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How to register your visa in Russia

The city of Kazan as viewed from the Kazan Kremlin

What is visa registration?

Visa registration is a form of migration control managed by the Russian FMS (Federal Migration Service), and involves receiving a stamp in your passport, or on your migration card, and obtaining a registration slip.

These will show the period you are registered to stay in one place, as well as where you are staying and who is your sponsor organisation.

Do I need to register my visa?

You will have to register your visa for each visit to Russia.

You will have to re-register for each city that you stay in for seven working days or more.

You will also have to register if you plan on getting married in Russia.

If you have registered in your arrival city, and then move on to another city for less than seven working days, you do not need to register, but we would recommend you do so if it is possible.

When do I need to register my visa?

After arriving in Russia, you should register your visa within seven working days.

If you are staying in a second city for seven working days or more, you must register your visa within the first seven working days.

If you would like to use our visa registration service in St Petersburg, you should register within five working days of arriving in Russia.

How do I register my visa?

This will depend on the type of visa you have, which city you are visiting, and what accommodation you are staying in.

There may be some exceptions for certain restricted cities, or areas, which you can find below, but the following rules will cover most travellers.

I have a tourist or business visa

I’m staying in a hotel or hostel

Most hotels and hostels will register you upon checking in at the reception desk. They will take a scan of your passport and visa, before giving you your passport back with a copy of your registration. This should take no more than a few minutes.

While it is rare, some hotels or hostels may charge a fee, the cost of which would be on a hotel by hotel basis.

Remember, when travelling in Russia you must always have your passport with you, so do not leave your accommodation without it.

I’m not staying in a hotel or hostel

If you are staying in St Petersburg, we can offer registration through our partner within five working days of your arrival.

Click here for more information.

Please note: due to a new law that came into force in 2018, Real Russia are no longer able to offer visa registration in our office in Moscow.

If you are travelling to Moscow or anywhere else within Russia and need to register your visa, you will have two options:

  1. You can register your visa with the local Federal Migration Service (FMS)
  2. You can register at the local post office (почта in Russian)

I have a private visa

You will need to take your passport and migration card to the local Federal Migration Service (FMS) office when you arrive in the town or city that issued the invitation you used for your visa. You should need no other documents, as all your details are included within the visa itself.

What do I do with my registration slip?

You will always need to keep this with your passport and visa to show that you have registered your stay.

If you register in a second city, they will replace your original registration slip with a new one and discard your old one. This is OK, as you only need the most recent registration slip.

When you exit Russia, your registration slip will be kept by passport control.

What if I am travelling and don't have time to register?

This can be common if you are travelling on the Trans-Siberian railway and depart on the train soon after you arrive in Russia.

Where you have been travelling between cities and haven’t had the chance to register your visa, you should keep copies of any tickets as evidence of this. This will help if you are asked to explain any gaps in your registration in Russia, though you may still be subject to a fine upon exiting Russia.

If you do have the opportunity to register your visa at any point along the way, for example, if you stay overnight anywhere in a hotel, please do so.

What will happen if I don't register?

While it is rare, your passport and visa may be spot checked by local police or officials, and if you have failed to register your visa you may be subject to on the spot fines of between 2,000 roubles and 5,000 roubles. They may also take you to the local police station to check your details, passport and visa, and levy further fines.

If you have not registered your visa upon departure from Russia, passport control can fine you between 2,000 roubles and 5,000 roubles. In some cases, they may immediately deport you, and you will be banned from entering Russia for five years.

If you receive two official fines, and your details are taken, these will be shared with Russian consulates worldwide, and you may be barred from obtaining a Russian visa for five years.

If you have registered your visa, but simply lost your registration slip, you will not be liable for any fines. If you are still within the original registration period for your visit, you may be able to get a new registration slip, but you cannot get a replacement for the one you have lost.

Why do I have to register my visa?

Visa registration is a form of migration control, helping the Russian government control immigration to, and within, Russia.

More importantly, you should register your visa because otherwise you may be liable to fines during spot-checks of your visa documentation by police or other officials, and when exiting the country by border control.

Registration with our partner in St Petersburg

Pay in advance

If you paid for visa registration when paying for your visa application with us, you can email to us a scanned copy of all used pages within your passport, including the photo page, the entry stamps for your current visit and the migration card you will receive upon entry into Russia. If you are unable to scan the documents, a good quality picture taken with a phone camera would be acceptable.

