U.S. Consulate General St. Petersburg
15 Ulitsa Furshtadtskaya,
St. Petersburg 191028
Russian Federation
Telephone: +(7) (812) 331-2600
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(7) (912) 939-5794
Fax: +(7) (812) 331-2646

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) 89-17-56-93-549
Fax: +(7) (343) 379-4515

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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.

 

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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 when 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.

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

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. 

 

Hague Convention Participation
Hague Adoption Convention Country?
No
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
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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.

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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: russianembassy.org/

Russia also has consulates in: San Francisco, New York, and Seattle

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: AdoptionUSCA@state.gov
Internet: adoption.state.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about immigration procedures:
USCIS National Customer Service Center (NCSC)
Tel: 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
Internet: uscis.gov

For questions about filing a Form I-600A or I-600 petition:
USCIS National Benefits Center
Tel: 1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-816-251-2770 (local)
Email: NBC.Adoptions@uscis.dhs.gov

Reciprocity Schedule

Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.

Explanation of Terms

Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.

Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).

Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.

Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.

Visa Classifications
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
Visa
Classification
Fee Number
of Entries
Validity
Period
A-1 None A B Multiple 36 Months
A-2 None B Multiple 36 Months
A-3 1 None Multiple 12 Months
B-1 None Multiple 36 Months
B-2 None Multiple 36 Months
B-1/B-2 None Multiple 36 Months
C-1 None Multiple 24 Months
C-1/D None Multiple 24 Months
C-2 None One 3 Months
C-3 None One 3 Months
CW-1 11 None Multiple 12 Months
CW-2 11 None Multiple 12 Months
D None Multiple 24 Months
E-1 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2C 12 None Multiple 24 Months
F-1 None  Multiple 12 Months
F-2 None  Multiple 12 Months
G-1 None Multiple 24 Months
G-2 None Multiple 12 Months
G-3 None Multiple 12 Months
G-4 None Multiple 12 Months
G-5 1 None One 12 Months
H-1B None Multiple 24 Months 3
H-1C None Multiple 24 Months 3
H-2A None N/A N/A 3
H-2B None N/A N/A 3
H-2R None Multiple 24 Months 3
H-3 None Multiple 24 Months 3
H-4 None Multiple 24 Months 3
I None D Multiple 12 Months
J-1 4 None C Multiple 36 Months
J-2 4 None C Multiple 36 Months
K-1 None One 6 Months
K-2 None One 6 Months
K-3 None Multiple 24 Months
K-4 None Multiple 24 Months
L-1 None Multiple 24 Months
L-2 None Multiple 24 Months
M-1 None C Multiple 36 Months
M-2 None C Multiple 36 Months
N-8 None Multiple 24 Months
N-9 None Multiple 24 Months
NATO 1-7 N/A N/A N/A
O-1 None Multiple 24 Months 3
O-2 None Multiple 24 Months 3
O-3 None Multiple 24 Months 3
P-1 None Multiple 24 Months 3
P-2 None Multiple 24 Months 3
P-3 None Multiple 24 Months 3
P-4 None Multiple 24 Months 3
Q-1 6 None Multiple 15 Months 3
R-1 None Multiple 24 Months
R-2 None Multiple 24 Months
S-5 7 None One 1 Month
S-6 7 None One 1 Month
S-7 7 None One 1 Month
T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A
T-2 None One 6 Months
T-3 None One 6 Months
T-4 None One 6 Months
T-5 None One 6 Months
T-6 None One 6 Months
TD 5 N/A N/A N/A
U-1 None Multiple 48 Months
U-2 None Multiple 48 Months
U-3 None Multiple 48 Months
U-4 None Multiple 48 Months
U-5 None Multiple 48 Months
V-1 None Multiple 120 Months
V-2 None Multiple 120 Months 8
V-3 None Multiple 120 Months 8
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Country Specific Footnotes

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

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Visa Category Footnotes
  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

 

 

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General Documents

Civil documents, except as noted below, are available in the Russian Federation. Certified copies of available documents may be exported. The person to whom a civil record pertains may obtain a replacement copy of the record from the local office of the Bureau of Acts of Civil Status (ZAGS) in the event of loss of the original document. ZAGS will not issue certified duplicate copies od civil documents except as a replacement for a lost or destroyed document. Documents which have been certified by ZAGS or a local notary office can be affixed with an apostille by the Ministry of Justice or other selected offices empowered to do so. The apostille is accepted in all countries that are parties to the Hague Convention on the Abolition of Legalization of Documents. Documents that bear an apostille need not be authenticated by an American consular officer for use in the United States.

In the United States Russian documents can be requested through the Russian Embassy in Washington, DC, or the Russian Consulates General in San Francisco, New York, or Seattle. The process often takes several months.

Some civil records were destroyed during World War II. Local authorities generally will issue a certificate to that effect, although again, the process may take several months. A replacement statement of identity is also available from local authorities when the birth certificate is unavailable.

The Embassy in Moscow and the Consulates General in St. Petersburg, Vladivostok and Yekaterinburg, cannot assist in obtaining civil documents or verifying the accuracy of civil records in the Russian Federation.

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Birth and Death Certificates

Available. Certified copies of these documents may be obtained by applying to the Bureau of Acts of Civil Status (ZAGS) of the locality having custody of the records. 

