For urgent consular assistance call
+61 2 6261 3305 from overseas
1300 555 135 from within Australia
For information about COVID-19, read our article.
Do you or someone you know need help?
12 January 2021
There's a ban on overseas travel from Australia. You can’t leave Australia unless you get an exemption from the Department of Home Affairs.
All our 177 travel advisories on Smartraveller are set at 'Do not travel' due to the health risks from the COVID-19 pandemic and the significant disruptions to global travel.
If you’re overseas and wish to return to Australia, be prepared for delays and read our advice on trying to get home.
When you arrive in Australia you must quarantine for 14 days at designated facilities in your port of arrival, unless you have an exemption. At this time, vaccination against COVID-19 does not change this quarantine requirement. You may be required to pay for the costs of your quarantine. View State and Territory Government COVID-19 information for information about quarantine and domestic borders.
If you're staying overseas, make plans to stay for an extended period. Follow the advice of local authorities and minimise your risk of exposure to COVID-19. Stay in touch with family and friends so they know you're safe.
Our network of embassies and consular posts around the world will provide you with up-to-date local advice and support throughout this difficult period. Be aware consular services may be limited due to local measures.
Do you or someone you know need help?
For urgent consular assistance call
+61 2 6261 3305 from overseas
1300 555 135 from within Australia
For information about COVID-19, read our article.
Do you or someone you know need help?
Full travel advice: Safety
Full travel advice: Health
Full travel advice: Local laws
Full travel advice: Travel
Full travel advice: Local contacts
Terrorists have staged attacks in Moscow, St Petersburg and North Caucasus region. More attacks are likely.
Terrorism targets have included:
Targets may include Russian airlines and airports.
Recent terrorist attacks in Russia include:
Russian authorities announced some arrests and disrupted attacks in 2018.
To protect yourself from terrorism:
If there's an attack, leave the area as soon as it's safe. Avoid the affected area in case of secondary attacks.
Terrorism is a threat worldwide.
There's a high threat of terrorism in parts of the North Caucasus, including:
In 2018, three terrorist attacks occurred in Chechnya, including two suicide bombs. Several people were killed and injured.
The Australian Government can provide little consular help in those parts of the North Caucasus.
If, despite our advice, you travel to these parts of the North Caucasus:
The Georgia-Russia border area is volatile because of tensions in Georgia.
If, despite our advice, you travel in the border region, read our Georgia travel advice.
Public protests and events that draw large groups of people can turn violent.
Unsanctioned protests are illegal in Russia. You can be arrested if you're involved in an unauthorised demonstration.
Avoid rallies, demonstrations and other large public gatherings.
The area near Russia's border with Ukraine is volatile, especially in the regions bordering the Ukrainian provinces of:
Armed violence is possible at any time.
The Australian Government doesn't recognise Russia's claimed annexation of the Ukrainian region of Crimea.
Some Russian tour operators offer package tours that include Crimea. If you book a tour, carefully check the itinerary.
Petty crime, pickpocketing and mugging is common. Groups of children sometimes commit crimes too.
Hot spots for crime include:
To protect yourself from theft and assault:
Racially motivated assaults may occur throughout Russia.
Take extra care if you or your travel partner(s) are of Asian or African descent.
Criminals may drug and rob travellers at nightclubs and bars. Sometimes this happens after people accept offers of food, drink or transportation from strangers.
To protect yourself from spiking-related crime:
People have reported extortion and robbery while taking unauthorised taxis.
To protect yourself from robbery while travelling in taxis:
Credit card and ATM fraud is common.
To protect yourself from fraud:
Criminals may try to cheat you by changing money in the street or in a bank queue.
Some Australians have been victims of fraud by bogus internet friendship, dating and marriage schemes operating from Russia.
These are large-scale, well-organised scams.
Criminals arrange to meet people through internet dating schemes or chat rooms. After getting to know each other, the criminal asks the Australian to send money so they can travel to Australia. However after the money has been received, the relationship is finished and the funds can't be recovered.
Be wary of people you meet through internet dating schemes or chat rooms.
People have also reported harassment, mistreatment and extortion by police and other local officials.
If you suspect you're being extorted by a police officer or other local official, offer to walk with them to the nearest police station. Once there, you can check their identity and their demands.
Kidnapping is common in parts of the Northern Caucasus.
It can be for:
Foreigners have been targeted in the past.
If, despite the risks, you travel to an area where there is a particular threat of kidnapping:
The Australian Government's longstanding policy is that it doesn't make payments or concessions to kidnappers.
Severe weather during winter can disrupt travel in Russia.
