Version 4 (12.01.2011), translated by K. Shulov, edited by P. Lagutkin and M. Pistunova
This information is meant for foreigners on a short stay in Russia, i.e., no longer than 90 days in a row.
It is all based on Russian law.Q1. Is the 'migration registration' in Russia so terrible?
A1. No. It's very easy. Moreover, in most cases you can avoid all registration procedures.Q2. When were the new simplified regulations introduced?
A2. In January, 2007.
Q3. What does Russian visa registration procedure mean?
A3. There is no such thing as Russian visa registration procedure. Citizens of some countries, including Argentina, Israel, Hong Kong, Brazil and Thailand can visit Russia without getting a visa. As for the registration procedures – those are simple and identical regardless of your country of origin.Q4. What does 'registration in Russia' mean? What does 'registration in Moscow' mean?
A4. Nothing really! There is no such thing as 'registration in Russia' or 'registration in Moscow'. Your registration is about the exact place you are staying at, for example: '10-5, Pushkina street, Saint-Petersburg, Russia'. This could be the address of a private lodging, a hotel room or any other place with a legal address.Q5. Must I make the 'migration registration' within three working days after entering Russia?
A5. No. A traveller must make the migration registration during that time after they arrive to where they plan to stay. If you enter Russia from Finland and then go to Vladivostok by a Trans-Siberian train, your journey taking 10 days, and then stay at your friend's place in Vladivostok, then you only make the migration registration within three working days after you arrive to your friend's place.
Q6. If I go to Russia for a bicycle trip and camp out, must I have the registration?
A6. Since you have no specific place you are staying at, you simply can't have the registration.
Q7. Suppose I spend five days in my Russian friend's flat at 5-10, Chekhova street, then five more days with another Russian friend at 5-11, Chekhova street. Do I have to go through migration registration twice?
A7: Theoretically, yes. In practice, nobody does it.
Q8. Suppose I spend two days in my Russian friend's flat at 5-10, Chekhova street, then two more days with another Russian friend at 5-11, Chekhova street. Do I have to go through migration registration at all?
A8. No, you don't.
Q9. OK, OK. But the migration registration is a piece of paper. Can Russian law check if I possess it?
A9. Yes. A precinct police inspector and an officer of the Federal Migration Service sometimes can check this. If they can prove that you've been living in the same place for more than three working days and don't have the registration, you will be fined, and your Russian host will be fined twice that amount. In practice it is almost impossible: you should always say, that two days earlier you were staying with another Russian friend.
Q10. Sounds good, but can Russian passport control check this when I leave Russia?
A10. No, you don't have to show this paper when you leave Russia, because the law says you must give it to your Russian host, who must send it to Federal Migration Service immediately (within 48 hours after you leave their place). Russian border guards don't have the authority to check this.
Q11. Anyway, please describe the procedure of the migration registration as it is by the law.
A11. If you are staying in a hotel, the hotel stuff must do it for you, FREE OF CHARGE, using special software. You are not responsible for the process. If you are staying in a Russian friend's place of residence, you must present copies of the following:
a) the two-page spread of the first page of your passport (with your name and your photo);
b) your migration form, i.e., the piece of paper which you filled when entering Russia, with a Russian border crossing stamp.
The copy of your visa is NOT NEEDED! AGAIN: the migration registration is the PASSPORT registration ONLY. The registration for VISA is a non-entity.
Sometimes, it's a good idea to have a copy of your Russian visa, but it is only for you and your consideration. It contains your name, surname, etc. in Cyrillic script, and it might be quite useful for filling the forms by your Russian host: friend, hotel or whoever.
Then your Russian host (WITHOUT YOU) must visit ANY post office, fill two identical official forms (the Notification, see two pictures
) and pay approximately 180 roubles. Then they receive a half of one copy of that Notification with a post stamp, carrying the current date. This piece of paper is the evidence of making the migration registration during your period of stay at that place. This half is so called 'tear-off coupon of registration's notification'. The rest 1.5 copies of the Notification is kept for official use.
Before you leave the place you MUST give that piece of paper ('tear-off coupon of registration's notification') to your Russian host. You have NO CHANCE to keep it in your pocket, though you can make a copy of it if you wish.
Q12. But Timatic says: In case of stay in the Russian Federation exceeding 3 days, passengers must register their Immigrant Card and visas through their hotel or sponsor. Passengers visiting relatives must register with local police upon arrival and have registration entered in their visa. If staying in a hotel, this will be arranged by the hotel.
A12. The Timatic is not the ultimate authority. The regulations have been facilitated since 2007, but no corrections on the Timatic.
That means Timatic now provides you with wrong information. It gives you the wrong idea of Russia today.Q13. I don't believe you! Give me a link that says what Russia officially thinks of it!
A13.www.fms.gov.ru/useful/migrate/index_eng.phpQ14. Is it true that migration registration procedures will become online?
A14. As of January 2011 it is not possible yet. Russian migration authorities promise to introduce this online service in a few months.