Registration in Russia is one of the matters that generate more doubts in foreigners who visit the country, especially those who are going to stay in apartments or private houses. In this article I will try to clarify the most frequent doubts that arise at the time of registration.
Article updated in September 2017 (published January 2017)
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What is registration?
The registration is basically the process by which the Russian authorities are notified, after your arrival in Russia, of the place where they can find you if needed.
It is generally seen as a process of the Soviet era, when authorities monitored the migratory movements of people and could limit their movement throughout the country.
The good thing is that since 2011 the registration procedure for foreign citizens visiting Russia has been simplified and now is much easier than before.
The bad news is that despite this simplification, the legislation remains unclear in some respects, making each organization to interpret it differently.
In this article I will try to clarify how the registration procedure in Russia currently works, which is mandatory for all foreign citizens traveling to Russia, though the responsibility for the procedure always lies in the host party.
When is it not mandatory to register?
If you are staying in Russia less than 7 business days, you don’t need to register. For example, if you arrive in Russia on Saturday, August 1 and leave on a Monday, August 10, then you don’t need to register since your stay will be 6 business days. Weekends (Saturdays and Sundays) or the holidays don’t count as business days.
The documents that justify your arrival and that allow you to make you the count of the 7 business days are the tickets of the means of transport that you used to enter Russia, be it airplane, train or bus.
Rules during the World Cup 2018
In May 2017 a new regulation was issued. Foreigners must register the first day of their arrival between May 25, 2018 and July 25, 2018 in the cities hosting the World Cup in Volgograd, Yekaterinburg, Kazan, Kaliningrad, Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don, Samara, St. Petersburg, Saransk and Sochi.
When is registration required?
When you are going to be more than 7 business days in Russia. If you cross the border on a Monday, then you have to register if your stay is extended beyond Tuesday of the following week.
If you are traveling from one city to another, then you must register in the new city if you will be staying in it for more than 7 business days. In this case you will be “deregistered” from a city and registered in the new city on arrival. If you will stay 5 business days in one city and another 5 business days in another, then it is sufficient to register in the first city, since your total stay in Russia will be greater than 7 business days, but it will not be necessary to register your stay in the second city, as your stay in said city will be less than 7 days.
If you enter Russia several times (through a double or multiple entry visa) then you must register each time you re-enter, if your stay is more than 7 business days.
Who must be registered?
Registration must be done by the host:
- Hotel. If you stay in a hotel, then the hotel management is responsible for the registration upon your check-in.
- Apartment. The host of the apartment must make the registration, be it an individual or a company that manages the apartment.
- Private homes. If you are staying in a private home of a friend or relative, then your friend or family must make your registration at their home address.
Registration is always the responsibility of the host, which must be a Russian citizen or a foreign citizen with permanent residence in Russia.
Registration must be made no later than 7 working days from the arrival of the foreign citizen to the place of destination.
The foreign citizen can’t register on its own, as it is the responsibility of the Russian host party. In no case is it mandatory for the foreign citizen to be present during registration.
Where must I register?
Registration can be made:
- Directly in the regional offices of the General Directorate of Migratory Affairs of the Ministry of Interior of the Russian Federation (GUVM, its acronym in Russian). Previously this institution was known as Federal Migration Service (FMS) but was abolished in April of 2016.
- In any post office in Russia (they charge a small fee of 216 rubles).
Registration procedure in Russia
If you stay in a hotel, the administration will register you for free, though it is possible that some hostels or smaller hotels will charge you an amount (which can range from 200 to 1,000 rubles). It doesn’t matter if in your letter of invitation you included a hotel and finally you stayed in a different one, since any hotel has the obligation to make the registration.
For the registration, the hotel will request at your arrival:
- Your passport, from which they will make a photocopy of all pages (including the page where your photo and personal data are and the page that has your visa stamped).
- Your immigration card, from which the hotel will make a photocopy.
With this documentation, the hotel will fill out a special foreign citizen arrival notification form.