To protect yourself from accidents caused by severe weather:
If you're delayed, contact local authorities about a visa extension if required.
Every year, people are injured or killed in wind, snow and ice-related accidents. These include:
Slipping on ice can result in serious injury, such as broken bones, back injuries or paralysis.
During summer, forest and peat fires can occur in Russia, including in the Moscow region.
The North Caucasus and far eastern region of Russia can experience earthquakes.
Tsunamis are common in all oceanic regions of the world.
To protect yourself from natural disasters, take official warnings seriously.
If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.
Get updates on major disasters from the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System.
This advice predates COVID-19 and the Australian Government's travel ban for all Australians.
Make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance for the whole time you'll be away. Confirm what activities and care your policy covers, including in terms of health and travel disruptions. Your policy needs to cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation: the Australian Government won't pay for these costs.
If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. This applies to everyone, no matter how healthy and fit you are.
If you're not insured, you may have to pay many thousands of dollars up-front for medical care.
Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition. Consider whether you may be in a vulnerable category for COVID-19.
See your doctor or travel clinic to:
Do this at least eight weeks before you leave.
If you need counselling services while overseas, contact the Australian Consular Emergency Centre in Canberra on +61 2 6261 3305 and ask to speak to a Lifeline telephone counsellor.
Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.
If you plan to bring medication, check if it's legal in Russia. Take enough legal medication for your trip.
Russia has strict laws about the import and use of medications. Make sure you comply with the laws that changed in June 2016.
You must present a doctor's letter to authorities when you arrive in Russia confirming your need for each medication. This is the case if your medication contain:
This includes medications that are available over the counter in Australia, such as cold and flu tablets.
The letter must:
You must also have a notarised translation of the letter into Russian.
Before you leave Australia, contact the Embassy of Russia for the latest rules for bringing medicines into Russia.
COVID-19 remains a risk in Russia. Monitor the media for information on latest developments and follow the advice of local authorities.
If you're in Russia, you have COVID-19 symptoms and require medical assistance, call the Hotline telephone number +7495 870-45-09 (English is available). If you need emergency medical assistance please call an ambulance on 112.
Tick-borne encephalitis (World Health Organization) and other tick-borne diseases are a risk, especially if you travel through forested areas.
Ticks are common in rural areas from spring to autumn, April to October.
People have reported increased incidents of tick-borne encephalitis.
Measles cases can routinely occur in Russia, with the country currently experiencing an increase in measles activity. Make sure your vaccinations are up-to-date before you travel.
Avian influenza (Department of Health) is a risk in Russia.
HIV/AIDS (World Health Organization) is a risk.
Take steps to reduce your risk of exposure to the virus.
There has been a reported increase in rabies (World Health Organization) across Russia.
Rabies is deadly. Humans can get rabies from mammals, such as:
If you're bitten or scratched by a dog, monkey or other animal, get treatment as soon as possible.
Waterborne, foodborne, parasitic and other infectious diseases are common, including these listed by the World Health Organization:
Serious outbreaks sometimes occur.
To protect yourself from illness:
Get urgent medical attention if you have a fever or diarrhoea or you suspect food poisoning.
Public medical facilities in Russian cities are below Australian standards.
Standards are extremely basic in rural areas.
There are a few international-standard private facilities in major cities.
Before you're treated, private facilities need either:
If you become seriously ill or injured, you'll need to be evacuated to get proper care. Medical evacuation can be very expensive.
The Russian Government has announced it is working 'to prevent the spread of false information on the COVID-19 situation in Russia that creates a panic'. Those in violation may be fined or imprisoned.
You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that may appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling.
If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
It's illegal to possess, sell, consume or carry any illegal drugs.
Penalties are severe and include long prison terms.
Russia has strict rules around medication carried into the country for personal use. This includes some medications that you can get over the counter in Australia.
If you don't declare restricted medications, authorities could detain you. See Health
Routine police checks are common in public places.
Carry your passport, visa and migration card with you at all times. Authorities won't accept copies.
If you can't provide travel documentation on request, authorities can detain and fine you.
In Russia it's illegal to:
Penalties for breaching the law include fines, jail and deportation.
Russia regulates religious activity. Authorities restrict activities such as preaching and distributing religious materials.
If you plan to engage in religious activity, make sure you are not breaking local laws.
Contact the Embassy or Consulate of Russia for more information.
Russia restricts some social media platforms and internet sites, such as LinkedIn and Telegram.
Some Australian documents, such as birth or marriage certificates, need to be legalised before Russian authorities will accept them.
If you have an Australian document that you need to use while in Russia, contact the Embassy or Consulate of Russia for information.
