How to register a Russian visa, Russian visa registration laws
Submitted by admin on Mon, 08/03/2009 - 17:30 Every foreigner who comes to Russia should have his/her Russian visa registered within 72 hours upon arrival
, excluding holidays and weekends. Before it is 72 hours after your arrival, your tickets (train, bus, plane tickets) to the place you're in (e.g. Moscow) is the document, which can confirm how long you've been staying there.
What is a Registration
Visa registration is a relic of the past dating back to the Soviet time designed to make sure you're not going to occupy the valuable Russian soil without authorities' permission.
Nowadays, the purpose of the registration is to notify the immigration authories about the place of your stay while you're in Russia. You would think that the Landing Card, which you fill out on the plane before you arrived to Russia would suffice, but no, the registration is a totally different thing and should be done separately.
The registration used to be a little stamp in your passport on a paper attached to your visa and/or on the new migration card (if it was given to you) before 2007. However, in 2007 the laws have changed and now you get a special piece of paper that confirms your registration has been submitted.
Officially, it's not your obligation to register your visa, it should be done by the accommodating party. However, if you don't register your visa, you may be fined as well as deported (although the latter is very unlikely) and denied from entering Russia again (maximum 5 years).
We will explain how you can have your visa registered later, first we would like to show where the legal basis for this weird rule comes from.
Where and How to Register Your Russian Visa
According to the new law issued in 2007 it is the responsibility of accommodating party to register your visa once you arrive. So forget about OVIRs and forget about asking your travel agency to register your visa – they can't do it anymore. Actually this is good news, because it means no more queues and lower prices ($5 as opposed to minimum $20 before).
If you're staying at a hotel:
If you are staying at a hotel, the hotel must register your visa (according to the Federal Law #115-FZ, Article 24). The hotel administration will ask you for your Russian visa, passport, and migration card (which was given to you at the Russian border). A small registration fee can be imposed (from $0.5 US to about $5 US) and normally it takes from a few minutes to a day to have your visa registered. If you're staying at a hostel, they'll most likely register your visa only if it was issued with them. It means that if you want to be more flexible in choosing where you live, it's better not to get your visa through hostels, because then you'll be obliged to stay there at least for one night, othewise they won't register your visa. The reason is that hostels in Russia don't issue the invitations themselves, but do it through affiliate travel agencies, that's why the travel agency rules apply to them as well (see below).
If you're staying with friends or renting an apartment:
According to the new rules any Russian citizen with "propiska" (registration) can register a foreigner at his/her apartment at a local police station or any post office
. The whole procedure takes about an hour (because of the forms you need to fill out and queues) and costs about €5. You can also use a travel agency that issued your visa, but they will basically have to do the same: find a person who has a flat in the city you're in and have them register you on their address. That's why you'll pay €20, not €5 (because someone else will have to queue and get paid for it
Please note that not registering your Russian visa may lead to serious problems: detention by police, fines on departure, prevention from boarding the plane, etc. We strongly advise you to register your Russian visa to avoid possible consequences.
I think it clarifies what could happen if you don't register your visa properly. In some hostels you are charged for registration almost the same amount the fine could be.
"The new Russian administrative codex, which became effective on the 1st July 2002 is implemented by the Russian Federal Law # 195-FZ (30 Dec '02). The Article 18.3 (Federal Law #195-FZ) states that in case of such infringement a fine up to 1000 R ($20 US) may be imposed, and also the foreigner who made such infringement may be (but not necesserily will be) deported (sent out) of Russia. Also, the police has a right to take you to the police station for not longer than 3 hours, if it is necessary to learn who you are and to give you an invoice for the fine. That's all. As you see, the worst thing that can actually happen with the police if you don't register your visa at all is 3 hours
in the police and maximum a $30 US fine."