The hotel administration will also be in charge of the registration process, by filling up the form and presenting it along with the rest of documentation before the Russian immigration authorities. You will be registered in 1-2 business days.
The main part of the form is the one sent to the authorities, while the bottom part (from the dotted line), or a copy, is the one that the hotel can give you as proof and in which the address and the registration deadline is indicated. Once you leave, the hotel will also inform the authorities.
In case you stay in a private apartment (e.g. Airbnb apartments), the host is obliged to make your registration; however, they are more likely to charge an amount for this procedure (between 500 and 2,000 rubles) and they may even refuse to do the proceeding (even though they have the legal obligation to do it).
Before making the payment for the stay in the apartment, ask your host if they make the registration and the price they will charge you. If they don’t offer the registration service or they charge a very high price, then look for another apartment that does offer the service or applies a more reasonable fee.
In case that you have already paid for the accommodation and the host does not want to register you at your arrival, what you can do is to contact the agency that issued your invitation letter to explain the case and ask them if they offer the registration service in the city where you will be staying. In this case, the agency will charge you an amount for registration at the agency’s home address or at another address.
If the agency that issued your invitation letter does not offer the registration service, then you will have to look for one of the multiple agencies that offer this service. It must be an agency that has offices in the city where you are staying, since you must approach their offices and present the passport and immigration card so they carry out the proceeding.
If you stay at a friend’s or a relative, then they can register you at any post office, though you also have the option to hire the services of some agency in the city, so they can register you.
- The registration procedure is the same if you are in Russia through a tourist visa or a business visa, the only difference is that in the case of business visa you can register for a period of up to 3 months.
- If you make the Trans-Siberian route by train and sleep on it, in this case the train ticket would be equivalent to the registration (you always have to keep your ticket in handy).
- The Russian police are not authorized to request proof of registration on the streets. The party that invited the person is the one responsible for any infraction that has occurred. If they ask you for this in the street (which is extremely rare) it is best to call the consulate immediately.
- Registration accreditation is not necessary to leave the country, though the immigration card is required.
I hope this article has clarified how the registration procedure works in Russia. You can tell me your experience below.
Hello Irena ,
I need a help.
I entered Moscow on 23rd December 2019 and will depart on 31st Decemebr .Do my host need to register ?
it will be total 9 days – 2 satuarday and Sunday = 7 -1 christmas Holiday = 6 days
please help me and reply ,Do i need to register or not ?
Hi. Is it still OK to do the registration from any post office?
Hello. I am looking for a document that would allow me to request information on registration of a biological parent in 1992. Is there a form that is available for this request?
Hello, to everyone who is wondering about the registration.
I visited Russia last year and had read about this. When I entered Russia I didn’t bother in registering and nothing really happened, I didn’t get any questions asked by any officers when I left Russia whatsoever. My stay was for 3 weeks. I honestly don’t think that you will have a problem if you do not register, however, it is supposedly legal procedure registering upon entering Russia. Just don’t get into trouble and you will be fine.
Oh, and just for anyone wondering, I’m from Canada
Hi I will be in russia visiting 3 cities for 10 days. 2 will fall on weekend and 1 on public holiday. That makes my “official” stay in Russia exactly 7 days. Do i have to register?
Hellow ,I am a student in Saint peterburg and i have been registered for a specific time till my last visa has ended ,and already i renew the visa ,but after recieving my passport i remembered that i have to get registered again after 15 days the registration finished ,is it a problem? can i normaly register again even after 15 days ?
Sukhwinder singh arora
hi lrena i am citiizen of canada i separated with my wife 2016 may i give my profile in one dating site after that i never check then in 2018 april one girl send me email with the photo and i don’t check my email so many day when i check the email she look like very nice then i reply her after 10 or 20 day she reply every day i wrote every day she wrote everyday she sent me picture i sent picture etc she told me she orphanage
and i decide i want help to her and i will get the company with her. i am living alone. decide like that
last 9th of October she send me ticket detail and she told me i don’t have enough money please send me 510 dollar us i send that money to her after that she send me ticket detail i am visiting Canada 11th October
after that she send the email when i go to fly to Canada i want show the money us dolor 2500 i sent to her
2600 us dolor when i sent her that she send me ticket detail 22nd October she is coming Canada. but after
that she send the email i don’t have Russian registration i paid all that 2700 us dollar now she is asking me 2500 dollar us its true its fraud i am scared if its true if don’t send to her she do something wrong with her then i am in problem if i will send to her then i am in problem because i already send her $4300 Canadian
if i will send more i am in problem these day i am already suffering with financial crises
can you advise me in this matter.
