THIS PAGE CONTAINS VERY IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR TRAVELERS
TO RUSSIA. PLEASE READ CAREFULLY, ESPECIALLY IF YOU VISIT
RUSSIA FOR THE FIRST TIME.
Emergency Numbers (round-the-clock)
«Lengaz» gas leakage crew
Special police service (for foreigners)
Rights of foreign citizens
and persons without citizenship in the Russian Federation
The legal status of foreign citizens and persons without
citizenship in the Russian Federation is determined by the
Law of the USSR "Regarding the Legal Status of Foreign
Citizens" (this law remains in force to this day on the
territory of the Russian Federation), the Rules Governing
Entry of Foreign Citizens into the Russian Federation, and
the Federal Law "Regarding Procedures for Entry into the
Russian Federation and Exit from the Russian Federation".
Foreign citizens entering Russia must have a valid national
passport, while persons without citizenship must have valid
identity documents issued by an authorized body in the
country of which they are permanent residents. Additionally,
visitors to Russia must have an entry or
issued by a diplomatic representative office of the Russian
Federation. When visitors pass through the Russian border at
a border-control point, their passports and visas must be
stamped to certify entry into Russia. The date indicated on
the stamp is considered to be the first day of the visitor's
stay in the Russian Federation.
In Russia visitors' national
passports or other documents (in the case of persons without
citizenship) must be registered at district departments of
the passport and visa service in the course of
the three days
(excluding public holidays and weekends) following a
visitor's arrival at his/her destination. In addition, the
following rules apply:
- visitors visiting Russia on
personal business must submit a personal application for
registration at the district department of the passport and
visa service for the district in which they are staying;
visitors who have entered Russia in order to study must
submit a letter of confirmation from the institution at
which they are studying, and are to undergo registration at
the district department for the district in which they are
- visitors who have entered Russia
for purposes of work, commerce, tourism, or religion or for
other purposes must submit a letter of confirmation from the
organization which is receiving them, and are to undergo
registration at the district department of the passport and
visa service for the district where their receiving
organisation is situated.
When national passports and visas have been registered, they
are to be returned to their holders. Foreigners staying in
Russia are obliged to carry on them passports and visas, and
are to present these documents when requested to do so by
members of law-enforcement bodies and other authorised
Hotels which have the right to register foreign visitors are
to register the passports of all foreign citizens staying in
them, regardless of the purpose or length of a visitor's
stay in the country. In the event that a foreign citizen is
staying in a private apartment or in a small hotel where
there is no registration service, he/she must apply for
registration to the nearest Department of Visas and
Registration of Foreign Citizens at the local District
Office of Internal Affairs. National passports are to be
registered for the length of time indicated in a visitor's
visa or tour document.
In the event that a foreign visitor loses his/her national
passport or visa, he/she should submit written notification
to the Office of Internal Affairs for the district in which
he/she has been registered. Receipt of such notification is
to be acknowledged by issue of a certificate to this effect.
Foreign citizens must apply to their national consulates (embassies)
to receive new national passports, and to the department of
the Passport and Visa Service where they were registered in
order to receive new exit documents.
Foreign citizens are entitled to move freely in areas of the
Russian Federation which are open to foreign citizens.
However, upon arrival at each new destination, they must
register their stay with the authorities either at the hotel
in which they are staying or at the local Office of Internal
Procedures governing movements within the Russian Federation
by foreign dozens whose national passports have been
registered at the Ministry of Internal Affairs or the
latter's representative offices are determined by the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs. These procedures likewise apply
to employees of airlines, banks, trading companies, and
other permanent representative offices of foreign
Foreigners may enter and move about within territories
closed to foreign citizens only after permission has been
obtained from the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
In Leningrad Region territories dosed to foreign citizens
are: the islands in the Finnish Gulf and a 20-km wide strip
of coast between the city of Lomonosov and the mouth of the
River Narva. The city of Lomonosov itself is open to foreign
In order for a foreign sitizen to enter the above
territories, the organisation which receives him/her must
obtain permission in the manner established by law.
Sanctions that may be used against foreign dozens or persons
without sitizenship for violations of rules and legislation
governing stays in the Russian Federation are: fines;
reduction of the time for which the violator is permitted to
stay in the Russian Federation; expulsion from Russia;
All foreign citizens committing violations of the law on
Russian territory are to bear administrative and criminal
liability on a parity with citizens of Russia and in
accordance with Russian law. The liability of persons with
diplomatic immunity for violations of the law is to be
settled only through diplomatic channels.
Russian law allows that persons may be arrested, searched,
or have their personal belongings or vehicles searched
should this be the necessary in order to prevent violations
of the law.
In case of illness
In case of emergency medical care needed, call ambulance 03
(24 hours a day).
Following emergency treatment, you should arrange to be
transferred to a licensed medical institution capable of
giving you the best treatment for your illness.
Private persons, healers, or quacks may offer you help. Our
advice is to refuse such offers. It is possible that no harm
will come of their attentions, but it is more likely that
you will simply lose time in finding effective treatment for
and Moscow have many
private health clinics, as well as private emergency and
dental services. Since these use the most modern medical
equipment and drugs and medicines, the level of service
provided is as high as anywhere else in the world while
prices are generally considerably lower.
For information about any services of the leading medical
centres of Saint-Petersburg and
Moscow and the presence of
medicines in city's pharmacists please inquiry the
Information Health Service: tel. 03 (24 hours a day).