Apostilles and some legal certificates can be issued by:
Some Australian criminal laws still apply when you're overseas. If you break these laws, you may face prosecution in Australia.
Russia doesn't recognise dual nationality.
If you're a dual national, Russian authorities won't recognise your Australian nationality. They will treat you like any other national of Russia.
If you're a dual national:
If you're a dual national, this limits the consular services we can give if you're arrested or detained.
Contact the Embassy or Consulate of Russia well in advance of any planned travel to Russia.
Dual nationals can't leave Russia without a valid Russian passport.
You'll need to get a new Russian passport before you leave if:
Getting a new Russian passport for non-residents is complex and can take several months.
Children born outside Russia and added to their parents' Russian passports need their own passport to leave Russia.
If you're travelling alone with a child, Russian border authorities may require:
Same-sex relationships are legal in Russia, but not widely accepted.
Intolerance towards the LGBTI community is common, particularly outside Moscow and St Petersburg.
People have reported violence against members of the LGBTI community, including by local security forces.
In April 2017, there were reports of arrests and violence against LGBTI people in Chechnya.
It's illegal to promote 'non-traditional sexual relationships' to minors. Any action or statement that appears to promote LGBTI issues could be illegal.
Visa rules may have changed since COVID-19. Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. Make sure you meet all entry and exit conditions. Check with the nearest embassy, consulate or immigration department of the destination you're entering. If you don't meet the conditions, the Australian Government can't help you.
You need a visa to enter Russia unless you're travelling on certain commercial cruise ships.
You can't get a visa on arrival.
If you arrive in Russia without a valid visa, authorities will fine, detain and deport you at your own expense. They may bar you from re-entering Russia.
Make sure you apply for the correct visa type, such as 'tourist' and 'visitor' visas.
If your visa type doesn't match the purpose of your visit, authorities may:
You may need to provide biometric fingerprints as part of the visa application process.
After you get your Russian visa, check your passport details are correct, including:
If there are errors, return your passport to the Russian Embassy or Consulate for correction.
It's impossible to amend visa details once you're in Russia.
You may be eligible for visa-free entry if you arrive by a commercial cruise ship:
Visa-free entry lets you you leave the ship for short periods as part of an officially recognised tour.
Discuss your travel plans with your cruise operator before you travel to check if you need a visa.
If you transit through Russia on the way to a third country, check transit visa requirements.
Entry and exit conditions can change at short notice. Contact the nearest embassy or consulate for details about visas, currency, customs and quarantine rules.
Global travel continues to be impacted by COVID-19 and remains unpredictable. Your plans may be disrupted at short notice. Be aware of the risks of travelling at this time and make informed decisions by regularly checking the advice of local authorities.
Foreign nationals arriving in Russia, including transit passengers, are required to provide a negative COVID-19 PCR test result dated less than 72 hours prior to travel. Passengers arriving for work purposes may be required to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival.
Commercial flights are now operating to and from Russia on a limited number of routes. Flights between Russia and the UK are suspended until at least 29 December 2020. Check with your airline or travel provider for the latest information.
Wear a face mask in public spaces, on public transport and in taxis, car parks and elevators. Some public events and entertainment (including the opening of restaurants and cafes) may be banned between11pm - 6am. Actual decisions will be made by regional authorities. Follow the advice of local authorities.
Temporary measures have been introduced for foreign citizens who are in Russia with expired visas. If your visa expires between 15 March and 15 December 2020, you do not need to apply for a visa extension to leave the country or to remain in Russia.
If your visa expired before 15 March, you will need to contact your nearest police office for more information.
Due to the deteriorating situation with COVID-19, St Petersburg City Government has asked tourists to refrain from visiting the city over the Christmas and New Year holidays and have introduced further restrictions in regard to social and cultural events. The details are available on St Petersburg City Government’s website.
If you’re staying in Russia:
All foreign visitors receive a migration card on arrival in Russia.
If you receive a paper migration card, keep the stamped exit portion of the card with your passport.
The migration card covers both Russia and Belarus. You'll need to show the stamped card to passport control when leaving the last of the two countries.
If you lose your migration card:
You can get a replacement from the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs. This is complex and could delay your departure.
In 2017, the Russian Government said it would introduce biometric fingerprinting for all foreigners entering Russia. They haven't announced dates for this yet.
The government strictly controls the import of electrical and some high technology equipment.
The rules are complex.
You may import terminal global positioning systems (GPS) devices if you declare them on arrival. However, you'll need a special permit to import a GPS device connected to a computer or an antenna.
