SMART TRAVELER ENROLLMENT PROGRAM
If you are going to live in or visit the Russian Federation, please take the time to tell our embassy about your trip. If you enroll, we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements. It will also help your friends and family get in touch with you in an emergency.
Here’s the link to the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/ui/
Local embassy information is available below and at the Department of State’s list of embassies and consulates.
The U.S. Embassy Moscow's consular section
is located at Novinskiy Bulvar 21, Moscow. The nearest metro stations are Barrikadnaya and Krasnapresenskaya. You can reach the embassy's switchboard at (7) (495) 728-5000, and the American Citizen Services Unit at (7) (495) 728-5577. In the event of an after-hours emergency, please contact the main switchboard. You may also contact the American Citizens Services Unit by fax at (7) (495) 728-5084, by e-mail at email@example.com
, and through the embassy website.
U.S. Consulates General are located in: St. Petersburg
15 Ulitsa Furshtadtskaya, St. Petersburg 191028
Tel: (7) (812) 331-2600
Fax: (7) (812) 331-2646
After-hours emergencies: (7) (812) 331-2600
32 Ulitsa Pushkinskaya, Vladivostok 690001
Tel: (7) (4232) 30-00-70
Fax: (7) (4232) 30-00-91
After-hours emergencies: (7) (4232) 71 00 67
Ulitsa Gogolya 15a, 4th floor, Yekaterinburg 620151
Tel: (7) (343)379-3001
Fax: (7) (343) 379-4515
After-hours emergencies: (7) 8 902 84 16653
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgENTRY / EXIT REQUIREMENTS FOR U.S. CITIZENS:
The Russian government maintains a restrictive and complicated visa regime for foreigners who visit, transit, or reside in the Russian Federation. A U.S. citizen who does not comply with Russian immigration laws can be subject to arrest, fines, and/or deportation. Russian authorities will not allow U.S. citizens to depart the country if their visa has expired. Travelers must wait until a new visa is approved, which may take up to 20 days. Please verify the expiration date of your Russian visa, and leave Russia before your visa expires!
Under Russian law, every foreign traveler must have a Russian-based sponsor, which could be a hotel, tour company, relative, employer, university, etc. Even if you obtained your visa through a travel agency in the United States, there is still a Russian legal entity whose name is indicated on your visa and who is considered to be your legal sponsor. In many cases, organizations with sponsorship ability are being paid informally by travel agents to act as a legal sponsor, in violation of Russian law. Please ensure the name of the sponsor indicated on your visa corresponds with the organization you intend to visit, or those who are arranging your travel in Russia.If the sponsor named on your visa is not the person or entity you intend to visit, you may encounter problems with Russian immigration authorities. If you intend to work for a non-government organization (NGO) or engage in religious work, be sure to apply for the specific type of visa required by Russian law (usually a humanitarian visa).Russian law requires that your sponsor apply on your behalf for replacement, extension, or changes to a Russian visa. You should ensure that you have contact information for your visa sponsor prior to arrival in Russia, as the sponsor’s assistance will be essential to resolve any visa problems.Entry Visas:
To enter Russia for any purpose other than short transit by air, or some cruise ship and ferry passengers, (see below), you must possess a valid U.S. passport and a visa issued by a Russian embassy or consulate. You cannot obtain a visa upon arrival, so you must apply for your visa well in advance. U.S. citizens who apply for Russian visas in third countries where they do not have permission to stay for more than 90 days may face considerable delays in visa processing. If you arrive in Russia without an entry visa you will not be permitted to enter the country, and could face immediate return to the point of embarkation at your own expense.
A Russian entry/exit visa has two dates written in the European style (day/month/year) as opposed to the U.S. style (month/day/year). The first date indicates the earliest date a traveler may enter Russia; the second date indicates the date by which a traveler must leave Russia. A Russian visa is only valid for those exact dates and cannot be extended after the traveler has arrived in the country, except in the case of a medical emergency.
Russian tourist visas are usually granted only for the specific dates mentioned in the invitation letter provided by the sponsor. U.S. citizens sometimes receive visas valid for periods as short as two days. You may wish to have someone who reads Russian check the visa before departing the United States. Please ensure that your visa reflects your intended activities in Russia (e.g., tourism, study, business, etc.) If you are denied a visa, you may seek clarification from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 32/34 Smolenskaya-Sennaya Pl., Moscow, Russia, 119200, email@example.com
.Limitations on Length of Stay:
Most foreigners may remain in the Russian Federation for only 90 days in a 180-day period. This provision applies to business, tourist, humanitarian, and cultural visas, among other categories, and is typically noted on the Russian visa. Those whose visas permit employment or study are not normally subject to this rule. If you plan to remain in Russia for more than 90 days, consult your visa sponsor to ensure that this is not a violation of visa regulations.Exit Visas:You need a valid visa to depart Russia. If you overstay your visa validity by less than three days you may be granted an exit visa at the airport (at the discretion of the Russian Consular Officer). If you overstay your visa by more than three days, you will be prevented from leaving until your sponsor intervenes and requests a visa extension on your behalf. Russian authorities may take up to 20 calendar days to authorize an exit visa, during which time you will be stranded in Russia at your own expense. You may also have difficulty checking into a hotel, hostel, or other lodging establishment with an expired Russian visa. Again, be sure to leave Russia before your visa expires. If you lose your U.S. passport and Russian visa by accident or theft, you must immediately replace your passport at the U.S. Embassy Moscow or one of the U.S. Consulates General. You must then enlist the assistance of your visa sponsor to obtain a new visa in order to depart the country. It is helpful to make a photocopy of your visa in the event of loss, but a copy is not sufficient to permit departure.