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage Certificates
 

  • Available/Unavailable: Available
  • Fees: No
  • Document Name:  Свидетельство о заключении брака (Certificate of Marriage)
  • Issuing Authority: Bureau of Acts of Civil Status (ZAGS) of the locality having custody of the records
  • Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: Varies depending on date of issuance.  The modern version is printed on a red certificate with security features.
  • Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Director of ZAGS
  • Registration Criteria: N/A
  • Procedure for Obtaining: The person to whom a civil record pertains may obtain a replacement copy of the record from the local office of the Bureau of Acts of Civil Status (ZAGS) in the event of loss of the original document. ZAGS will not issue certified duplicate copies of civil documents except as a replacement for a lost or destroyed document.
  • Certified Copies Available:  Yes
  • Alternate Documents: No
  • Exceptions: No
  • Comments:  Please note that same-sex marriages are not recognized in Russia. Religious marriage ceremonies are not valid in Russia, unless a civil ceremony and registration is also conducted at ZAGS.


Divorce Certificates
 

  • Available/Unavailable: Available
  • Fees: No
  • Document Name: Свидетельство о расторженнии брака (Certificate of Divorce)
  • Issuing Authority: Bureau of Acts of Civil Status (ZAGS) of the locality having custody of the records
  • Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: Varies depending on date of issuance.  The modern version is printed on a green certificate with security features.
  • Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Director of ZAGS
  • Registration Criteria: N/A
  • Procedure for Obtaining:  The person to whom a civil record pertains may obtain a replacement copy of the record from the local office of the Bureau of Acts of Civil Status (ZAGS) in the event of loss of the original document. ZAGS will not issue certified duplicate copies of civil documents except as a replacement for a lost or destroyed document.
  • Certified Copies Available: Yes
  • Alternate Documents: No
  • Exceptions: No
  • Comments: Please note that same-sex marriages are not recognized in Russia. Religious marriage ceremonies are not valid in Russia, unless a civil ceremony and registration is also conducted at ZAGS.
Adoption Certificates

Please check back for update

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Identity Card

Please check back for update

Police, Court, Prison Records

Police and Prison Records

  • Available/Unavailable: Available
  • Fees: No fee
  • Document Name: СПРАВКА; Police Clearance
  • Issuing Authority: Ministry of the Interior
  • Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: N/A
  • Issuing Authority Personnel Title: N/A
  • Registration Criteria: N/A
  • Procedure for Obtaining: Russian law (MVD Order no. 965, dated November 1, 2001) mandates that the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) provide police certificates both to Russian citizens and to foreigners who have lived or are living in Russia. The law states that in Russia, MVD offices must provide the certificate within 30 days of application. Those residing outside of Russia, both Russian citizens and non-citizens, may either delegate a Power-of-Attorney to apply for the certificate on their behalf in Russia, or apply directly to the Russian Consulate where they reside. Police certificates should note all names that the person has used in Russia, and should note the MVD branches in all locations that were queried.
  • Certified Copies Available: Yes
  • Alternate Documents: N/A
  • Exceptions: N/A
  • Comments:
    • Please do not send the police certificate to the National Visa Center. You must bring your police certificate on the day of the interview.
    • Under Russian law, a prior conviction is listed as "expunged" in the MIC's databank after a specified period of time has passed following the completion of the sentence. For "grave" crimes the period is six years; for "especially grave" crimes it is eight years. On November 7, 2011, the Russian Ministry of Interior issued Ordinance No. 1121, requiring a new format for police certificates that includes the notation of expunged records. Thus, if an applicant committed a grave crime and more than six years have passed since the completion of his/her sentence, a police certificate issued prior to November 2011 will not show a record of this crime.
Military Records

Available. Individuals who have served in the military are issued a military service document (voyenniy bilet) which contains information on the length of service and circumstances of discharge. Those who have served in the military may also have this information reflected in their Russian internal passports.

Passports & Other Travel Documents

Russian Travel Documents

Available. The Russian Federation (and many of the other former republics of the Soviet Union) continues to issue foreign travel passports which are virtually indistinguishable in design from the old-style Soviet passports. These 'regular' passports will be valid until the stated expiration date, or some future announcement of a complete changeover.

The Russian Federation began issuing "Russian Federation" official and diplomatic passports on September 16, 1996. The old-style Soviet official and diplomatic passports are no longer valid.

With implementation of the new exit/entry law in 1993, citizens are no longer required to obtain exit permission from the Office of Visas and Registration (OVIR) before traveling abroad. Citizens who are emigrating permanently must obtain a passport endorsed for permanent emigration from OVIR.

Under the present regulations, OVIR has sole authority to issue regular foreign travel passports, although the Foreign Ministry has been authorized to continue issuance of such passports on an interim basis. Passports are not routinely issued to children under the age of sixteen. They are usually included in the passport of a parent or other adult with whom they are traveling. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has sole authority to issue diplomatic and official passports.

Other Records

Internal Residence Documents

There are four types of documents with which a person may reside in the Russian Federation:

  1. Internal passport;
  2. Temporary certification in lieu of an internal passport;
  3. Foreigner’s residence permit; and
  4. Residence permit for stateless persons.

The internal passport is issued to all citizens fourteen and older by the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The document contains information on the bearer's civil status, lists bearer's children, and contains a residence registration stamp (propiska). There is now only one mode in circulation, a purple Russian Federation document. These documents are obtained from the bearer's local politsiya precinct.

Visa Issuing Posts

Moscow, Russia (Embassy)

PSC-77
APO AE 09721-5430

St. Petersburg, Russia (Consulate General)

Box L
APO AE 09723-5440

Vladivostok, Russia (Consulate General)

APO AE 09721-5880

Yekaterinburg, Russia (Consulate General)

Visa Services
Location Areas Serviced

Moscow

Immigrant visas: All areas of the Russian Federation. Crimea is in the consular district of U.S. Embassy Kyiv.  All IV and K applicants, irrespective of citizenship, who are residents of Crimea must apply in Kyiv.

