Coronavirus Travel Restrictions in Russia

Author: Dmitry Paranyushkin (on 10 Aug 2020)
Learn everything you need to know about the travel restrictions imposed in Russia due to Covid-19 pandemic. On this page we present the latest coronavirus travel updates for Russia, so you know how to plan your journey better and how to travel to / from Russia if you need to, even while it's locked. In general the level of cases registered in Russia is lower than in the US (per 100000) but slightly higher than in the EU. However, the general mood seems to be pretty calm after a period of initial shock in the end of March. Life is almost back to normal. You can also still catch some transit flights and travel out, but there are restrictions imposed on entry. There are, however, different ways to travel to Russia that are still available. You can find more information below:
 
 

EU - Russia Border Opening Expected Date — 09/08/2020

09/08/2020 —As it looks like now the EU - Russia borders will only open when the rate of infections (per 100 000) in Russia will reach that of EU and stays there for at least two weeks. As of now (09/08/2020) it's about 5000 a day in Russia and about 600-800 a day in most EU countries. Considering that there are about 3 times more people living in Russia than in most EU countries, the rate of infections would have to reach something like 2500 a day and stay there for at least 2 weeks for EU to consider opening up its borders. Therefore, at the current trend we estimate that Russia will reach this level by about end of August and if there are no new spikes and the level stays there for about 2 weeks, the earliest date for the borders to open is mid September. Realistically, however, it is likely to happen from October, but only if the level of flu infections in Russia (which usually starts in Autumn) does not start to rise. So at the moment we would only plan on the border opening — optimistically — from the 1st of October and — pessimistically — from the 1st of November.

Note, that if you have a Russian citizen that you would like to travel to EU, they can actually go to UK (the border is opened), stay there in self-quarantine for 2 weeks, and then fly to an EU country that accepts entries from UK (so far, most of EU countries).

 

Switzerland - Russia Flights from 15 August 2020 — 01/08/2020

01/08/2020 — Starting from the 15th of August there will be regular flights between Switzerland and Russia meaning that Swiss citizens should be allowed into Russia and vice versa.

 

Russia Opens to UK and Turkey from 1 August 2020 — 24/07/2020

24/07/2020 — Starting from the 1st of August UK and Turkish citizens can fly into Russia. In order to enter Russia they will need a negative Coronavirus test made not earlier than 48 hours before the arrival. We also recommend it to be translated to Russian although this is not an official requirement. Regarding the other borders we expect that Russia will open the borders with the US not earlier than October. For EU, it will take at least until mid September for Russia to open the border with EU as the rate of infections is 3 times higher than in the EU and the borders are opened only on the basis of reciprocity. If you are a US or an EU citizen you cannot fly into Russia through UK or Turkey even if you have a negative Coronavirus test. 

 

First Countries that Russia will Open the Borders With 27 July 2020 — 15/07/2020

15/07/2020 — At the moment it looks like the first countries that will open the border with Russia will be Turkey and Croatia. You can already travel to Russia through Turkey or Belarus if you have a good plausible reason to do so (read our report from 09/07/2020). There are also negotiations with Cuba, Mexico, Dominicana, Egypt and Arab Emirates. The first EU countries that will be opened for travel will probably be Italy and Germany, but that is subject to their approval and at the moment it doesn't look like they'll allow flights to/from Russia before August 2020. UK and USA citizens may be allowed to Russia starting from the 1st of August the earliest. We think it is more likely that it'll happen from September 1st. If you need some life hacks on how you travel to Russia before the borders are open, please, read our advice below. Also, if you travel to Russia, don't forget to get the travel insurance.

 

Borders are Set to Open on the 27 July 2020 — 09/07/2020

09/07/2020 — It has been reported today (on the Russian Telegram channel Ну чего, народ, летим домой which tends to post quite reliable rumours) that Russia will finally allow international flights on the 27th of July 2020. Sheremetyavo terminal D (international arrivals) will also be opened on the same date). Therefore, the chances of border opening on the 27th July 2020 are quite high at the moment.

In the meanwhile if you need to travel to Russia before the borders open, the only way to do that is if you are studying there or have a relative who needs to be looked after or if you have a medical reason. The latter can be confirmed by a paper from a local doctor. You would still need to get the visa though and you'd need to check if the Russian consulate in your country (or any other country) is open. We also highly recommend you to get your medical travel insurance.

