More hassles promised for foreign travellers to Russia

no-entry-to-foreignersRecent (January 2015) rule from the Federal Migration Services makes it mandatory for travellers to supply a list of all places they plan to visit, where they will get registered, and by whom.

Up to now incoming tourists could register without specifying in advance the exact time and place they will be in, which gave them considerable freedom to make their itinerary as they go.

No wonder there is a significant drop in tourists travelling to Russia.

I’d very much like to hear how the new rule looks from the travellers’ point of view, what extra documents are now required, and in exactly what way the procedure to obtain the Russian visa has been made more difficult.

Found on Eye on the Arctic.

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Comments

More hassles promised for foreign travellers to Russia — 6 Comments

  1. Guess you haven’t read the news about the Russian military full war readiness exercises on the Norwegian border and in Barents Sea, 40,000 troops, hundreds of helicopters, the latest mobile missile batteries, those huge Russian Hovercraft amphibious landing ships, etc., etc., etc.
    Also not a good idea to visit Russia right now if U.S. decides to help defend Mariupol with A-10 Warthogs close ground support aircraft, and Kharkov with F-22 Raptors.

  2. Well, is this a joke? I mean, geeh whiz, Lee Harvey Oswald didn’t have that much trouble visiting Russia at the peak of the Cold War. Uncle Pasha, I just love your wicked Jewish sense of humor. You slay me!

    I always wanted to travel across Russia on the trans-Siberia railway. Crazy, I know.

  3. It remains to be seen what the new rule means in practice. Perhaps the authorities will be content with a perfunctory list not quite connected with reality. Speaking of visiting Russia, with rouble down it is certainly more affordable than a year-something ago, and I’d encourage those with Russian travel plans on the backburner to go now, while the exchange rate is in your favour. Talk to me if you chose to travel south-north as opposed to west-east.

  4. I visited Russia in April of 2015 for 4 weeks and I can tell you that Russian authorities absolutely did not enforce this rule with me. I did not stay in any of the places that was stated on my visa application and I totally made up the trip as I traveled about Russia. This new rule is strange because visitors to Russia are already given a “tracking” number when they enter the country; you practically can’t do anything without this tracking number. The tracking number is used when you exchange money at the bank, buy a train ticket or go to a hotel. So, Russian authorities could have known where and what I was doing with a few keystrokes on the computer. I don’t understand why this new rule is even necessary. People don’t like to feel like they are being treated like a criminal when they travel to Russia. I can put up with being tracked and all the hotel workers watching my every move but at least give me the illusion that I am not a prisoner by letting me move about freely. I had no problems leaving the country, so it looks like they did not check to see what I put down on my Russian visa application. Now, that might change in the future but what are they going to do if they do decide to enforce this crazy law? Kick me out of the country? Hey, I was leaving anyway!!!

    • Thank you, John, for your story.

      This is the first time I hear of the “tracking number”. Where you given it when crossing the border? I’d appreciate details. Was it a separate document, or part of the “migration slip”?

      As to “what are they going to do.. to enforce this crazy law”, they could do what they did with the registration: deny you the right to exit till you pay the fine, and put you on the black list of those who can’t get their visa for five years.

  5. I was issued a tourist visa for a month visit to Russia in USA. When I entered Sheremetevo Airport, I was given a small piece of paper with a number and some writing in Russian. The Immigration agent did not really explain what this document was used for and I don’t even know what it is called in Russian. “Tracking number” is my term for this document. I am not sure if it is the “migration slip” that you refer to. Anyway, everywhere I went, people wanted this tiny piece of paper with a number on it and if I did not produce it, they would tell me, they can’t help me. No matter what you call this document, it amounts to a tracking number for everything you do in Russia. If I exchanged a small amount of money (like $100.00), they did not care about this tracking number, but if I wanted to exchange $300.00 at the bank, they wanted this tracking number and a registration slip from the place I was staying. Of course, I could have exchanged money at some kiosk on any street at a worse exchange rate than the bank, and nobody was going to ask me for any documents. When I returned home at Sheremetevo, they kept the tracking slip and stamped my Russian visa which was glued to a page of my passport.

    I was not as cavalier as my previous message may have suggested. I guess I was aware of some of the nasty things that could happen to me but I did not personally feel that I did anything wrong. I simply moved about Russia freely as I would do in the USA or any country for that matter. I don’t really have any plans to change my behavior on future trips to Russia. If Russian authorities start hassling me, then I’ll stop going to Russia. Restricting the movement of any individual is tantamount to putting that person in jail.

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