Email these documents to visapartners@realrussia.co.uk.

Alternatively, you can contact our partners on arrival in St Petersburg to arrange to take your documents to them personally.

You can find our partners here:

Hotel Piterskaya,

Nevskiy Av. 74-76,

Lit. A, Unit 39H,

191025

(entrance from Liteyniy Avenue 63)

Click here for a map

You can contact them by calling:

+7 (951) 673 8980

Please note: once your visa letter of invitation has been issued, your pre-paid registration fee is non-refundable.

Pay on arrival

If you have not paid for registration as part of your visa application, you can do so directly at our partners office in St Petersburg. This will need to be done within five working days of your arrival in the city to allow time for them to register your visa with the local Federal Migration Service (FMS).

Registration at the local Federal Migration Service office

You may complete the required forms yourself, and apply directly at the local Federal Migration Service (FMS) office. This office must be the one responsible for the area in which you are staying.

Your landlord will need to accompany you in order to complete a ‘Notification of arrival’ form.

You will need to supply both the original and copies of the following:

  1. All used pages within your passport, including the photo page
  2. Your current visa with the entry stamp
  3. Your current migration card with the entry stamp
  4. Your landlord’s internal passport
  5. Your landlord’s current registration stamp in their passport – it must match the address you are registering against
  6. A document to prove that your landlord owns the property you will be staying at

If you have everything correct the process should take around 15 minutes; though the queue to register may take a little longer.

Registration support letter

While not always necessary, some cities will also require an official letter requesting that the Federal Migration service (FMS) agents register your visa.

To obtain one from Real Russia, please select ‘Registration support letter required’ when applying for your visa with us. When you receive your passport with its visa, send the following by email to visas@realrussia.co.uk:

  1. A clear copy or scan of your visa
  2. The full address of the private accommodation you will be staying at, and the name of the person who will be your host or landlord – this should preferably in Cyrillic

We will then be able to prepare your letter. We aim to complete this within 48 hours of your initial request.

Please note: this is not a visa registration, it is simply a letter requesting to be registered. This letter must be presented at the local Federal Migration Service (FMS) office upon your arrival.

Registration at a Multifunctional Centre (MFC/МФЦ)

An alternative to registering at the local Federal Migration Service is to visit the local Multifunctional Centre (MFC).

You will need to supply both the original and copies of the following:

  1. All used pages within your passport, including the photo page
  2. Your current visa with the entry stamp
  3. Your current migration card with the entry stamp
  4. Your landlord’s internal passport
  5. Your landlord’s current registration stamp in their passport – it must match the address you are registering against
  6. A document to prove that your landlord owns the property you will be staying at

In addition, you will need the following:

  1. An application form completed and signed by the landlord (provided by the MFC)
  2. Birth certificates for those under 18 years of age
  3. EGRN (Unified State Register for Real Estate) statement from the landlord (issued by the MFC)

As this service will be by a private body, there will be a cost for this registration process. The price may vary from city to city.

 

 

How long can I stay in Russia once my visa has been registered?

You may stay in Russia for the entire validity period of your visa, though you may need to renew your visa registration if it does not cover the full period of time you are planning to stay in Russia.

What is a migration card?

When you enter Russia, whether by land, sea or air, you will be required to fill in a migration card with your personal, passport and visa details.

There are two parts to this, ‘A’, and ‘B’. Part ‘A’ will be kept by passport control. You will keep part ‘B’. You must keep this with your passport at all times, and it must be presented to passport control when you leave Russia.

If you lose part ‘B’, you will have difficulties when leaving Russia, including fines of up to £1,000.

It is very important that if you do lose you migration card you should visit the local Federal Migration Service (FMS) office as soon as possible to declare it and get a replacement.

Part "B" of a migration card showing an entry stamp

UFMS registration stamp on the rear of part "B" of a migration card

 

In some cases, the migration card may only be in Russian and not have an English translation and you may find the following sample form below useful.

Sample migration card in Russian only with English translation of text

What is a 'Notification of arrival' form?

A ‘Notification of arrival’ form is required if you are staying in private accommodation rather than a hotel or hostel.

The form is entirely in Russia, and must be filled in by your host or landlord and handed in alongside any other documents required for registration.

The following must be completed:

  1. Your personal details
  2. Your passport and visa details
  3. Your trip details
  4. The address and details of your host or landlord
  5. Details of your inviting organisation

Once completed and approved, you will be given the bottom section, which will act as your visa registration. You should keep this with you at all times.

