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Northern Asia Topics specific to Russia, Central Asia (also known as "the 'stans"), Mongolia, Japan and Korea
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  #1  
Old 27 Jun 2012
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Compulsory Visa registration in Gorno Altaisk

Is it still necessary to register Visa in Gorno Altaisk or if we have a Visa for Mongolia can we just go straight through to the border from Russia? We are in Barnaul and have just registered here.

We plan to spend a couple of nights camping in Altai.

Thanks

Callum
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  #2  
Old 28 Jun 2012
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Last year, a day before I entered the Altai region from Mongolia, I noticed the warnings in the Lonely Planet that special permits/letters were required for the area - and instantly started worrying. As it was no one ever asked me for them / made any reference to them - neither at the border or at a couple of road blocks manned by the local Altai border police (forget their correct title) - all were happy with normal visa in my passport and usual bike paperwork. Others I spoke to had the same experience so I think the message in the Lonely Planet is out of date (or plain wrong). Anyway I don't think you have anything to worry about.

The last 100-200 kilometres to the border follows the river and there are beautiful free camping spots all along it. Enjoy - I'm envious!
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  #3  
Old 28 Jun 2012
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The section on the The Loney Planet website is date 2009, so is three years old at least.
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  #4  
Old 28 Jun 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craig.iedema View Post
The section on the The Loney Planet website is date 2009, so is three years old at least.

Without wanting to take this thread off topic, IMHO there is a minimum 50% chance that anything and everything in any Looney Planot book/website is utter garbage.

Thanks to all the above posters for the info. I'll be there in 5 or 6 weeks myself.

cheers
Chris
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  #5  
Old 28 Jun 2012
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Registration has a quite different function to Visas and Passports

In RUS, a Passport is your Identity Document, that should be with you at all times.
A Visa, whether stuck in the Passport or a separate document (such as my 'Exit' visa) shows your entitlement to be in RUS at that date - or not!
Registration is a hangover from the soviet days of watching and controlling people and their movements. It is essentially a means of knowing your address - or recent address. It is required for functions such as opening bank accounts, obtaining credit, in support of other government burocracy like obtaining Residency, Driving Licences etc. But the Law remains, even though largely ignored by Russians and is gradually being relaxed for foreigners (like recently extending the 5 day rule to 7 working days).

When stopped by police for personal documents they are interested in your identity and right to be in RUS. In border areas and sensitive parts like Dagestan, Chechnia etc, such checks are, for security reasons, far more frequent and thorough. They are not interested in seeing your Migration Card or Registration. But if you proffer them they will realise you don't understand so will look at them and try to find something wrong with which to fund their evening meal.

A frequent difficulty for visitors is not knowing what the different uniforms represent, so not knowing who has stopped you, why and possibly not understanding the language sufficiently to know exactly what is being asking for. The normal stern or unhappy looking facial set of most Russians does not help either. The natural response on being uncertain is to offer everything you have - sooner that just the specific thing being asked for.

You can be stopped anywhere by Roads Police, Militsia (town) Police, Border Police, National Security Police, Customs and Military. Each has a different interest. None is interested in Registration these days.

Roads Police (ДПС) have no right to see anything other than your vehicle and driving documents. But they will try it on.

The old Tourist Police that terrorised people for fines/bribes in Red Square and the Kremlin was disbanded as it served no useful purpose and was having an adverse effect on the image of Russia gained by tourists.

The rule is everyone should have Registration within 7 working days (weekends and public holidays do not count) of arrival - or the last Registration. Even Russians should, by Law, get a new registration when away from home for those periods - but no one does!

All that said, if you get into some trouble they will naturally look at everything to add to the heap of trouble against you. So get a Registration where you can and keep proof of travelling (petrol receipts etc) if ever challenged about no current registration.
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  #6  
Old 28 Jun 2012
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Interesting post tony, very true. Esp about offering everything when in doubt.

To the OP

I passed that way a few weeks ago heading for mongolia and no checks or issues with registration, the only checkpoint before tashanta is 10-20km out and they are only interested in seeing a valid mongolian visa,

Enjoy altai, beautiful and fantastic roads.
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  #7  
Old 28 Jun 2012
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you got there quick Callum

Enjoy your travels.

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  #8  
Old 28 Jun 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donuk View Post
Interesting post tony, very true. Esp about offering everything when doubt.
Oh I am the complete opposite and will try to get them to explain what they need. Though that said I generally don't refuse if asked even if I dont think they are really entiltled to see them (eg passports by traffic cops).

I actually went the point of seperating out my documents into
-bike stuff
-licence
-passport
-documents not related to the current country
after having the Kazakh cops take and go through my entire document pouch more than once.

I generally don't even show my entry into the next country unless asked, through Central Asia we alternated between passports and it only freaked out the passport guys when they saw we had concurrent passports.
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  #9  
Old 3 Jul 2012
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We got through with no dramas and no registration!!

Callum
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  #10  
Old 10 Jul 2012
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As a general rule, Lonely Planet is utter rubbish when it comes to Russia. This question has been answered about 15 times before here on the HUBB, and all the time it comes from someone reading the LP. That info in it is from the 1990s, and has NOT been updated since.

As for the Altai Republic ... the road from Gorno Altaisk to the Mongolian border is interesting enough and one of the more visually attractive highways of the world ... but the real gold in the Altai comes from getting off the asphalt and into the back mountains and valleys, which are nothing short of stunning.

























Here's a video clip from just 2 days exploring the back roads of the eastern Altai.

https://vimeo.com/45436519

<iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/45436519" width="655" height="360" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe> <p><a href="http://vimeo.com/45436519">Altai Taster</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/sibex">Sibirsky Extreme</a> on <a href="http://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p> <p>A short look at some of the roads and scenery we found in the Russian Altai</p>
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  #11  
Old 10 Jul 2012
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Hi Walter
Great views and video.
cheers
C
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