Visa Registration in Russia
Russian law requires visitors to register their Russian visas within SEVEN working days of arrival. Visa registration is compulsory for every foreign citizen spending SEVEN days or more in the Russian Federation.
Registration may be carried out by the following:
• The hotel or a hostel where you are staying.
• The owner of the apartment if you are staying in a private apartment with friends or a family.
• The company which issued your visa invitation.
When you stay in a hotel or hostel, you visa will either be registered at no additional charge or for a small administrative fee (about EUR 5) when you check in.
If you are staying in private accommodation, you will have to register your Russian visa yourself, which can be a long and troublesome procedure. You and the apartment owner have to visit OVIR (the Federal Migration Service Department) and spend several hours waiting in the queue.
On arrival in Russia, you will be given a migration card (see image below), which you should fill in carefully (including your full name, passport data, terms and purpose of visit, duration of stay, and the company which issued your invitation). The passport control officer will stamp it to indicate the date and place of your arrival.
Keep your migration card safe, as it has to be handed back at passport control on departure. If your migration card has been lost or stolen (or simply not stamped), you will be prevented from leaving the country until you pay a fine and all the necessary paperwork has been completed.
Please note, the rules on Russian visa registration were changed in January 2007.
In order to register your visa, a copy of your passport, visa and migration card, and special registration form should be taken to the local branch of the Federal Migration Service. This should be done by the landlord or hotel representative.
The authorities take the form and return a tear-off coupon that the visitor must keep until departure. When leaving Russia, the visitor gives the tear-off coupon to the landlord and the landlord passes it to the Federal Migration Service. This should be done within 24 hours after departure.
• Every foreign citizen (including children) entering the Russian Federation on his or her own passport has to fill in a migration card and register their visa.
• Russian visas have to be registered on location, which means that you are obliged to register your visa at every point of your route where your stay exceeds seven working days.
• Violation of the registration rules may lead to the withdrawal of a Russian visa for up to 5 years and the following fines:
For foreign visitors: RUB 2,000–5,000
For Russian hosts: RUB 2,000–4,000
For authorities: RUB 40,000–50,000
For inviting companies: RUB 400,000–500,000