Click here for a sample of the form

If you would like to print this out to use, you must ensure it is printed on both sides of a single sheet of A4 paper.

What does the registration slip look like?

The registration slip is a thin slip of paper that will contain all the details of your trip to Russia, including your personal details, passport and visa details and the length of your stay.

You will receive this upon registration and must keep it with you, in your passport, at all times.

Tear off registration slip showing "host" or "receiving person details" and UFMS stamp.

Cities with alternative visa registration rules

Registration is straightforward in most cities in Russia, and if you plan on staying in a hotel or hostel, you should have no issues.

There are a few exceptions, though.

If you plan to stay in private accommodation in one of the following cities, you should do the following:

  1. Make sure you list the city in your application for both the letter of invitation and your visa, bringing both with you to Russia
  2. Request a registration support letter from Real Russia once you are in Russia

Rules in these cities can change regularly, without warning. So, if you find that the rules are different to those outlined below, please let us know your experience so we can update the information we offer to others.

And if you do have any difficulties, please contact us using our 24-hour support line on +44 207 100 7370.

Astrakhan

Local authorities may require additional documentation from foreign travellers who do not stay in a hotel registered for foreign travellers.

For registration periods of seven working days or more, the inviting organisation needs to provide you with:

  1. A copy of the passport of the General Director
  2. A company letter stating that the inviting party will take all responsibility for the invited person during their stay in Russia

It is not possible for Real Russia or many other Russian companies to meet these conditions. Please take this into account when organising trips to this area.

Barnaul

Dimitrovgrad

If you try to register locally any type of visa other than Private, such as Tourist or Business, while staying in private accommodation, you will be officially fined, and this may lead to a five-year ban on entering Russia.

You must have a Private visa if you plan to stay in Private accommodation.

Gorno-Altaysk

Kamchatka and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky

Foreign nationals who visit this region must receive a special permit from the local authorities. You will need to show this permit alongside your visa to be granted entry.

The permit itself can take up to three months to process and can be arranged by Russian Discovery, Tel: +7 495 125-28-08, email: go@russiadiscovery.ru, if you book a tour with them.

If you are travelling to this region with a Tourist or Business visa, you should send a scan to the local brand of the FSB before your date of entry.

Nalchik

As with other cities in the Southern Caucasus region, it is very important that you keep all visa documents, including your letter of invitation, with you when entering and exiting the area, otherwise you could face difficulties with the authorities, including large fines.

It is worth nothing that the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office recommend that all travellers avoid this region.

Nizhny Novgorod

If you are flying directly to Nizhny Novgorod from outside of Russia, and plan on entering Russia with a Tourist visa, you will also need a special voucher, which we are unable to provide.

If you plan to visit with a Tourist visa, you do not need the voucher if you visit the city from anywhere in Russia, such as overland by train.

If you are travelling directly to Nizhny Novgorod with a Business visa, you do not need any extra voucher, and can enter as normal.

H3: Norilsk

Norilsk is a ‘closed ‘city, meaning it is very difficult for foreign travellers to visit. Should you choose to visit you should apply for a Business visa using a business invitation from a local company.

We do not recommend trying to enter with a tourist visa.

Novosibirsk

Perm

Pyatigorsk

Rostov-on-Don

Sakhalin

The Sakhalin region exercise strict control over where foreign citizens can work.

Real Russia can provide a Business visa for this area provided that it is for the purpose of taking part in meetings, conferences, negotiations or similar, but not if you plan to work in the region. If you are found to be doing this you will be deported, and Real Russia as the inviting party will be sanctioned by the Sakhalin authorities. Because of this, if you apply for a visa stating you will visit this region, we will contact you to confirm the exact nature of your reason for travel.

Samara

Saratov

Tyumen

You should not try to register a Tourist or Business visa when staying at private accommodation. Local authorities will only allow you to register your visa at a private address if you have a Private visa.

Should you try to register anything other than a Private visa, you will be fined and this can lead to a five year ban on entering Russia.

Yamal Districts

This region has many restricted and sanctuary zones for which you will need a special permit to visit, in addition to your visa. Our friends at http://www.welcome2yamal.ru/, Tourist Information Centre telephone: +7(34922)-4-49-49, e-mail: visit@yamaltour.info, will be able to help you with this.