You landed safely in Russia and you are at the border control. Your next step is filling out something called a migration card.
Depending on your way of transport, you will either have to fill out this form by yourself or it will be filled out for you automatically (this is usually the practice on bigger airports). This card is split into two parts. The one that is left with you should be in your passport at all times. Don’t lose it since you will have to show it while exiting Russia. Otherwise, you may need to pay a fine.
So, you are done with the border officials and you got your passport stamped. Now what? Now it’s time to get through with your registration.
Registration and registration slip
This process is mandatory for all foreigners staying in Russia. This is basically just registering your visa and collecting information on your whereabouts. If you don’t register, you may face a fine.
If you are staying at a hotel, it is hotel’s responsibility to register you. They will probably charge you something, but it is easier to leave everything in the hands of the hotel.
If you are travelling for business purposes, your employer, company or organisation that issued your invitation will have to register you as well.
In case you are staying with your family, friends, any type of private accommodation, your hosts need to register you.
Where can you get registered? Either at a local police station or post office.
There is only one form that needs to be filled out and you have to give them your passport’s copy (first page with your photo and visa pages) along with your migration card. Your host will also have to present their passport registered at the same address.
After the registration, you will be given a registration slip which you will also need to carry with you at all times. It is also necessary to show it while leaving the country as well as the migration card. Sometimes police are checking passengers at train stations and airports, so always carry with you your passport, migration card and slip.
When to register
Your registration needs to be done within 7 business days of your arrival in Russia. This means that weekends and holidays are not counted. If your overall stay is less than 7 business days, you won’t have to register.
In case you are staying 5 business days in Moscow for example, and another 5 business days in St. Petersburg, it is enough to only register once in Moscow. Your overall stay in Russia will be more than 7 business days, but since you will be staying 5 business days in the other city, you won’t have to register there.
In case you will be staying more than those 5 days, you will have to register there as well. You will be given another registration slip and you are going to be asked to show the slip from the previous city. Make sure to keep them all safe and to make copies of them.
Border officials will check your passport, visa, migration card and registration slips. If everything is present, you will be able to leave the country.
If your visa is expired, you will need to extend your visa if possible or get an exit visa. You also need to have a valid excuse for your overstaying. In special cases, the Russian government will issue a certificate called Return-Home. It is valid for ten days which will grant you a leave without an exit visa.
Make sure that your Russian visa is valid, that you have your migration card, and that you completed your registration (if you need to).