Tuesday November 20, 2018. 16:43

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Guide to Russia > Russian visa file


The immigration card and customs declaration – more paperwork fun.

There are some other documenti you will have to deal with in Russia, namely the immigration card (obligatory) and customs declaration (only if you are bringing in, or taking valuables out of Russia).

Immigration card

Immigration cards – which foreigners are must fill out and submit for a stamp upon entry into Russia – have been available at all border points since mid February 2003. The immigration cards are part of a raft of measures connected to the law on foreigners, which was introduced in November 2002 before many of its related rules and regulations were issued. Officials have repeatedly stated that the aim of the law is to track illegal migrants from other countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States, whose citizens can travel to Russia without visas.

The card has two identical sections. The holder's name, age, sex and purpose of stay are recorded on both parts; one half stays at the point of issue, and the other is given up when the holder leaves the country. The immigration card should be carried at all times with your passport.

Click here for a reproduction of the immigration card. Earlier it was in Russian and English; now it is only in Russian; shortly it will include the English translation again. We have translated the card to help you – print it out and take it with you. It’s quite simple, really.

Immigration Card

Customs Declaration

Your first glimpse of Russians will be the passport control officers. They will ask you for your documents (passport, visa and immigration card) and scrutinize your face. Don't worry, there usually aren't any problems with these stolid looking guys. Next, you will meet Russian Customs Officers.

If you are not planning on bringing in extremely valuable jewelry or foreign currency worth more than $10,000, you do not need to fill in a Customs Declaration (however, if you plan to take more than $3000 out of the country, you should declare it when entering). In this case, take the green "nothing to declare" line at the airport. If you do have valuables or any personal items that you think you might have trouble leaving the country with (your own artwork, very expensive jewelry, etc.), you should fill in a Russian Customs Declaration and take the red "goods to declare" line. The customs officers will inspect the goods and then stamp your declaration (hold onto it for you when you exit the country). The declaration is written in English and quite straight forward. Just be as honest as possible about what you are bringing into the country. Remember not to bring in any explosives, firearms, chemical weapons or narcotics. This could get you into trouble.

Be aware that if you bring in too many of the same type of things, the customs officers may think that you are planning to sell them in Russia and will apply a customs duty (usually 30%) on these items. It is also not a good idea to bring in more than one laptop, digital camera, video camera, fax or other expensive equipment. Customs has the right to stop you and make you pay duty on the second piece of equipment. It really shouldn't be a problem if you are bringing in only one piece of each type of equipment and telling the officers that it is a personal item and not for commercial use. People bring laptops and cameras in and out of Russia all the time without any problems.


The vital information all in one place

Types of Visas:


Example Visa

Example Invitation

Russian Consulates Worldwide

Example Consulate Fees



Other documents:

Immigration Card
Customs Declaration

Foreign Embassies and Consulates in Russia

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