Hi Irena, I am visiting Rostov on a tourist visa for ten days. Attempted to register, with my host, at ГУВМ. We were rudely kicked out as we came at the “wrong time”. Should we report this unprofessional behavior to avoid questions at the airport when I depart?!
I am right now in one of the immigration office and they asked me to pay 5,000 Rubles plus 150 Rubles for administration fee. I am going to stay about for a month.
To my knowledge, the fee for 14 day stay is 2,500 Rubles and less than 7 days are exempt of paying this up going fee.
The interesting thing is that in the Russian consulate which they gave me the visa , they never mentioned of existing such a fee.
Great detail you’ve offered here. Thank you.
I have quite a question: I am in SPb on a multi entry tourist visa for 3 weeks and was not aware I need to register where I am staying! I am in a private residence. Should my host and I simply go to the post office and try to register? We are leaving for a week in Georgia starting Saturday. What am I in for if I don’t take care of this before I leave? Plus how does the visit work for 3 year multi tourist? 180 days in Russia one day out? Or 180 out? Can it be a week in a week out?
i’m Shahla From Syria , i’m going to Travel to Russia on a study Visa , i’ll arrive to Mosocw for 1 day only then i’ll travel again to another city in which the university is located, but i want to live in my friend’s apartment ” Russian citizen ” instead of the university dormitory cause i’m going to travel with my dog, and i have question cause i am bit confused and i apologize about it :
***Should i register in this case in Moscow and re-register in the next city upon my arrival ? or it will be enough to register in the destination where is the university located ? and could my friend register me if i’m on a study Visa ? or the university itself should do it ??
Thanks in Advance !!!
hello~! i am Changhyung from Korea. i will visit russia for the world cup period. i will stay in my friend’s house but she rent it so she cant make registration for me.. in your article it says there are some agency which could make registrarion for me. could you please tell me how to find thoses agencies?..
We will be visiting during the world cup, one night in Moscow at a hotel, then 3 nights Sochi in hotel (there they make the registration) and then again Moscow private apartment 5 days. Would we need to register in Moscow for the last 5 days? Many thanks
hello, im from mexico, im visiting russia for the world cup, your article its really clear by the way, thanks for that, i just have 1 question.. i will be 3 days in st . petesburgo, then 2 days in samara, then 2 days in moscow… (29 june – 6 of july) do i need to register in all 3 cities.. or just in the first city (st . petesburg) when i arrive!! im staying in airbnb in all 3 cities!! thanks
Thanks so much for your article.
I have the same question here. does “arrivals between FIFA cities” mean the whenever I arrive each city who host FIFA, I have to register once?
Also, does anyone know detailed definition of “the first day”?? does this mean the first 24 hours or the date when I enter Russia? I will arrive Russia around 9pm and I’m worried that I cannot make registration at the day.
Ben Neb Roda
Do you have a link to a russian government site that explains this registration process? I am thinking of using airbnb during the world cup as there are no hotels or hostels and just want to make sure they are aware.
Thanks in advance
Sorry on train on 24 night not 21july
I will visit Russia 2 cities 21-28 July.2018
Moscow 21-24 = 2 business days
on train = 1 night = 21jul
St peter 25-28 = 3 business days
In this case should I register? Bc of wold cup?
It is explained in the article: In May 2017 a new regulation was issued. Foreigners must register the first day of their arrival between May 25, 2018 and July 25, 2018 in the cities hosting the World Cup in Volgograd, Yekaterinburg, Kazan, Kaliningrad, Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don, Samara, St. Petersburg, Saransk and Sochi.
