Important notice on visa-registration in Russia:

Starting with January 15, 2007, new registration rules came into effect in Russia. Despite a seeming complexity, it will actually become EASIER to register tourist and business visas in Russia. Each inviting entity or host will be able to assist a visiting foreigner with registration simply by filling out and submitting simple paperwork in a timely manner.

We realize that the new registration law is very unclear and confusing. Moreover, recent articles in press have fueled this confusion even further.

Unfortunately, it is still not 100% clear how the law is supposed to be implemented. We are keeping our eye on the developments and will be updating the information on our website as soon as the information becomes available.

One thing is clear - authorities insist that the registration papers are to be filled out by an actual inviting entity, i.e. a host if the foreigner is staying at a private apartment and an actual company that a foreigner came to do business with. Usually this can be different from the inviting organization listed on the invitation. In case of foreigners staying at hotels, the hotel will be performing all the necessary steps to complete registration. We have not heard of a single case of a hotel refusing to register a guest.

Please review the rules below.

  1. A foreign citizen visiting Russia on a tourist or business visa must register at the local Foreign Migration Services department within three business days of the arrival time. Paperwork must be completed by the receiving entity. Please note that the receiving entity is not necessarily the same as the inviting organization entered at the person's visa support invitation and visa but the actual host company, a hotel or a person a foreigner is visiting in Russia.

  2. The receiving entity must fill out the special notification form and submit it to the local Foreign Migration Services Department on the behalf of the foreign citizen within three business days. The notification form has two parts separated by the puncture line. One part is submitted to the authorities and the other must be kept by the foreigner throughout the entire stay and presented to the authorities if needed. In case of foreigners staying at hotels, the hotel will be performing all the necessary steps to complete registration. We have not heard of a single case of a hotel refusing to register a guest.

  3. When the foreign citizen is leaving Russia, he must return this receipt to the receiving entity, which in turn must submit it to the Foreign Migration Service within 24 hours. Should the second part of the form not be returned to the Foreign Migration Service upon the foreigner's departure, the authorities assume that he/she never left and the visa is overstayed. This could lead to the foreigner being fined (up to USD 1500!) and/or placed in one of the black lists maintained by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which might make future travel to Russia difficult. In addition, the receiving entity will also be fined.

  4. Registration must be done at each location where a foreigner stays for a period of three business days or more.

  5. Each foreigner entering Russia will still be getting a migration card. This card must be kept throughout the stay and presented once again upon departure. However, it is no longer necessary for registration.

While, as it often happens in Russia, many details are not finalized yet, we urge you to attempt registration. If traveling to cities other than Moscow, we suggest that you attempt to register at the local OVIR (FMS is a new name for the well-known OVIR).

While the registration form is not approved for use in all the Russian cities and there may be some variations, we do have the latest form used in Moscow and some other cities (download here: PDF file, DOC file). The forms exist in Russian only. Please check with the local authorities in the city where you will be staying which form should be used.

Once the form is finalized by the Russian Ministry of Jurisprudence and is uniform across Russia, we will create an electronic version of it and make it available for you on your website.