WHAT IS THE REGISTRATION. After you
arrive to Russia you need to register in 72 hours (3 working days
- excluding public holidays and weekends) after your arrival. You
yourself, the hostel or hotel you stay in, an inviting organization
or a travel agency can make the registration. Doing it yourself
is taking too much time and some money.
Registration is a small stamp in your passport on a paper attached
to your visa saying that you're registred for living at some place
for some period. Registration is needed because the city officials
want to be sure you're living somewhere.
Until it's 72 hours after your arrival, your tickets (train, bus,
plane tickets) to the place you're in (e.g. Moscow) is an official
document which confirms for how long you've been staying there.
That means the tickets can be used instead of registration for 72
hours upon your arrival. After 72 hours you need a registration.
If you stay in a hostel or a hotel they usually make this registration
for you at the desk for free or a small fee ($1). But the hostels
make reservations only for those visas they themselves made invitations
HOW TO REGISTER YOUR RUSSIAN VISA. If you made an invitation through
a hostel, they'll register you for free, if you buy at least one
Another way is to go on the first day of your arrival to any crappy
cheap hotel (unfortunately, the even cheapest is for $18-20 US a
night), apply for the room for one night only, and ask them to make
a registration for the whole period of your visa. You can stay in
this hotel one night and then do whatever you want and sleep wherever
you want. If you want an address of some hotels that can do it for
you, contact us.
Hostel "Asia" can make a registration for $7 US if you
got your visa not through them.
If you got your visa from some travel agency and the hostel/hotel
you stay in can't make a registration for you, you can go or call
to the travel agency and they'll explain to you how to make this
registration. Usually, if you live in an apartment, the owner of
the apartment makes the paper where he says that he allows you to
stay at his place from such until such date. Then he signs this
paper and stamps it at the lawyer's office. After that you bring
this paper and your passport to the travel agency and the agency
makes you a registration for about $20 in one day.
WHAT IF YOU DON'T REGISTER / POLICE: This registration thing was
made more for people from CIS rather than the foreigners. Some cops
will care if you have a registration or not, some not. If a cop
stops you to check your documents and you don't have a registration,
he has the right (russian law) to take you to police station and
to fine you.
In the worst case, if you don't have a registration, you might have
problems in case police stops you to check your documents. Officially,
the fine should be $3-5, and they can also take you to a police
station, but for not long (not more than 3 hours).
But there are some fuckers who try to make bucks on foreigners and
start saying that "Oh, you don't have registration, you're
going to have big problems, you have to pay $100 not to get involved".
All this is crap. These policemen are just trying to make money
on you. Officially they can't arrest you or take $100 from you for
such a minor thing. But they start to frighten and all to make money,
as if they forget that they may lose their job for bribing. Usually,
these fuckers like to work next to the busy tourist area (like Red
Square in Moscow, for example).
What you can do is to either not pay anything (if you have time
and patience to argue with them) or just put the price down to the
standard $3-4 for such infringement. Better don't speak Russian
at all and behave as if you don't understand what they want. One
policeman told me that if they see a foreigner doesn't have a registration,
they'll not care because they "don't want extra troubles".
CUSTOMS. If you get lucky and nobody stopped you, then you might
have problems on the border. The customs will ask you for the registration
papers and if you don't have any they can ask for a fine up to 100$
- guys in the travel agencies say it happens in 30% of cases. You
can just say you don't have any money and hope they'll let you cross
the border (it worked with a friend of mine), but in that case they
could write down your passport details and you may have problems
getting russian visa next time (they didn't write down the details
of my friend, she came to Russia again after that without any problems).
And one more thing: actually most of the people don't register,
cause it's pain in the ass, but if you want to feel safe and if
you don't want to talk to russian police, it's better to register,
especially that it's free or 5 bucks maximum.
Embassy of Russia in the United States
2650 Wisconsin Ave., N.W.
Washington DC 20007
1825 Phelps Place N.W.
Washington DC 20008
Consulate General in Seattle
2001 Sixth Avenue Westin Building Suite 2323
Seattle WA 98121-2617
Consulate General in New York
9 East 91 St.
New York, NY 10128
Consulate General in San Francisco
2790 Green St.
San Francisco, CA 94123
Russian Mission at UN
136 East 67th St.
New York, NY 10021
Embassy of Russia in Canada
285 Charlotte St.
Consulate General in Montreal
3655 Ave Du Musee
Montreal, Quebec, H3G2EI