The information in this article is still in effect, however according to recent news reports the registration of foreigners will not be required in the near future, as the point of new migrations law is not registration of foreigners, but monitoring of how many foreigners are in Russia at any given time.

Migration Card for entrance to Russia One of the biggest pains about traveling to Russia for foreigners is a required registration in the city of stay within three business days of arrival. When you stay in the hotels, most hotels will take care of it for you, but if you come to visit (and stay with) your friends and family, you have to get registered.

Read on for the registration procedure guide.

A few of words about what the registration is for. The registration requirement came as the tool to control migration, domestic and foreign. When the economy of the country started to recover it didn’t develop equally the same in every corner of Russia, big cities had it better then small, regions rich on natural resources (aka “donor regions”) got more investments then not so rich. All this created a few centers around the country where a lot of people wanted to move, which, if you think about it, could be a problem. And on top of that Russia is 2nd largest immigration destination in the world, after the USA, mostly migrants from former Soviet Republics, with most of which we have no visa requirements. Think of USA and immigration from Mexico, multiply it by the length of Russia’s borders and you’ll get some idea of the issue. Until a couple of years ago there were the same registration rules for Russians and foreigners, now Russian citizens have to register locally after 90 days, but foreigners still have to do it within 3 business days.

How effective the registration is, and weather it violates Constitution, which guarantees the freedom of movement/travel, is a long and heated debate. I’ll keep it out of this article.

Anyways, registration was never a pleasant task — there are only a few places where you could do it, which were handling other tasks as well ( =huge lines of people), working hours are short, need to go to another place to pay for the procedure then come back, and al that had to be done together with the person invited you. But the new rules, which are already in effect, make it easier to register, though they also increase the fine for not being registered. The point of the new changes is that now the receiving side (in traveling case – person who invited you and you staying with) just has to inform the authorities where you are staying, and they now can do it by mail. And there is no registration fee.

This information is from the forum on the website of Federal Migration Service. It was found via SoNoty blog, who’s author lives in Sochi, and translated by me.

If you are foreigner planning a private visit to Russia not through travel agency/hotels, I recommend you print out the original Russian text, as all of this will have to be done by the receiving side, not you.

1. Foreigner (below just “visitor”) enters Russian Federation

2. Who is the “receiving side”, will, i guess, vary from case to case. If you are visiting you friends/relatives, if will be them. If you come for work, it will be company you work for. Etc…

3. Visitor gives to the receiving side following:

3.1. Passport

3.2. Migration card (all foreign citizens have to fill it out on entrance into Russian Federation)

4. The receiving side does following:

4.1. Makes a photocopy of:
 a) passport pages (centerfolds where photo is and where border crossing mark is)
 b) migration card
 c) pages of his/her own passport (centerfolds where photo is and where he is registered)

4.2. Goes to the local (to where he lives) federal migration services office (FMS) (районный отдел УФМС (ОУФМС))

4.2.1. In FMS office fills out one copy of the “Notification of foreigner arrival” (“Уведомление о прибытия иностранца”)

4.2.2. In FMS office shows following:
 a) filled out “Notification of foreigner arrival” paper
 b) his (receiving side) own passport + copy of its pages
 c) copy of Visitor’s pages
 d) copy of Visitor’s migration card

4.2.3. FMS officer checks all this. If everything present and filled out correctly, bottom part of the “Notification of foreigner arrival” paper is removed, and the following is filled out by the officer: date the information is received, his/her full name and signature, and certify it with stamp.
 – No markings are made on the Migration card
 – No fees are paid

4.2.4. The receiving side gives the paper filled out by FMS officer to the Visitor. Nothing else is required, until visitor leaves.

4.2.5. During document checks (in Russia anyone can be stopped by the Police for document checks, have you documents in order and on you all the time) the Visitor shows following:
a) passport
b) migration card
c) part of the “Notification of foreigner arrival” filled out by FMS officer

4.3. Instead of visit to the FMS office, the same can be done via mail.

4.3.1. Receiving side must go to the local Post office (SoNotes blog author reports that in Sochi people are redirected from local post offices to central one, in Central district)

4.3.2. Unlike during visit to the FMS office, two copies of the “Notification…” is filled. But all the same documents are required (Passport of the receiving side + photocopy, copy of Visitor’s passport and copy of Visitor’s migration card)

4.3.3. Post office worker checks all this info. If everything present and filled out correctly, bottom part of the “Notification of foreigner arrival” paper is removed, and the following is filled out by the post office worker: date the information is received, his/her full name and signature, and certify it with stamp. And gives it to the receiving side. The post office will mail all submitted documents to the FMS.
The receiving side gives Notification filled out by post office employee to the visitor.