Authorities can detain you if you don't have a permit.
You'll need to show proof of advanced approval to import a satellite phone. Request approval from the Federal Service for the Supervision of Communications.
Russian border officials can demand to inspect any electronic device when you leave. This includes installed software.
The government doesn't allow foreigners to cross the land border between Russia and Belarus.
If you travel between Russia and Belarus, it must be by air.
If you're travelling between Russia and Belarus, you must have visas for both countries.
Visa-free entry into Belarus doesn't apply to travellers arriving from or travelling to Russia.
If you stay more than seven working days, including your day of arrival and departure, you have to register with the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs.
You have to pay a registration fee.
Most hotels do this for their guests, but you're legally responsible. Confirm with check-in staff on arrival that they've registered you.
If you're not staying at a hotel, the registration process can be complex.
If you're travelling on a visitor-type visa, register at the nearest post office.
If you're travelling on a visa that lets you work, register through your employer. Confirm with your employer that they've registered you.
If you don't register, authorities can fine you or delay your departure.
Make sure you leave Russia before your visa expires. Some visas, including tourist visas, can't be extended.
If you overstay your visa, you won't be allowed to leave Russia until the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs determines your legal status or deports you.
Authorities can detain you until they've processed your case.
Penalties for overstaying include fines and deportation.
You may be banned from re-entering.
Russia has strict regulations covering the export of antiques, artworks and items of historical significance. This is for items purchased in Russia or imported to Russia from overseas. It includes modern art and posters if they are particularly rare or valuable.
Authorities may not allow the export of items more than 100 years old.
If you want to export any antiques, artworks or items of historical significance:
Don't try to export items requiring permits without the relevant paperwork. This is a serious offence.
Legislation about the export of artwork and antiques from Russia may change without warning.
Some countries won't let you enter unless your passport is valid for six months after you plan to leave that country. This can apply even if you're just transiting or stopping over.
Some foreign governments and airlines apply the rule inconsistently. Travellers can receive conflicting advice from different sources.
You can end up stranded if your passport is not valid for more than six months.
The Australian Government does not set these rules. Check your passport's expiry date before you travel. If you're not sure it'll be valid for long enough, consider getting a new passport.
Your passport is a valuable document. It's attractive to people who may try to use your identity to commit crimes.
Some people may try to trick you into giving them your passport. Always keep it in a safe place.
If your passport is lost or stolen, tell the Australian Government as soon as possible:
If your passport is lost or stolen while ashore, you will need to obtain an emergency passport and an exit visa to leave Russia within the 72-hour visa-free period. If it’s not done within 72 hours, you will face a court hearing and possible fine, deportation and entry ban.
To arrange a new visa:
If you replace your passport while in Russia, make sure authorities transfer your visa to the new passport.
The currency of Russia is the Rouble (RUB).
Declare cash of more than $US10,000 (or equivalent) when entering Russia.
Declare cash of more than $US3,000 (or equivalent) when exiting Russia.
Make sure a customs official stamps your declaration. Only stamped declarations are valid.
You must carry proof that your funds were imported and declared, or legally obtained in Russia.
Only exchange money at banks. US dollars or euros in cash are most commonly accepted.
Major bank cards are widely accepted, but fraud happens.
Traveller's cheques aren't widely accepted, even in Moscow and St Petersburg.
If, despite our advice, you decide to go to Chechnya or the North Caucasus, you must first get permission from the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Several other areas of Russia, especially in Siberia and the Russian Far East, are also 'closed' areas.
Foreigners need government permission to enter 'closed' areas.
If you need government permission or if you're not sure if you need it, contact the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs.
You should carry an International Driving Permit (IDP).
You may drive with an Australian driver's license if you carry it with a notarised Russian translation.
Driving in Russia can be hazardous due to:
The blood alcohol limit for drivers is 0%.
Some taxis appear official but aren't licensed by local authorities.
Book an official taxi by phone, at major hotels and from inside airports.
DFAT doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths.
Depending on what you need, contact your:
Always get a police report when you report a crime.
Your insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
Contact your provider with any complaints about tourist services or products.
Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.
Contact the Australian Embassy in Moscow for a full range of consular services.
If you're in St Petersburg, you can also contact the Australian Consulate for limited consular help.
11 Moika Street
St Petersburg 191186 Russia
Tel: (+7 964) 333 7572 (NOT for visas)
Fax: (+7 812) 334 3326
Email: email@example.com (NOT for visas)
Check the Embassy website for details about opening hours and any temporary closures.
In a consular emergency, if you can't contact an embassy, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on:
Be the first to know official government advice when travelling.