The easiest way to travel to Russia before the borders open is to take one of the two flights a week by Aeroflot (Thursdays and Saturdays — announced 7 days before) from Frankfurt, Amsterdam, London, Paris or Belgrade. There are also occasional flights from New York. There are also indirect flights from major European cities through Moldova (Kishinev) or Turkey (Istanbul). Alternatively, Belavia (Belorussian airlines) flies to most world destinations from Minsk. You can take a flight to Minsk and then drive to Russia with a bus or a car. You might have to change the bus at the border, but we have several reports from people who made this trip and it's a fun adventure :) Also, there is a rumour that there will be direct flights to Minsk to Moscow from the 15th of July 2020. As an EU or USA citizen you don't need a visa to enter Belarus if you arrive through the Minsk airport. However, you will need a valid Russian visa to enter Russia.

 

Foreigners Can't Enter Russia before 31 July 2020 — 01/07/2020

01/07/2020: It has been reported by RBC that the ban on the entry of foreign citizens to Russia is extended until the 31st of July 2020. After that time it may be possible to travel to Russia, but that will be confirmed by a special regulation that should be issued in about 2 weeks. Those foreigners who are traveling to Russia to look after relatives or for medical reasons are able to travel to Russia since June 2020. The easiest way to enter Russia is to take a flight to Minsk, Belarus, and then take a car (~€250) or a bus (~€30) to Moscow.   


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Planned Removal of Coronavirus-related Travel Restrictions in Russia — 18/06/2020

18/06/2020: It is still not clear when the travel restrictions will be lifted in Russia. However, most likely this is going to happen either on the 1st of July 2020 or on the 15th of July 2020. We will be updating the information here. The quarantine regime is now removed in most Russian regions, most of the public places are opened, however, with some restrictions. If you had 

 

Finland to Open its Border for Transit on the 15th of July — 15/06/2020

15/06/2020: If you want to travel to / from Russia overland via Finland, you'll have to wait until the 15th of July as Finland is currently closed for transit with a very few exceptions. Even if you have a residency of another country in EU, you might not be able to pass that border, so it's better to go through Poland until Finland opens up, which is expected to be on the 15th of July 2020. A good website that tracks all the EU countries' Coronavirus-related restrictions is available on https://reopen.europa.eu/en. If you want to know more about travel to / from Russia by car, check out our overland travel guide.

 

Poland Opens its Border for Transit — 15/06/2020

15/06/2020: It is now possible to travel by car through Poland to/from Russia if you can prove the residency in the country you're traveling to (e.g. Russia, Germany, etc) — provided you stay in Poland not longer than 14 hours. Note, that while it may be possible to enter Belarus (if you have a standard or transit visa) there are no official border controls between Russia and Belarus. However, you need to pass the control to get your Russian visa validated (unless you hold a Russian passport). So at the moment this overland travel is not really an option unless you are a Russian citizen. You can use this route to get back from Russia though. Read more in our guide to traveling by car to / from Russia.

 

Another Extension of Russian Visas due to Coronavirus — 10/06/2020

10/06/2020: If you are currently in Russia and hold a Russian visa that expired after the lockdown started (16/03), your visa can be automatically extended up to 15 September 2020 upon leaving Russia. You should have extended it before (see our announcement on the 19th of March 2020 below) and if you did so it looks like you might not need to do anything extra, just wait until you leave. However, we still advise you to contact the immigration authorities as well as the company that issued your visa support to verify with them.

 

Some Trips are Now Possible To Russia — 30/05/2020

30/05/2020: The permission to enter Russia is now extended to the people who have an urgent reason to travel here — to look after their sick relatives, to work (work visa) or to study. All other foreigners who don't hold a permanent or temporary residency permit (RVP) are not allowed entry.

 

Travel Restrictions — 10/05/2020

10/05/2020: Currently you can only enter Russia if you are holding a Russian passport or a permanent or temporary residency permit (RVP). If you just have a long-term business visa or a 3-year tourist visa or a work visa you cannot enter Russia. It is, however, possible to leave Russia any time if you need to, as long as you hold a valid visa. If your visa is expiring before the 15th of June you can prolong it due to Coronavirus crisis in order to be able to stay in Russia if you wish so. You can do so at the nearest MVD office (see the news from 19/03/2020). There are some flights to and from Russia, but they are sporadic. Swiss Air is starting their regular flights to Switzerland from the 1st of June and Lufthansa is commencing their flights from the 15th of June 2020. If you need to urgently get to/from Russia one possible option is to travel thorugh Belarus, which doesn't officially have Coronavirus curfew. However, there are not so many countries you can go from Belarus to, you will need to check with their local airline Belavia what the options are.
 