4.3.4. This procedure at the post office is NOT free. It costs 118 rub. ($4.5) + shipping & handling.

4.3.5. When registration is done via Post Office, the certification of papers in FMS office is NOT required!


1. The presence of the Visitor during registration (either FMS or Post office) is NOT required

2. The person who wrote these instructions recommends the receiving side to have original (in addition to the photocopies) Passport and Migration Card of the Visitor during registration, just in case…

4.4. The registration must be done within first three (3) days of Visitor’s arrival to the city (not the entrance of the Russian Fed.)

4.5. When the Visitor leaves, he/she must return the Notification slip to the receiving side. So when leaving Russia, Visitor should only have original migration card.

4.6. Visitor should make a copy of the Notification in case he/she needs to show it on train station/airport/border crossing, since the original slip is returned to the receiving side before he/she leaves.

4.7. The receiving side must return the Notification slip to FMS, either in FMS office, or it can be sent by regular mail.

Migration Card for entrance to Russia
Fragment of migration card. Foto from



  1. 1
    Marcus Palstra
    June 28th, 2007 at 12:32

    I was intrigued by your advertisements relative to your quest for the hosting of the 2014 Winter Olympics; I saw your ads on CNN and was greatly impressed by their quality… you have accomplished many essential goals in international advertising, specifically:

    1) the ads are short and to the point

    2) the ads are not always the same: sometimes certain clips are included, sometimes not, which heightens the viewer’s interest

    3) the message of each clip is cryptic and leaves the viewer guessing

    4) each clip has a certain sensuality to it – a girl skiing downhill wearing only pants, a fur hat and a bra definitely commands one’s attention

    5) the girls in the clips are gorgeous, and have very infectious smiles

    6) the general atmosphere of the clips is positive and uplifting: one feels a sense of elation after viewing…

    Well done! I have travelled extensively around the world, but had never heard of Sochi: your ads interested me enough to make me search for it on the map…

    But there is a problem with your website: it is in poor English – obviously translated – and could do with some considerable editing. As it stands, it gives a poor impression to viewers who may have been considerably impressed by your advertisements (as I was) but are bound to be somewhat disappointed when they look up your official website…

    I am a translator, normally translating written documents from French, Spanish, Portuguese and German into English, and am certain that I could improve the presentation of your website from the perspective of native English speakers. Considering the urgency of the matter – the election of the 2014 Winter Olympics host being in a couple of weeks or less – I would be prepared to work day and night to edit the English of your website texts; I estimate that I could make satisfactory corrections to the entire website in 72 hours. This would, in my opinion, greatly improve the impact of your website, bringing it up to the same high standards as your TV ads…

    If you are interested in employing my services, I can be contacted at Feel free to submit a sample passage for editing to allow you to determine the quality of my work…

    Best regards and good luck in your Sochi Olympic quest,

    Marcus Palstra
    Santa Cruz, Bolivia

  2. 2
    June 28th, 2007 at 18:29

    firstly, thanks for stopping by and sharing your view on our city’s efforts and my english skills :) , really. and im excited to hear that our tax money are being spent well. but if you’ll look at “about” section of this site, you’ll realise that I am not in any way affiliated (unfortunatelly for me) with Sochi’s Olympic Bid team. I just really love my city and want to spread the word, thats all.

    the official website you’ll need to visit is . i hope you’ll find texts on it in better english then on my site ;)

    in anyway, you should forward your letter to them, you never know… and best of luck!


  1. Russophile: Russian Blogs, News & Discussion - Russian Visa Registration Requirements for Foreigners
  2. Russophile: Russian Blogs, News & Discussion - Russian Visa Registration Requirements for Foreigners

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