Nonimmigrant Visas: Those parts of the Russian Federation not contained within the consular districts of St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg or Vladivostok.

St Petersburg

Nonimmigrant Visas (except K): Regions, autonomous republics, and cities of:

  • Arkhangelsk Oblast
  • Kaliningrad Oblast
  • Leningrad Oblast
  • Murmansk Oblast
  • Nenets Autonomous Okrug
  • Novgorod Oblast
  • Pskov Oblast
  • Republic of Karelia
  • St. Petersburg
  • Vologda Oblast

Vladvostok

Nonimmigrant Visas (except K): Regions, autonomous republics, and cities of:

  • Amur
  • Kamchatka
  • Khabarovsk
  • Magadan
  • Primorskiy
  • Sakhalin
  • Sakha (Yakutia)

Yekaterinburg

Nonimmigrant Visas (except K):

  • The Sverdlovsk, Chelyabinsk, Omsk, Orenburg, Kurgan, Tyumen and Perm Oblasts
  • The Republics of Bashkortostan and Udmurtia
  • The autonomous okrugs of Khanty-Mansisk, Yamal-Nenetsk and Komipermski

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

Washington, DC (202) 939-8900 (202) 939-8919

Houston, TX (713) 337-3300 (713) 337-3305

New York, NY (212) 348-0926(212) 831-9162

Seattle, WA (206) 728-1910 (206) 728-1871

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Moscow
Bolshoy Deviatinsky Pereulok No. 8
(Consular Section located at Novinskiy Bulvar 21)
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 Country Map

Learn about your destination
Additional Information for Reciprocity

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

Country Information

Russian Federation
Russian Federation
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Embassy Messages
Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

Required six months beyond intended stay

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

2 pages per stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

Yes

VACCINATIONS:

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

$10,000 or more must be declared

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

You may export up to $3,000 (or equivalent) without declaring it.

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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Moscow

Bolshoy Deviatinsky Pereulok No. 8
(Consular Section located at Novinskiy Bulvar 21)
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

Consulates

U.S. Consulate General St. Petersburg
15 Ulitsa Furshtadtskaya,
St. Petersburg 191028
Russian Federation
Telephone: +(7) (812) 331-2600
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(7) (912) 939-5794
Fax: +(7) (812) 331-2646

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) 89-17-56-93-549
Fax: +(7) (343) 379-4515

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Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Russia for information on U.S. - Russia relations.

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Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

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 may deny entry or reentry into Russia for 5 years or more and cancel the visas of foreigners who have committed two “administrative” violations within the past three years. Activities that are not specifically covered by the traveler’s visa may result in an administrative violation and deportation.

Passport Registration During the Confederation Cup: In connection with the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup event to be held in Moscow, starting June 1, there will be some temporary changes in the process of passport registration. This change will affect non-Russian domestic employees and guests holding non-Embassy sponsored visas. These visitors must register with the Federal Migration Service Office (FMS) within 24 hours upon their arrival in the country, instead of the normal 7 business days.

If you are staying at alternative lodging somewhere other than an official hotel or hostel in a city hosting games Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, or Sochi, you are required to register with Federal Migrations Service Office within ONE BUSINESS DAY during the Confederations Cup.

This temporary change of registration procedures is in effect June 1 – July 12, 2017. These temporary procedures do not apply to those travelers holding diplomatic and official visas, nor to travelers with guest of embassy visas.

Under a bilateral agreement signed in 2012, qualified U.S. applicants for humanitarian, private, tourist, and business visas should request and receive multiple-entry visas with a validity of three years. Visas issued under the agreement permits stays in the territory of the Russian Federation for up to six consecutive months. (Please note that other types of visas are not part of the agreement and those visa holders should pay close attention to the terms of their visas.) You must exit Russia before  your visa expires. The maximum period of stay is shown on the visa.

  • You must have a current U.S. passport with the appropriate visa. Russian visas in an expired or canceled passport are not valid.
  • Foreigners entering Russia will be fingerprinted.
  • You must obtain a valid visa for your specific purpose of travel before arriving in Russia, unless you are arriving as a cruise ship passenger (see below information for passengers of cruise ships and ferries). Do not attempt to enter Russia before the date shown on your visa. If you are staying in Russia for more than 7 days you must register your visa and migration card with the General Administration for Migration Issues of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
  • For a foreigner to receive a Russian visa, there must be a Russian sponsoring organization or individual.
  • You must list all areas in Russia that you intend to visit on your visa application. You will be arrested if you enter a restricted area, so it is vital that you include all destinations on your visa application. There is no centralized list or database of the restricted areas, so travelers should check with their sponsor, hotel, or the nearest office of the FMS before traveling to unfamiliar cities and towns.
  • You must carry your passport with you at all times. Russian police have the authority to stop people and request identity and travel documents at any time.
  • Migration cards must be carried at all times while in Russia. A “migration card” is the white paper document given by the border police on first entry to Russia. If you lose your migration card you should ask your sponsor to assist you in reporting it to FMS and request a replacement.
  • Do not enter before the date shown on your visa, and do not remain in Russia beyond the date your visa expires. Violations of even an hour have led to penalties.
  • Transit visas: We recommend that all passengers transiting through Russia obtain a Russian transit visa.
    • With the exceptions noted below, travelers will not require a transit visa if they are transiting through an international airport in Russia, do not leave the Customs zone, and depart from the same airport within 24 hours. Please note the following exceptions.
    • Travelers should note that Sheremetyevo Airport terminals D, E, and F include transit zones and do not require transit visas.  If however, a passenger arrives at D, E, or F but departs from Sheremetyevo terminal C, a transit visa is required. Sheremetyevo terminal C is located six kilometers away from the other terminals.
    • Travelers must have a Russian transit visa if they plan to transit through Russia by land en route to a third country or if they transfer to another airport.
    • Travelers must possess a Russian transit visa in addition to a Belarusian visa if their travel route either to or from Belarus goes through Russia.