The city's pharmacists stock Russian and imported medicines.
Many medicines are available without prescription.
Since it is against the law to pay in foreign currency on
the territory of the Russian Federation, you have to
exchange your money for Russian roubles. We remind you that
since January 1, 1999 only banknotes and coins issued in
1997 or later are valid.
It is not a problem to exchange money in Saint-Petersburg or
Moscow. There are a lot of banks and exchange offices,
especially in the centres of the cities, including those in
large department stores and hotels. Some of them are open 24
hours a day. Exchange rates in different exchange offices
are slightly different. If you want to exchange some money
you need to have proper credentials (national passport or
passport for travelling abroad, etc.) with you. The
documents are necessary for issuing a currency convertion
certificate (which you may need when leaving the country).
Remember, when changing money you should be on the alert for
trickery and fraud. Do not ever exchange money with
individuals. As a rule, they offer a better exchange rate,
but you risk loosing all your money.
If somebody asks you to hold their money for a while do not
agree to do so. Nor do we advise you to pick up a purse if
you see one on the ground. Otherwise swindlers may accuse
you of substitution of the money and demand compensation of
the missing sum.
If you fall a victim to fraud, we recommend that you contact
the police by dialling 02.
In the majority of restaurants, large shops and banks you
can pay by credit card. Cards of all major international
payment systems (VISA, Maestro, EuroPay, American Express
etc.) are received. Still, this sort of payment has not yet
become common enough. Therefore we advise that you always
have some cash roubles on you.
Credit card fraud is common in restaurants and night clubs.
Lost or stolen credit cards may be used to purchase some
goods or to obtain cash from cash-mashines, provided the
swindlers know your private identification number (code). In
some cases credit cards are quietly returned to their
holders after they have been used to make expensive
purchases. For this reason you better not leave your credit
cards (and receipt slips that may be copied by the swindlers
for illegal operations) anywhere even for a short period of
Along with the credit cards such means of payment as
traveller's cheques, Euro-cheques and other kinds of cheques
may be subjects to criminal encroachment. Illegal use of
such cheques is connected with thefts, robberies, fraud, or
accidental loss of the traveller's cheques by the legal
holders. In these cases, when there is holder's signature on
the cheque, a thief forges the secondsignature himself or
with the assistance of an accomplice and then obtains the
sum stated in the cheque at some financial or other
When leaving Russia, you may take up to $1500 with you
without any certificate. There is, on the other hand, no
limit on the amount of foreign currency you may bring into
the country. When leaving Russia, you should enter the sum
of money you are taking with you in your customs declaration
before you cross the border. You may take more than $1500 (but
not more than $10000) provided that you have documents for
customs clearance showing that the money had been legally
transfered or brought to the Russian Federation, or taken
from the current account (in foreign currency), or purchased
at the authorized bank of the Russian Federation. (Statute
of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation N 105-1,
Statute of the State Customs Committee of the Russian
Federation N 01-100/1 from January 12, 2000 Regarding the
Procedure of Exporting Foreign Currency from the Russian
Federation by Individuals, paragraphs 2.1 and 2.2).
If you are fond of games of hazard or wish to try your hand
at a little roulette, night-time Saint-Petersburg
and Moscow have a lot to
offer. However, you are no doubt aware that all over the
world casinos and clubs hold a risk of unwelcome adventures
as well as the promise of pleasure. St. Petersburg is no
exception. It is therefore best to restrict yourself to
casino and night clubs with a good reputation, where the
chance of something unpleasant happening is so slight as to
You might be reassured to know that there are guides,
translators, and security escorts whom you may book for any
time of day or night.
It is better perhaps not to take with you large sums of
money. If your intention is to win, you won't need much
anyway. And if you intend to lose, you will lose less.
Do not respond to strangers who may offer you drinks, give
you advice on how to lay your bets, and go out of their way
to gain your friendship. Remember that in Russia, as all
over the world, this is not acceptable behaviour and is a
sure sign of the existence of a hidden motive.
Consider in advance how you are going to return from your
night out. You will always be able to order a taxi, while if
you have won a large sum, the casino's special security'
service will escort you home.
Always carry with you your passport or other personal
identity' document. The police have the right to inspect
your documents, but must give their names and ranks and
explain why they arc conducting the check. If a member of
the police force is not in uniform, he must show you
identification; you should look at this carefully.
You should bear in mind that on the territory of the Russian
Federation you are subject to Russian law.
And now a few words on the subject of women.
Russian women are rightly considered to be among the most
beautiful in the world. You will be glad to know that this
is not a country of rigid puritanism. You may get to know
women almost anywhere: in museums, theatres, or on the
streets. But take care not to be insistent when it is clear
that your advances are not welcome. If a Russian woman says
"No", that is exactly what she means - and nothing else.
Officially, there are no public houses or procurement
agencies in Russia. But you will have no difficulty in
finding commercial publications offering numerous sexual
amusements under the guise of massage, baths, or escort
services. Sometimes the purpose of such services is not only
to make money through prostitution, but to generate much
easier earnings through theft and robbery.
Most often, difficulties arise when foreigners make the
acquaintance of women of easy virtue and start drinking
strong alcohol in their company. Many such instances end
with the foreigner awaking on the following morning to find
both the girl and all his valuables gone.