Hello, I will reach Moscow on Saturday and will leave Moscow on following Saturday. In this case, should I register?
No, except during Football World Cup
Hi Irena .We will be travelling to Russia from South Africa in October 2018. If we stay in Moscow DME for two days then travel by train to St Petersburg and stay for 6 days excluding the Saturdays and Sunday(12/10/2018 to 20/10/2018)(we will be travelling back to Moscow on the Monday 21/10/2018 by train) Will be a total of 9 days in Moscow. Do we need to register at both Moscow and St Petersburg accommodation? We will be staying 2 days at the first accommodation in Moscow and when we return at a different accommodation in Moscow. Do we need to register at both? Regards Salome
Do we need to register at both Moscow and St Petersburg accommodation? Yes
Hi Irena. We will be visiting St Petersburg next June, for three days on a cruise ship. We plan on taking one organized tour, but applying for our own tourist visas, so we can get around the city independently on the other two days of our visit. If we need to register that visa upon arrival, how do we go about it? Thank you
If you are staying in Russia less than 7 business days, you don’t need to register
Thank you for all the helpful information! Me and my girlfriend will be arriving in St. Petersburg soon and stay there for 5 days. By nighttrain we’ll then go to Moscow and stay there for 2 days and with our 30 days Visa we’ll travel down to Lake Baikel with several stops in between and finally leave the country over the Mongolian border. Knowing that 1) all seperate stops will be less than 7 days and 2) our Airbnb host in St. Petersburg can’t/won’t help with visa registration, would it be wise, sufficient and easiest to stay in an hotel in Moscow and register through them?
Thanks in advance!
Mehrad Es Far
Hey Irena. My name is Mehrad. Actually I have my residence in Russia for some long while. but as i remember there were some new law during 1st June till 1st July for non Soviet citizen that we had less thay 24 hours for registration. I just wanna make sure this law is not standing anymore?
Yes, but only during the celebration of the Confederations Cup (already finished) and during the next World Cup 2018
hello .irena. i lives in zelenorgrad. And my girlfriend comes to moscow . she uses tourist visa (30days). i rent apartment. the host of apartment tells no need to register in local FMS. so i confuses need to register or not.
She needs to register
Today I went to the local FMS to register my Visa and they asked for a full copy of my passport.
Usually I supplied for years and years only a copy of the main page and a copy of the Visa page.
They said that the requirements have changed.
It’s an awful waste of paper, could you, please, tell me if this is right or if this is a “local” change?
Thanks a lot and all the best
Usually it’s a copy of the main page and a copy of the Visa page.
Thank you for writing these tips and information. I have booked an accommodation through airbnb and our first host (that we will rent her apartment for 15 days in St. Petersburg) refuses to register that for us. (Our second host in Moscow for the last part of our travel is wiling to do that for us but we have to register first in SPB).
I don’t need a visa to enter Russia so I have no agent or know any locals to register that for me.
1. Could you recommend me any other ways? (Is there anyone you know that I can pay for the service?)
2. Do I really need locals to do that for me? Can I just print the receipt with address that I am renting to show the officer at the governmental office?
Thank you for your extremely helpful website. I have a registration question. We will stay a few days first in a St Petersburg apartment and then a few more days in a Moscow hotel. I suspect that it will be easiest to register in the Moscow hotel. Am I right in presuming it doesn’t matter where you register first providing it is within the first 7 business days?
Thanks for this. Just to be clear, we will visit Russia for 30 days, but won’t stay in any city for more than 7 business days. We must be registered within the first 7 business days of our visit, but should not need to register again in any other city?
I do have another query, relating to the July 2016 law about importing prescription medications to Russia. My wife will need to bring diabetes and asthma medication. She will have a letter from her doctor explaining the need for the medications. Does she need to have the letter translated? The Embassy in Canberra FAQ states that the medications are allowed, but gives no other details. http://australia.mid.ru/web…
Yes. I do not know if they request translation, you’d better ask the Consulate.