Anyone entering Russia who has claim to Russian citizenship, regardless of any other citizenship held, is fully accountable to the Russian authorities for all obligations of a citizen, including the required military service.

  • U.S.-Russian dual nationals and Russian citizens who are Legal Permanent residents of the United States must register their dual nationality/foreign residency. Registration forms and further information (in Russian only) can be found on the website of the General Administration for Migration Issues of the Interior Ministry of Russia.
  • U.S.-Russian dual nationals must both enter and exit on a Russian passport. You will not be permitted to depart on an expired passport. Applying for a passport can take several months. 
  • U.S.-Russian dual nationals who return to Russia on a “Repatriation Certificate” are only permitted to enter Russia and will not be permitted to depart Russia until they obtain a valid Russian passport.
  • Students and English teachers should be certain that their activities are in strict keeping with their visa type. Students must not teach or coach English, whether compensated or not, while traveling on a student visa as it is considered a visa violation and may subject you to detention and deportation. 
  • Minors who also have Russian citizenship and are traveling alone or in the company of adults who are not their parents, must carry a Russian passport as well as their parents’ notarized consent for the trip, which can be obtained at  a Russian embassy or consulate, or a U.S. notary public. A consent  obtained in the United States from a U.S. notary public must be apostilled, translated into Russian, and properly affixed. Authorities will prevent such minors from entering or leaving Russia if they cannot present this consent.
  • Passengers of Cruise Ships and Ferries at St. Petersburg and Vladivostok are permitted to stay in Russia for 72 hours without a visa when accompanied by a tour operator licensed by Russian authorities. Ferry schedules may not permit visitors to stay more than two nights without exceeding the 72 hour limit. If you plan to sightsee on your own you must have a tourist visa. A visa is also required if you plan to depart Russia by another mode of transportation. Riverboat cruise passengers must have a visa and must follow the general guidelines for entry/exit requirements. U.S. citizens entering Russia as cruise passengers should be aware that a number of active duty and retired U.S. military members have experienced targeted harassment by the Russian authorities.
  • Crimea: Follow the guidance in the Travel Warning for Ukraine and do not travel to the Crimean Peninsula. 

Documentary Requirements: Consult with the Embassy of the Russian Federation or Consulates General for detailed explanations of documentary requirements.  The following are only a sampling of examples.

  • Tourist Visas: Visa application form, hotel reservation confirmation, contract for provision of tourist services with a tourist organization registered with the Russian Federal Tourism Agency.

  • Business and Humanitarian Visas: Visa application form and written statement from the host organization in Russian, including the following information:
    • Organization's full name, official address, and contact information
    • Full name of the person signing the written statement
    • If the organization is established in the territory of the Russian Federation, the organization's individual taxpayer number
    • Visa applicant's name, date of birth, citizenship, gender, passport number, number of entries sought, purpose of travel, requested period of entry, location of intended residence in Russia, and cities to be visited.
       
  • Private Visas: Visa application form and written statement from the hosting individual notarized by a Russian notary, including the following information:
    • Hosting individual's full name, date of birth, citizenship, gender, passport number, address of registration, and individual's actual residence
    • Visa applicant's name, date of birth, citizenship, gender, passport number, number of entries sought, purpose of travel, requested period of entry, location of intended residence in Russia, and cities to be visited.

The Russian Embassy or Consulate receiving the visa application may ask for additional documentation, including:

  • Bank statement from the applicant
  • Statement from the applicant's employer regarding the applicant's salary for the preceding year, half year, or month
  • Medical insurance valid in Russia and fully covering the period of the first trip
  • Documents regarding the applicant's ownership of property in the United States
  • Certificates verifying family membership (i.e., marriage certificate and children's birth certificates).

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.

Find information on dual nationalityprevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.

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Safety and Security

Terrorism: Persons visiting or living in Russia remain potentially vulnerable to attacks by transnational and local terrorist organizations. 

  • In the last decade, Moscow and St. Petersburg have been the targets of terrorist attacks. Bombings have occurred at Russian government buildings, airports, hotels, tourist sites, markets, entertainment venues, schools, residential complexes, and on public transportation (subways, buses, trains, and scheduled commercial flights). 
  • Bomb threats against public venues are common. If you are at a location that receives a bomb threat, follow all instructions from the local police and security services. 

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.

  • Do not travel to Chechnya or any other areas in the North Caucasus region.
  • If you reside in these areas depart immediately.
  • U.S. government travel to the region is prohibited, due to ongoing security concerns.
  • U.S. Government has no ability to assist U.S. citizens in the North Caucasus Region.

Mt. Elbrus:

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

Crimea:

  • Do not travel to Crimea.
  • U.S. Embassy Kyiv’s Consular section provides services to U.S. citizens in Crimea.
  • The current status of Crimea prevents official Americans from traveling to that area.

