Effective from 21 October 2022 Russia has removed the requirement to produce a negative PCR test. Random testing may still take place on arrival in Russia. Check with your airline before you travel to keep up to date with the latest requirements.
Currently there are a limited number of air links and rail routes to Russia due to sanctions.
All foreign travellers arriving in Russia
The FCDO advises against all travel to Russia.
Check the specific COVID-19 test requirements airlines have in place in advance of your flight. Airlines may refuse boarding if their requirements are not met.
Testing/screening on arrival
Passengers arriving by air may be temperature-checked and/or randomly selected for additional PCR testing on arrival. No prior arrangements are required. Passengers should follow guidance of the Russian authorities upon landing.
For passengers travelling out of Russia, express COVID-19 tests can be carried out at some airports. In Moscow, express COVID-19 tests are available in Sheremetyevo, Domodedovo and Vnukovo airports. They may need to be booked in advance and pre-paid. In St Petersburg, express COVID-19 tests can be carried out at Pulkovo airport.
A list of certified Russian laboratories is available at the official website of the Russian state regulator Rospotrebnadzor (only in Russian).
If you’re transiting through Russia
Travelling between Russia and Belarus
By air: British nationals flying to Russia from Belarus or to Belarus from Russia are subject to immigration control. If you’re transiting Russia when flying to/from Belarus, please contact the nearest Russian embassy or consulate to check if a transit visa is needed.
By road: There are no immigration check points on the land border between Russia and Belarus so foreigners (including British nationals) who cross the land border between Russia and Belarus will have no stamps in their passports and will be deemed to have entered illegally. If you’re planning to drive to Russia, you’ll need to take an alternative route through a different country.
By rail: contact your train or tour operator prior to booking your travel to make sure you enter Russia through an immigration checkpoint. Consider contacting your nearest Russian embassy or consulate for advice on the latest situation for rail travellers.
Make sure you have all the necessary visas for the duration of your travel.
Check your passport and travel documents before you travel
Check with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months after the expiry date of your visa.
It’s not possible to enter Russia using a visa in an expired passport, even if carried with a new, valid passport. You will need to either apply for a visa transfer or for a new visa.
Further details are available from the Russian Embassy in the UK.
If you’re travelling on a British passport issued since January 2017, you should make sure you’ve signed your passport before you travel. Some British nationals who haven’t signed their new passports have been denied entry into Russia.
You’ll need to get a visa from the Russian Embassy before you travel. You should check with the Russian Embassy on the processing time and availability of fast track service.
As part of the visa application process, all applicants based in the UK aged 12 or over will need to visit a visa application centre in London, Manchester or Edinburgh to submit biometric data (scanned fingerprints).
British nationals, who have Russian nationals as their immediate family members, can apply for multi-entry private visas to Russia for up to one year. You should check requirements and conditions of stay with the Russian Embassy.
On receiving your visa, check the details carefully including the validity dates and passport number to make sure they are correct. Make sure you are aware of the terms and conditions attached to your visa before you travel. Adhere to the validity and conditions of your visa while you are in Russia, as the authorities strictly enforce all visa and immigration laws.
If you overstay your visa, you may face fines, court hearings, deportation and a ban from re-entry.
Cruise or ferry passengers can stay in Russia for 72 hours without a visa if they have booked tours through officially licensed companies. Use recognised cruise operators with established safety records.
Cities where this applies are:
- St Petersburg
- Korsakov (Sakhalin Island)
- Zarubino (Primorsky Krai)
If your passport is lost/stolen while ashore, you need to obtain a police report, travel to British Embassy Moscow for a replacement Emergency Travel Document, and get an exit visa to leave Russia.
If this is not done within the 72-hour visa free period, you will face a court hearing which will most likely result in a fine, deportation and a possible ban from re-entry.
You must sign an immigration card every time you arrive in Russia. This will be given to you at passport control. The card is in two identical parts: one part will be retained by an immigration official, keep the other part safe as your departure from Russia could be delayed. Hotels, hostels or another receiving entity will not accept guests without an immigration card. The amount of foreign currency you can exchange for Russian roubles at local banks may be limited if you fail to present an immigration card.
You can import and export foreign currency up to USD 10,000 (or equivalent) without declaring it. It is currently not possible to export foreign currency in the amount over USD 10,000 (or equivalent).
If you import over USD 10,000 (or equivalent) or certain categories of goods (e.g. electrical items, jewellery, antiques, valuable musical instruments), you must complete a customs declaration form.
If you wish to import certain advanced electronic items (e.g. GPS instruments), you must get an operating license from the Russian authorities before you travel. Check with the Russian Embassy in the UK for advice before your departure.
If you complete a declaration, make sure the form is stamped by a customs official at your port of entry, otherwise your foreign currency and non-declared items may be confiscated when you leave Russia and you may be fined.
Keep receipts of any purchases in case you need to present them when you leave Russia.
There are strict regulations covering the export of antiques, artworks (including modern art and posters if they are particularly rare or valuable) and items of historical significance bought in Russia or imported to Russia from abroad. You will need an export permit from the Ministry of Culture to export this type of material and each item must be declared at the point of departure. Do not attempt to import or export items that require permits without the relevant paperwork as this is a serious offence.
For further information visit the website of the Russian Federal Customs Service (in Russian only, the site may not be available outside of Russia).