 

Special Digital Permits — 14/04/2020

14/04/2020: Curfew is set in Moscow (planned to last at least until the 31st of May). This means you can only leave your house to go do shopping nearby (100m), to walk a dog, or to take out garbage. If you need to travel further, you need to apply for a special digital pass. This can be done on the official website of Moscow (in English) or via a text message (from a Russian operator) to 7377. You would need to include your Passport (ID) number in the application or a message. The passes are normally given maximum twice a week. You can also get more passes if you are going to a doctor (you don't need to specify where exactly). If you get stopped on the street without a pass, the maximum fine is 5000R (€80). 
 
 

Moscow and Moscow Region Lockdown — 29/03/2020

29/03/2020: Starting from the 30th of March and for undefined period (we expect it to last about 2 weeks) Moscow and Moscow region will be on the lockdown. Residents (and tourists) are only allowed outside to buy food in the nearest supermarket, go to work (if it's absolutely necessary), or to take their pets out. Sport activities are not explicitly allowed, but you can take out your garbage, which could probably be a good excuse to get some fresh air. The fines for breaking the rule are about 1500 - 3000 R (€20-€30) and in case you infect somebody (even involuntarily) you may be criminally persecuted as well. While we do think this whole Coronavirus crisis is fuelled by media overreaction (also based on the data presented in this article), the Russian and Moscow authorities have followed the suit of every other government — most likely out of fear to be called "irresponsible" and also because it provides an oppotunity to test out exceptional measures and surveillance-control mechanisms.
 
 

Due to Coronavirus Russian visas will be extended — 19/03/2020

19/03/2020: If you hold a Russian visa and stuck in Russia during the coronavirus you can extend your visa. It was annouced today by MVD (Ministry of Intenal Affarairs). In order to apply you just need to write a free-form request (in Russian) and submit it to the closest MVD office near the place you live at. They will then extend your visa. Source: MVD
 
 

Russia closing borders for all the foreigners — 16/03/2020

16/03/2020: Starting from the 18th of March 2020 (0:00 midnight) until the 1st of May 2020 no foreigners are allowed to enter Russia. The exception is for the people who hold a residency permit for Russia, private visa holders who are traveling for a funeral of a relative, diplomats, commercial freight and passenger transport drivers — all these people can enter Russia. Of course, it is still possible to leave Russia during that period, as some flights to the main capitals of the world are still operating. Source: Kommersant

 

Poland has closed its borders, so no transit driving to Russia — 14/03/2020

14/03/2020: Starting from yesterday Poland has closed its borders so it is not possible to drive to / from Russia by car through Poland / Belarus. As Ukraine is also closed and Denmark as well the only way to get to / from Russia is by air. Also, Russia has closed its land border with Norway.

 

Italian Citizens are banned from entering Russia — 13/03/2020

13/03/2020: Starting from midnight 13/03/2020 Italian citizens are banned from entering Russia. The italian citizens who have a residency permit in Russia and all other European citizens are still allowed to travel to Russia. Source: Kommersant

 

No Travel Restrictions from USA / UK — 12/03/2020

12/03/2020: No travel restrictions to/from USA and UK, people arriving from EU and some Asian countries have their temperature checked at the border and are advised to go into 14-day self-isolation (mostly at Moscow airports — elsewhere there don't seem to be too many checks yet). You would have to specify the address where you are staying and you might get visited by the doctors to have your temperature checked and to ensure you're staying in. There are only a few reports on these checks and if you do get found out out of quarantine or roaming around you might get a 300-500 Rubles (€5-€7) fine (article 19.5 of the Russian administrative codex — ignoring an advice of an official body). If you did have coronavirus and somebody died as a result of you contaminating them you could get criminally persecuted (article 236 of the Russian criminal code). If they did not die you but only got contaminated from you, you would only get fined.
 
 

Limited Flights to/from EU — 11/03/2020

11/03/2020: Russian government has decreased the number of flights to/from EU. Now it's only Aeroflot who's allowed to fly. Possibly due to the low load of the airplanes. Good for environment, not so good for the smaller airlines like Utair who also were selling tickets about 30% less than Aeroflot.
 
 

Chasing Away Coronavirus with Smoke — 09/03/2020

09/03/2020: Russian babushkas are chasing away Coronavirus with smoke and quite successfully so as the virus is not so spread in Russia at this point.
 

 
 

Travel Checks on EU Arrivals — 08/03/2020

08/03/2020: People arriving from EU, especially Italy (not all flights) have their temperature checked and are advised to go on a 14-day self-imposed quarantine. This is mostly enforced in the Moscow airports, not in all Russia.
 
Coronavirus checks in Moscow airport, Russia
 

Chinese, South Korean and Iranian Citizens are Banned from Entering Russia

03/03/2020: As of today, Chinese, South Korean and Iranian citizens are banned from entering Russia.

 

 




 

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