Harassment: Foreigners have become victims of harassment, mistreatment, and extortion by law-enforcement and other officials.

  • Police do not need to show probable cause in order to stop, question, or detain individuals.
  • If stopped, obtain the officer's name, badge number, and patrol car number, and note where the stop happened, as this information assists local officials in identifying the perpetrators.
  • Report harassment or crimes to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow or the nearest U.S. Consulate General.

Demonstrations: 

Crime:

  • Crimes against tourists occur at popular tourist sites and on public transportation.
  • Be cautious and aware of your surroundings. U.S. citizens have been victims of serious crimes when visiting Russia.  The ability or willingness of Russian authorities to impartially and thoroughly investigate crimes against Americans is often doubtful. Death cases have resulted in disputed findings. Frequently, criminal gangs collude with the local  police and operate with near impunity.
  • Exercise caution when large crowds have gathered.
  • Be vigilant, as pickpocketing is prevalent in the larger cities.
  • Do not leave bags unattended. Thieves are active on public transportation, underground walkways, the subway, overnight trains, train stations, airports, markets, tourist attractions, and restaurants.
  • Never leave your drink unattended in a bar or club. Drink alcohol in moderation and stay in control.
  • Never agree to go to a bar or club with someone you have just met on the street. Criminals have drugged some travelers at bars, while others have taken strangers back to their lodgings, where they drugged, robbed, and/or assaulted them.
  • Report Credit card or ATM card theft to the credit card company or issuing bank immediately.
  • Avoid carrying large sums of cash. High-profile armed robberies are an almost daily occurrence. The attacks usually take place while the victims are either entering or exiting banks.  These attacks occur throughout Moscow, including in the city center and near the U.S. Embassy. Travelers have also had cash stolen from hotel safes.   
  • Be alert to other criminal schemes, such as:
    • “Turkey Drop” Scams, a street scam in which an individual "accidentally" drops money on the ground in front of an intended victim, while an accomplice either waits for the money to be picked up, or picks up the money him/herself and offers to split it with the pedestrian. Then the victim is accused of stealing the money. Do not  pick up the money. Walk quickly away from the scene.
    • Internet Dating Scams: U.S. citizens have lost thousands of dollars to romantic “partners” met online who feign distress to persuade the American to send money. Never send money to anyone you have not met in person. Please review our information on International Financial Scams.
    • Airport Scams: A con artist asks you to watch his bag, then extorts money or other valuables to avoid hassle with the police. Never agree to watch a bag that belongs to a stranger.
    • 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.

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for additional information on scams.

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 on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

 

We can:

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical
  • support in cases of destitution
  • help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • replace a stolen or lost passport.

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence should contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance.

For further information:

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Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Arrest Notification: If you are detained, ask the police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy or Consulate immediately. Your U.S. passport does not protect you from arrest or prosecution. See our webpage for further information.

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to all Russian laws. If you violate these laws, even unknowingly, you may be arrested, fined, imprisoned, or expelled and may be banned from re-entering Russia. 

Some crimes committed outside the United States are prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

  • You can be arrested, detained, fined, deported and banned for 5 years or more if you are found to have violated Russian immigration law. 
  • Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Russia are severe.  Convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
  • You can be detained for not carrying your passport with you.
  • You can be jailed immediately for driving under the influence of alcohol.
  • It is illegal to pay for goods and services in U.S. dollars, except at authorized retail establishments.
  • You can be arrested for attempting to leave the country with antiques, even if they were legally purchased from licensed vendors. Cultural value items like artwork, icons, samovars, rugs, military medals and antiques, must have certificates indicating they do not have historical or cultural value. You may obtain certificates from the Russian Ministry of Culture.  For further information, please contact the Russian Customs Committee.
  • Retain all receipts for high-value items, including caviar.
  • You must have advance approval to bring in satellite telephones
  • Global Positioning System (GPS) and other radio electronic devices, and their use, are subject to special rules and regulations in Russia. Contact the Russian Customs Service for required permissions.

Faith-Based Travelers: Russian authorities have detained, fined, and in some cases deported travelers for engaging in religious activities. Russian officials have stated that Russia recognizes four “historic” religions: Orthodox Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism. The Russian government places restrictions on so-called “missionary activity” and defines it broadly – travelers engaging in certain types of religious work may risk harassment, detention, fines, or deportation for administrative violations if they do not have proper authorization from a registered religious group.  The Russian government has detained U.S. citizens for religious activities that they contend are not permitted under a tourist visa.  Even speaking at a religious service, traditional or non-traditional, has resulted in immigration violations. See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report.

LGBTI Travelers: Russian law bans providing "the propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" to minors.  Foreign citizens face fines, up to 15 days in jail, and deportation. The law is vague as to what Russia considers propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations.

  • Discrimination based on sexual orientation is widespread in Russia. Acts of violence and harassment targeting LGBTI individuals occur.
  • Government officials have made derogatory comments about LGBTI persons.
  • Violence against the LGBTI community has increased sharply since the law banning propaganda was passed, including entrapment and torture of young gay men by neo-Nazi gangs and the murder of multiple individuals due to their sexual orientation.
  • There have been credible reports of arrest, torture, and extrajudicial killing of gay men in Chechnya allegedly conducted by Chechen regional authorities.  

See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further 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.