Visas for students and English teachers sometimes allow only one entry. In these cases, the sponsoring school is responsible for registering the visa and migration card and obtaining an exit visa. Obtaining an exit visa can take up to 20 calendar days, so students and teachers need to plan accordingly. Please see the section below regarding Teaching in Russia .Migration Cards:
U.S. citizens entering Russia must carry a migration card, while in Russia. These two-part cards have traditionally been provided to foreign passengers before landing in Russia, to be filled out by the traveler. Upon arrival, Russian immigration authorities retain one of the identical halves, and the other half is carried in your passport for the duration of your stay in Russia. In 2011, Russian authorities launched a new program in Moscow’s Vnukovo and Domodedevo Airports, by which migration cards are electronically completed and provided by immigration officials. If you receive an electronic card, continue to carry your migration card in your U.S. passport and submit it to immigration authorities upon leaving; however, the loss of an electronic card does not present difficulties to departure, but the loss of a hand-completed form may. While only these two airports are currently issuing electronic migration cards, the Russian Federal Migration Service plans to expand their use to other international airports in the future.Visa Registration:
If you intend to spend more than seven days in Russia, you must register your visa and migration card through your sponsor. If staying at a hotel, the hotel reception should register your visa and migration card on the first day of your stay. If you choose not to register a stay of less than seven days, we advise you to keep copies of tickets, hotel bills, or itineraries in order to prove compliance with the law.
Russian police officers have the authority to stop people and request their identity and travel documents at any time and without provocation. Due to the possibility of random document checks by police, you should carry your original passport, migration card and visa with you at all times.Transit Visas:
If you intend to transit through Russia by land en route to a third country, you must have a Russian transit visa issued by a Russian Embassy or Consulate. If you are transiting through an international airport in Russia, and will depart from there again in 24 hours to an onward international destination, without leaving the customs zone, Russian law does not require you to have a transit visa. However, this law is sometimes misinterpreted by travelers and customs officials alike, and we recommend you obtain a Russian transit visa if there is any doubt about your transit plans. Foreigners who arrive in Russia without a valid visa, who do not meet visa-free transit requirements, may be forced to return to the point of origin at their own expense. International Cruise Ship/Ferry Passengers:
You are permitted to visit Russian ports without a visa for a period of up to 72 hours. If you wish to go ashore during port calls you may do so without visas, provided that you are with an organized tour at all times and accompanied by a tour operator who has been duly licensed by Russian authorities. These special entry/exit requirements do not apply to river boat cruise passengers and travelers coming to Russia on package tours. These travelers will need to apply for visas prior to entry, and should follow the general guidelines for entry/exit requirements.
There are several closed cities and regions in Russia. If you attempt to enter these areas without prior authorization you may be subject to arrest, fines, and/or deportation. You must list on the visa application all areas to be visited and subsequently register with authorities upon arrival at each destination. 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 Russian Federal Migration Service before traveling to unfamiliar cities and towns.U.S. Citizens Also Holding Russian Passports:
If you are a dual U.S./Russian national, you are expected to enter and depart both Russia and the United States carrying the passport of that country. If you are a Russian citizen carrying a Russian passport, you should confirm that your Russian passport is valid beyond your planned departure; you will not be permitted to depart Russia with an expired Russian passport, and obtaining one in Russia, as a non-resident, is extremely difficult.
Russian external (international) passports extended by Russian consulates or embassies overseas are not considered valid for departure from Russia no matter how long the extension. Bearers of such passports must apply for a new passport in Russia. Males of conscript age (18 - 27 years old) who are deemed to be Russian citizens may experience problems if they have not satisfied their military service requirement.
For further information, please see the Department of State’s webpage on dual nationality.
In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated special procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child’s travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian, if not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not legally required, may facilitate entry/departure. For further information, please see the Department of State’s webpage regarding the prevention of international child abduction.
Special note: U.S. citizen 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 a power of attorney written in Russian and signed by their parents. Such minors will be prevented from entering or leaving Russia if they cannot present such a power of attorney.
HIV/AIDS Entry Restrictions: Some HIV/AIDS entry restrictions exist for visitors to, and foreign residents of, Russia. Short-term visitors (under three months) are not required to undergo an HIV/AIDS test, but applicants for longer term visas or residence permits may be asked to undergo tests not only for HIV/AIDS, but also for tuberculosis and leprosy. Travelers who believe they may be subject to the requirement should verify this information with the Embassy of the Russian Federation.
