Registration in Russia: what it is and how to arrange it

Published by Natalia Goncharenko August 3, 2017

Registration in Russia is one of the most important issues for foreigners coming to this country, especially for those who plan to stay in a flat or in a private home. I will try to clarify the basic moments in the article below.

What is a registration?

The registration is a procedure in which Russian authorities get information of your residence so that they can find you if needed.

Often this procedure is considered as a relic of the times of the USSR when the authorities controlled all the migration flows and could restrict people’s movement in the country.

It’s really good that since 2011 the procedure of registration has become simpler and now it’s actually easy for those foreigners who come to Russia.

However, despite the obvious simplification, some aspects stay unclear so every organization gets it in its own way.

In this article, I will try to explain what every foreigner has to know about the registration (however, the main responsibility falls on the receiving party).

Filling out foreign visa registration in Russia

When you really don’t need the registration

If you stay in Russia for less than 7 days, you don’t need to register. For example, you came to Russia on Saturday, the 1st of August, and left the country on Monday, the 10th of August. This means that you did not need to register because you have stayed in Russia for 6 working days (weekend days, Saturdays and Sundays, are not considered as working days).

The documents confirming your arrival and starting the counting of 7 working days are your plane/train/bus tickets.


In which cases is it necessary to register?

It is necessary to undergo the registration if you plan to stay in Russia for more than 7 days. If you crossed the border on Monday planning to stay for longer than next Tuesday, you have to register.

If you change cities, it is necessary to register in each new city (if you plan to stay there for more than 7 days). In this case, you will be “checked out” of one city and registered in another one upon arrival. If you stay in one city for 5 days and stay in another one for 5 days, it is enough to register in the first one because the overall period of your stay in Russia will amount more than 7 days. It is not necessary to register in the second city because you will stay there for less than 7 days.

In the case you come to Russia multiple times (by a double-entry or a multiple-entry visa), you need to undergo a registration every time you cross the Russian border (if you stay for more than 7 days).


Who arranges the registration?

The arrangement falls on the receiving party.

  • Hotel. If you stay in a hotel that means the administration of the hotel is responsible for your registration.
  • Rent apartment. The owner of the apartment carries out the registration whether it is a private person or a company.
  • Private home. If you stay at your friend or relative, he/she has to register you to his/her home address.

The owner is always responsible for the registration. He/she has to be a citizen of Russia or a foreigner with a permanent residence in Russia.

The registration has to be undergone not later than in 7 days since the foreigner’s arrival.

Foreign nationals cannot register themselves because it is the responsibility of the receiving party. Actually, the foreigner does not even have to attend the registration.


Where do I have to register?

The registration can be issued:

  • Directly in the regional authorities of the Directorate-General for Migration of the MFA of the RF. Earlier it was called the Federal Migration Service but this name was abolished in April of 2016.
  • In any Russian post office (the cost is 216 rubles).


The procedure of the registration in Russia

If you stay in a hotel, the administration will register you freely although hostels or mini-hotels can ask you to pay a small amount of money (from 200 to 1000 rubles). It doesn’t matter if you stay in the hotel not mentioned in your invitational letter. Registration is a duty of every Russian hotel.

Foreign Visa Registration in Russia

The registration requires the following documents:

  • Foreign passport. The pages with your photo, personal data, and a visa will be copied.
  • Migration card that also will be copied by the employees of your hotel.

With these documents, the administration will be able to fill in the special note of foreign national’s arrival.

The hotel’s administration is also responsible for the procedure of registration. The employees fill in the form and present it in addition to other documents to Russian migration authorities. You will be registered within 1-2 working days.

The main part of the form goes to the authorized body while you obtain the bottom part (separated by the dotted line) or the copy of this part as a confirmation of the address of your residence and the duration of your stay. The employees of the hotel also notify the authorized body of your departure.

In the case you stay in a private apartment (for example, by using the Airbnb service), your registration falls on the owner of the flat/house. You will probably have to pay for it (from 500 to 2000 rubles); sometimes the owner can even refuse to do it (although he is legally obligated to register you).

Before payment, ask your owners if they are going to register you and how much will it cost. If they refuse to register you or want too much money, seek for another apartment with registration for a reasonable price.

In the case, you have already paid for the apartment but the owner doesn’t want to register you, contact the company that has issued your invitation and ask if they can register you in the city of your stay. The organization will take a payment for the registration (in their own address or another one).

If the company that has issued your invitation do not provide registration services, you will have to seek for the organization offering this service. It has to have representation in the city where you will stay because you will have to apply to this company in person and bring the passport and the migration card.

If you stay at your relatives/friends, they can register you in any post office. In addition, you can use services of some of the organizations in the city providing such services.


Some details for a conclusion

  • The registration is similar whether you come to Russia by a tourist or by a business visa. The only difference is that in the case you obtain a business visa, you can register for a period up to 3 months.
  • If you travel through the Trans-Siberian route by train and stays in it for a night, your travel ticket is considered as a registration document and you should always keep it around.
  • The Russian police is not authorized to ask for your registration in the street. The responsibility for all the violations falls on the receiving party. In the case, you have been asked for registration right on the street (which happens rarely), contact the consulate immediately.
  • In order to leave the country, you don’t have to present the government registration but you do have to present a migration card.

I hope this article has been useful and helped you to understand how the procedure of the registration goes. You can share your experience below.