  • Many sidewalks are narrow and uneven.
  • Mobility is usually easier in major cities such as Moscow and St. Petersburg.   
  • Crossing streets in large cities can be difficult, since it usually requires the use of a pedestrian underpass which includes stairs, steep ramps, and no elevators.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

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Health

Medical care in most areas of Russia is below Western standards. The Russian authorities have cut hospital bed numbers resulting in increased deaths. The healthcare system budget will be cut 33 % in 2017. Moscow and St. Petersburg facilities may have higher standards but do not accept all cases and require cash or credit card payment at Western rates.

  • Payment is expected at the time of service.
  • The Embassy does not pay the medical bills of private U.S. citizens.
  • U.S. Medicare does not provide coverage outside the United States. 
  • Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage
  • Elderly travelers and those with existing health problems are at risk.
  • Disposable IV supplies, syringes, and needles are standard practice in urban area hospitals. If you plan to travel in remote areas, bring a supply of sterile, disposable syringes and corresponding IV supplies.
  • Do not visit tattoo parlors or piercing services due to the risk of HIV and hepatitis infection.
  • Due to uncertainties in local blood supply, non-essential and elective surgeries are not recommended.

Prescription Medication:

  • Russia prohibits some prescription and over the counter drugs that are legal and commonly used in the United States.
  • Carry a copy of the valid U.S. prescription, including a notarized translation into Russian, when entering Russia with prescription medications. 
  • Prescription medication should be in its original packaging.

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

Most care providers in Russia only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage

The following diseases are prevalent:

  • Tuberculosis
  • HIV/AIDS has reached epidemic proportions
  • Sexually transmitted diseases: syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia
  • Tick-borne encephalitis
  • Rabies

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

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Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: Road conditions and driver safety customs differ significantly from those in the United States. In some areas of Russia roads are practically nonexistent or have poor or nonexistent shoulders. Many roads are one-way or do not permit left turns.

  • Exercise caution near traffic. Drivers frequently fail to yield to pedestrians.
  • Vehicles regularly drive and park on sidewalks or pedestrian walkways.
  • Do not drive outside the major cities at night.
  • Livestock crossing roadways is common in rural areas.
  • Construction sites and road hazards are often unmarked. 
  • Food, hotel, and auto service facilities are rare along roadways.
  • Do not drive alone at night or sleep in your vehicle on the side of the road.
  • Do not pick up hitchhikers. You may be assaulted or arrested for unwittingly transporting narcotics.

Public Transportation:

  • Do not use unmarked taxis. Passengers have been victims of robbery, kidnapping, extortion and theft.
  • Robberies may occur in taxis shared with strangers.

Traffic Laws: Russian authorities consider traffic or parking infractions as “administrative violations” that provide a sufficient basis for deportation and/or denial of entry back to Russia at a later date. This is an increasingly frequent occurrence.

  • Drivers must carry third-party liability insurance under a policy valid in Russia.
  • You may drive for 60 days using your U.S. driver’s license, with a notarized Russian translation.
  • Tourists may also use International Driving Permits issued by the American Automobile Association or the American Automobile Touring Alliance to drive in Russia.
  • Russian law requires foreigners on business or employment visas or with permanent residence status to have a Russian driver's license.
  • Driving regulations are strictly enforced and violators are subject to severe legal penalties.
  • Russia practices a zero-tolerance policy for driving under the influence of alcohol.  Authorities can detain an intoxicated driver and your driver’s license can be suspended up to two years.
  • If you are involved in an accident, do not move your vehicle from the accident site. You may be held liable if you move your car even if you are not at fault.
  • Police and ambulance response to accidents is slow.
  • Roadside police checkpoints are commonplace and are ostensibly in place to detect narcotics, alien smuggling, and firearms violations.

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.

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
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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Moscow

Bolshoy Deviatinsky Pereulok No. 8
(Consular Section located at Novinskiy Bulvar 21)
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

Consulates

U.S. Consulate General St. Petersburg
15 Ulitsa Furshtadtskaya,
St. Petersburg 191028
Russian Federation
Telephone: +(7) (812) 331-2600
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(7) (912) 939-5794
Fax: +(7) (812) 331-2646

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) 89-17-56-93-549
Fax: +(7) (343) 379-4515

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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.

 

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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 when 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.

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

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. 

 

Hague Convention Participation
Hague Adoption Convention Country?
No
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
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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.

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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: russianembassy.org/

Russia also has consulates in: San Francisco, New York, and Seattle

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: AdoptionUSCA@state.gov
Internet: adoption.state.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about immigration procedures:
USCIS National Customer Service Center (NCSC)
Tel: 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
Internet: uscis.gov

For questions about filing a Form I-600A or I-600 petition:
USCIS National Benefits Center
Tel: 1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-816-251-2770 (local)
Email: NBC.Adoptions@uscis.dhs.gov

Reciprocity Schedule

Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.

Explanation of Terms

Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.

Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).

Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.

Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.