The U.S. Embassy and Consulates General in Russia cannot provide apostilles to documents; this process must be done by the Secretary of State of the U.S. state which processed the document (or in the case of a U.S. federal agency document, the State Department’s Office of Authentications.) For more information about Apostilles, visit the U.S. Embassy website. Embassy of the Russian Federation:
For additional information concerning travel to Russia, U.S. citizens may contact the Embassy of the Russian Federation, Consular Section, 2641 Tunlaw Rd. NW, Washington, DC 20007, tel. 202-939-8907.
In addition, there are Russian Consulates in:Houston:
1333 West Loop South, Ste.1300, Houston, TX 77027, tel. 713-337-3300;New York:
9 East 91 St., New York, NY 10128, tel. 212-348-0926;San Francisco:
2790 Green St., San Francisco, CA 94123, tel. 415-928-6878 or 415-202-9800; andSeattle:
2323 Westin Building, 2001 6th Ave., Seattle, WA 98121, tel. 206-728-1910.
Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page. THREATS TO SAFETY AND SECURITY:
Due to continued civil and political unrest throughout much of the North Caucasus region of Russia, the Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against travel to Chechnya and all other areas of the North Caucasus, including North Ossetia, Ingushetia, Dagestan, Stavropol, Karachayevo-Cherkessiya, and Kabardino-Balkariya. The U.S. Government’s ability to assist U.S. citizens who travel to the North Caucasus region is extremely limited. Throughout the region, local criminal gangs have kidnapped foreigners, including U.S. citizens, for ransom. U.S. citizens have disappeared in Chechnya and remain missing. Close contacts within the local population does not guarantee safety. There have been several kidnappings of foreigners and Russian citizens working for media and non-governmental organizations in the region. Due to the ongoing security concerns, U.S. Government travel to the region is very limited. U.S. citizens residing in these areas should depart immediately.
Acts of terrorism, including bombings and hostage takings, continue to occur in Russia, particularly in the North Caucasus region. However, in the past several years, Moscow and St. Petersburg have also been the targets of terrorist attacks. In the past, bombings have occurred at Russian government buildings, airports, hotels, tourist sites, markets, entertainment venues, schools, and residential complexes, and on public transportation including subways, buses, trains, and scheduled commercial flights. Extremist groups occasionally threaten to set off bombs in market areas of major cities that are operated largely by migrant workers.
There is no indication that U.S. institutions or citizens have been targets, but there is a general risk of U.S. citizens becoming victims of indiscriminate terrorist attacks. U.S. citizens in Russia should be aware of their personal surroundings and follow good security practices. U.S. citizens are urged to remain vigilant and exercise good judgment and discretion when using any form of public transportation. When traveling, U.S. citizens may wish to provide a friend, family member, or coworker a copy of their itinerary. Demonstrations:
U.S. citizens should avoid all public demonstrations, whether properly authorized by local officials or not, and avoid any large crowds and public gatherings that lack enhanced security measures. Occasional peaceful demonstrations near the U.S. Embassy do not generally interfere with public services, but U.S. citizens should avoid them when possible. Travelers should also exercise a high degree of caution and remain alert when patronizing restaurants, casinos, nightclubs, bars, theaters, etc., especially during peak hours of business.
If you don't have Internet access, call us for updates --1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada, or from elsewhere on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. You can also call the U.S. Embassy in Moscow at 7-495-728-5577. You should always try to ensure your safety when traveling overseas. Take some time before travel to improve your personal security—things are not the same everywhere as they are in the United States. Here are some useful tips for traveling safely abroad.
Incidents of unprovoked, violent harassment against racial and ethnic minorities regularly occur throughout the Russian Federation. The U.S. Embassy Moscow and Consulates General continue to receive reports of U.S. citizens, often members of minority groups, victimized in violent attacks by “skinheads” or other extremists. Travelers are urged to exercise caution in areas frequented by such individuals and wherever large crowds have gathered. U.S. citizens most at risk are those of African, South Asian, or East Asian descent, or those who, because of their complexion, are perceived to be from the Caucasus region or the Middle East. These U.S. citizens are also at risk for harassment by police authorities.
While visiting Russia, be alert to your surroundings. In large cities, take the same precautions against assault, robbery, or pickpockets that you would take in any large U.S. city: keep wallets in inner front pockets, carry purses tucked securely under arms, wear the shoulder strap of cameras or bags across the chest, walk away from the curb, and carry purses and other bags away from the street. The most vulnerable areas include underground walkways and the subway, overnight trains, train stations, airports, markets, tourist attractions, and restaurants. Foreigners who have been drinking alcohol are especially vulnerable to assault and robbery in or around nightclubs or bars, or on their way home. Some travelers have been drugged at bars, while others have taken strangers back to their lodgings, where they were drugged, robbed and/or assaulted.