Visa Classifications
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
Visa
Classification
Fee Number
of Entries
Validity
Period
A-1 None A B Multiple 36 Months
A-2 None B Multiple 36 Months
A-3 1 None Multiple 12 Months
B-1 None Multiple 36 Months
B-2 None Multiple 36 Months
B-1/B-2 None Multiple 36 Months
C-1 None Multiple 24 Months
C-1/D None Multiple 24 Months
C-2 None One 3 Months
C-3 None One 3 Months
CW-1 11 None Multiple 12 Months
CW-2 11 None Multiple 12 Months
D None Multiple 24 Months
E-1 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2C 12 None Multiple 24 Months
F-1 None  Multiple 12 Months
F-2 None  Multiple 12 Months
G-1 None Multiple 24 Months
G-2 None Multiple 12 Months
G-3 None Multiple 12 Months
G-4 None Multiple 12 Months
G-5 1 None One 12 Months
H-1B None Multiple 24 Months 3
H-1C None Multiple 24 Months 3
H-2A None N/A N/A 3
H-2B None N/A N/A 3
H-2R None Multiple 24 Months 3
H-3 None Multiple 24 Months 3
H-4 None Multiple 24 Months 3
I None D Multiple 12 Months
J-1 4 None C Multiple 36 Months
J-2 4 None C Multiple 36 Months
K-1 None One 6 Months
K-2 None One 6 Months
K-3 None Multiple 24 Months
K-4 None Multiple 24 Months
L-1 None Multiple 24 Months
L-2 None Multiple 24 Months
M-1 None C Multiple 36 Months
M-2 None C Multiple 36 Months
N-8 None Multiple 24 Months
N-9 None Multiple 24 Months
NATO 1-7 N/A N/A N/A
O-1 None Multiple 24 Months 3
O-2 None Multiple 24 Months 3
O-3 None Multiple 24 Months 3
P-1 None Multiple 24 Months 3
P-2 None Multiple 24 Months 3
P-3 None Multiple 24 Months 3
P-4 None Multiple 24 Months 3
Q-1 6 None Multiple 15 Months 3
R-1 None Multiple 24 Months
R-2 None Multiple 24 Months
S-5 7 None One 1 Month
S-6 7 None One 1 Month
S-7 7 None One 1 Month
T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A
T-2 None One 6 Months
T-3 None One 6 Months
T-4 None One 6 Months
T-5 None One 6 Months
T-6 None One 6 Months
TD 5 N/A N/A N/A
U-1 None Multiple 48 Months
U-2 None Multiple 48 Months
U-3 None Multiple 48 Months
U-4 None Multiple 48 Months
U-5 None Multiple 48 Months
V-1 None Multiple 120 Months
V-2 None Multiple 120 Months 8
V-3 None Multiple 120 Months 8
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Country Specific Footnotes

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

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Visa Category Footnotes
  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

 

 

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General Documents

Civil documents, except as noted below, are available in the Russian Federation. Certified copies of available documents may be exported. The person to whom a civil record pertains may obtain a replacement copy of the record from the local office of the Bureau of Acts of Civil Status (ZAGS) in the event of loss of the original document. ZAGS will not issue certified duplicate copies od civil documents except as a replacement for a lost or destroyed document. Documents which have been certified by ZAGS or a local notary office can be affixed with an apostille by the Ministry of Justice or other selected offices empowered to do so. The apostille is accepted in all countries that are parties to the Hague Convention on the Abolition of Legalization of Documents. Documents that bear an apostille need not be authenticated by an American consular officer for use in the United States.

In the United States Russian documents can be requested through the Russian Embassy in Washington, DC, or the Russian Consulates General in San Francisco, New York, or Seattle. The process often takes several months.

Some civil records were destroyed during World War II. Local authorities generally will issue a certificate to that effect, although again, the process may take several months. A replacement statement of identity is also available from local authorities when the birth certificate is unavailable.

The Embassy in Moscow and the Consulates General in St. Petersburg, Vladivostok and Yekaterinburg, cannot assist in obtaining civil documents or verifying the accuracy of civil records in the Russian Federation.

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Birth and Death Certificates

Available. Certified copies of these documents may be obtained by applying to the Bureau of Acts of Civil Status (ZAGS) of the locality having custody of the records. 

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage Certificates
 

  • Available/Unavailable: Available
  • Fees: No
  • Document Name:  Свидетельство о заключении брака (Certificate of Marriage)
  • Issuing Authority: Bureau of Acts of Civil Status (ZAGS) of the locality having custody of the records
  • Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: Varies depending on date of issuance.  The modern version is printed on a red certificate with security features.
  • Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Director of ZAGS
  • Registration Criteria: N/A
  • Procedure for Obtaining: The person to whom a civil record pertains may obtain a replacement copy of the record from the local office of the Bureau of Acts of Civil Status (ZAGS) in the event of loss of the original document. ZAGS will not issue certified duplicate copies of civil documents except as a replacement for a lost or destroyed document.
  • Certified Copies Available:  Yes
  • Alternate Documents: No
  • Exceptions: No
  • Comments:  Please note that same-sex marriages are not recognized in Russia. Religious marriage ceremonies are not valid in Russia, unless a civil ceremony and registration is also conducted at ZAGS.


Divorce Certificates
 

  • Available/Unavailable: Available
  • Fees: No
  • Document Name: Свидетельство о расторженнии брака (Certificate of Divorce)
  • Issuing Authority: Bureau of Acts of Civil Status (ZAGS) of the locality having custody of the records
  • Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: Varies depending on date of issuance.  The modern version is printed on a green certificate with security features.
  • Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Director of ZAGS
  • Registration Criteria: N/A
  • Procedure for Obtaining:  The person to whom a civil record pertains may obtain a replacement copy of the record from the local office of the Bureau of Acts of Civil Status (ZAGS) in the event of loss of the original document. ZAGS will not issue certified duplicate copies of civil documents except as a replacement for a lost or destroyed document.
  • Certified Copies Available: Yes
  • Alternate Documents: No
  • Exceptions: No
  • Comments: Please note that same-sex marriages are not recognized in Russia. Religious marriage ceremonies are not valid in Russia, unless a civil ceremony and registration is also conducted at ZAGS.
Adoption Certificates

Please check back for update

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Identity Card

Please check back for update

Police, Court, Prison Records

Police and Prison Records

  • Available/Unavailable: Available
  • Fees: No fee
  • Document Name: СПРАВКА; Police Clearance
  • Issuing Authority: Ministry of the Interior
  • Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: N/A
  • Issuing Authority Personnel Title: N/A
  • Registration Criteria: N/A
  • Procedure for Obtaining: Russian law (MVD Order no. 965, dated November 1, 2001) mandates that the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) provide police certificates both to Russian citizens and to foreigners who have lived or are living in Russia. The law states that in Russia, MVD offices must provide the certificate within 30 days of application. Those residing outside of Russia, both Russian citizens and non-citizens, may either delegate a Power-of-Attorney to apply for the certificate on their behalf in Russia, or apply directly to the Russian Consulate where they reside. Police certificates should note all names that the person has used in Russia, and should note the MVD branches in all locations that were queried.
  • Certified Copies Available: Yes
  • Alternate Documents: N/A
  • Exceptions: N/A
  • Comments:
    • Please do not send the police certificate to the National Visa Center. You must bring your police certificate on the day of the interview.
    • Under Russian law, a prior conviction is listed as "expunged" in the MIC's databank after a specified period of time has passed following the completion of the sentence. For "grave" crimes the period is six years; for "especially grave" crimes it is eight years. On November 7, 2011, the Russian Ministry of Interior issued Ordinance No. 1121, requiring a new format for police certificates that includes the notation of expunged records. Thus, if an applicant committed a grave crime and more than six years have passed since the completion of his/her sentence, a police certificate issued prior to November 2011 will not show a record of this crime.
Military Records

Available. Individuals who have served in the military are issued a military service document (voyenniy bilet) which contains information on the length of service and circumstances of discharge. Those who have served in the military may also have this information reflected in their Russian internal passports.

Passports & Other Travel Documents

Russian Travel Documents

Available. The Russian Federation (and many of the other former republics of the Soviet Union) continues to issue foreign travel passports which are virtually indistinguishable in design from the old-style Soviet passports. These 'regular' passports will be valid until the stated expiration date, or some future announcement of a complete changeover.

The Russian Federation began issuing "Russian Federation" official and diplomatic passports on September 16, 1996. The old-style Soviet official and diplomatic passports are no longer valid.

With implementation of the new exit/entry law in 1993, citizens are no longer required to obtain exit permission from the Office of Visas and Registration (OVIR) before traveling abroad. Citizens who are emigrating permanently must obtain a passport endorsed for permanent emigration from OVIR.

Under the present regulations, OVIR has sole authority to issue regular foreign travel passports, although the Foreign Ministry has been authorized to continue issuance of such passports on an interim basis. Passports are not routinely issued to children under the age of sixteen. They are usually included in the passport of a parent or other adult with whom they are traveling. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has sole authority to issue diplomatic and official passports.

Other Records

Internal Residence Documents

There are four types of documents with which a person may reside in the Russian Federation:

  1. Internal passport;
  2. Temporary certification in lieu of an internal passport;
  3. Foreigner’s residence permit; and
  4. Residence permit for stateless persons.

The internal passport is issued to all citizens fourteen and older by the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The document contains information on the bearer's civil status, lists bearer's children, and contains a residence registration stamp (propiska). There is now only one mode in circulation, a purple Russian Federation document. These documents are obtained from the bearer's local politsiya precinct.

Visa Issuing Posts

Moscow, Russia (Embassy)

PSC-77
APO AE 09721-5430

St. Petersburg, Russia (Consulate General)

Box L
APO AE 09723-5440

Vladivostok, Russia (Consulate General)

APO AE 09721-5880

Yekaterinburg, Russia (Consulate General)

Visa Services
Location Areas Serviced

Moscow

Immigrant visas: All areas of the Russian Federation. Crimea is in the consular district of U.S. Embassy Kyiv.  All IV and K applicants, irrespective of citizenship, who are residents of Crimea must apply in Kyiv.

Nonimmigrant Visas: Those parts of the Russian Federation not contained within the consular districts of St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg or Vladivostok.

St Petersburg

Nonimmigrant Visas (except K): Regions, autonomous republics, and cities of:

  • Arkhangelsk Oblast
  • Kaliningrad Oblast
  • Leningrad Oblast
  • Murmansk Oblast
  • Nenets Autonomous Okrug
  • Novgorod Oblast
  • Pskov Oblast
  • Republic of Karelia
  • St. Petersburg
  • Vologda Oblast

Vladvostok

Nonimmigrant Visas (except K): Regions, autonomous republics, and cities of:

  • Amur
  • Kamchatka
  • Khabarovsk
  • Magadan
  • Primorskiy
  • Sakhalin
  • Sakha (Yakutia)

Yekaterinburg

Nonimmigrant Visas (except K):

  • The Sverdlovsk, Chelyabinsk, Omsk, Orenburg, Kurgan, Tyumen and Perm Oblasts
  • The Republics of Bashkortostan and Udmurtia
  • The autonomous okrugs of Khanty-Mansisk, Yamal-Nenetsk and Komipermski

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

Washington, DC (202) 939-8900 (202) 939-8919

Houston, TX (713) 337-3300 (713) 337-3305

New York, NY (212) 348-0926(212) 831-9162

Seattle, WA (206) 728-1910 (206) 728-1871

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Moscow
Bolshoy Deviatinsky Pereulok No. 8
(Consular Section located at Novinskiy Bulvar 21)
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 Country Map

Learn about your destination
Additional Information for Reciprocity

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.