COVID-19: travel health notice for all travellers
Russia travel advice
Latest updates: The Health section was updated - travel health information (Public Health Agency of Canada)
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Russia - AVOID ALL TRAVEL
Avoid all travel to Russia due to the impacts of the armed conflict with Ukraine, including partial military mobilization, restrictions on financial transactions and increasingly limited flight options.
If you are in Russia, you should leave while commercial means are still available. If you remain in Russia, maintain a low profile. Canadians holding Russian citizenship may be subject to call-up for mandatory military service.
Safety and security
Armed conflict with Ukraine
On June 24, 2023, there were reports of military tensions in the Rostov region.
Flight availability, already reduced following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, continues to be subject to unpredictable and significant limitations. If you are in Russia, you should leave while commercial means are still available.
Some financial transactions, including those with Canadian major credit and ATM cards, are not possible. As a result, you may not be able to use your credit card for purchases within Russia or to withdraw cash at an ATM. Availability of essential services may also be affected.
Communications related to the current situation are scrutinized by local authorities. You may face heavy consequences if you discuss, share or publish information related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Foreign journalists and other media workers in Russia may also face considerable risks.
Security conditions are unpredictable and could deteriorate without notice. The ability of our Embassy to provide consular services in Russia may become severely limited.
There have been armed incursions and shelling in areas close to the Russian-Ukrainian border, notably in Bryansk and Belgorod Oblasts. Drone strikes, explosions and fires have also occurred at key infrastructure sites and military installations further into Russia's interior and in cities, including in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
You may encounter an increased security presence with potential disruptions to transport and movement, especially in areas near Russian military installations.
Avoid all travel to Russia. If you decide to remain despite this advisory, be aware that:
- you may have to stay in Russia longer than expected
- you may be affected by shortages of essential products and services
- you may not be able to use your banking cards for payment or to withdraw funds
- you should not depend on the Government of Canada to help you leave the country
Additionally, while you remain in Russia, you should:
- review your personal security plans on a daily basis
- keep a low profile
- refrain from discussing political developments in public or online
- avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- make sure you have an adequate supply of cash, essential items and medications
- avoid any area where there are military installations or activity
- monitor trustworthy news sources to stay informed on the evolving situation
- make sure your travel documents are up-to-date, including those of your family
- contact your air company to check on flight availability
- communicate your travel plans to family and friends
- register and update your contact information through the Registration of Canadians Abroad service and encourage other Canadian citizens in Russia to do so
The Russian government has declared a state of emergency and maintains a significant military presence in Rostov Oblast. The situation along the Ukrainian border is unpredictable and could change quickly. Exercise extreme vigilance if you must travel to this region, as armed clashes and violence pose serious threats to your safety. If you are currently in this area, you should strongly consider leaving. The ability of the Embassy of Canada to Russia in Moscow to provide consular assistance in this district is extremely limited.
Republics of Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia, and Stavropol Krai
Terrorist attacks are frequent in the Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia republics and Stavropol region. The security situation is unstable and dangerous. Suicide bombings occur on a regular basis and targeted assassinations have also taken place. Unexploded mines and munitions are widespread. Kidnapping for ransom is also common.
You must obtain special permission from the Ministry of the Interior to enter certain areas and regions.
Republics of Kabardino-Balkaria (including the Mount Elbrus region), Karachai-Cherkessia and North Ossetia
Tensions are high in Russia’s border regions with Georgia and may affect the security situation in Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachai-Cherkessia and North Ossetia republics. Military operations are carried out with little or no notice, and are accompanied by travel restrictions. The border crossings to Azerbaijan and Georgia are subject to frequent, sometimes lengthy closures.
There is a threat of terrorism. Terrorist groups have called for attacks on Russian soil. Incidents resulting in death and injury have occurred most frequently in the North Caucasus region, in Moscow and in St. Petersburg, but may happen throughout the country. Further attacks can’t be ruled out.
Targets could include:
- government buildings, including schools
- places of worship
- Russian airlines, airports and other transportation hubs and networks
- public areas such as tourist attractions, cultural venues, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners
Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places.
Russian authorities have increased general security measures in Moscow and other large cities.
Crime against foreigners is a serious problem. Harassment and assaults are prevalent, particularly against foreigners of Asian and African descent. Some victims have died as a result of assaults. Foreigners in the areas to which we advise against all travel are particularly vulnerable. Several journalists and foreign aid personnel working in Russia have been killed or kidnapped. Criminals have targeted and destroyed well-marked aid convoys. Exercise extreme caution in crowds and open markets.
Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, occurs frequently and is often committed by groups of children and teenagers. Criminals use various techniques to distract the victims, including requests for help. In such situations, walk away quickly. Preferred areas for criminals include:
- underground walkways
- public transportation and transportation hubs
- tourist sites
- restaurants and markets
- hotel rooms and residences (even when occupied and locked)
Reduce your risk of being targeted by travelling in groups with reputable tour agencies.
Avoid showing signs of affluence and ensure personal belongings, including passports and other travel documents, are secure at all times. Replacing travel documents and visas is difficult, and could considerably delay your return to Canada.
Criminals may also pose as police officers, particularly in St. Petersburg. Real police officers wear a visible personal identification number on their uniforms. Bogus checkpoints may be set up in rural areas to commit robbery.
Demonstrations and elections
Demonstrations take place. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Monitor local media for the latest information
Due to heightened political tensions, be vigilant and don’t discuss political developments in public.
Tensions on the Korean Peninsula
Tensions on the neighbouring Korean Peninsula could escalate with little notice and the security situation could deteriorate suddenly. Tensions may increase before, during and after North Korean nuclear and missile tests, military exercises or as the result of incidents or military activities at or near the inter-Korean border. Monitor developments, remain vigilant and follow the instructions of local authorities.
Spiked food and drinks
Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances. These items may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.
There have been cases of foreigners developing friendships or romantic relationships over the Internet and becoming entangled in financial issues in Russia. Remain vigilant and be aware that we can’t help you recover lost funds or property in such cases.
Only exchange money at major banks. Foreigners have been scammed in the past when exchanging money on the street.
Traffic police may stop motorists to collect fraudulent cash fines on the spot.
Credit card and automated banking machine (ABM) fraud occurs. Be cautious when using debit or credit cards:
- pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others
- use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business
- avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
- cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
- check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements
Organized criminal groups are active throughout Russia, particularly in large cities. Extortion and corruption are common business practices, including among foreign businesses. Criminals demand protection money from their victims under threat of serious violence. Report extortion attempts to Russian authorities.
Authorities may place foreigners under surveillance. Hotel rooms, telephones, fax machines and e-mail messages may be monitored. Personal possessions in hotel rooms may be searched.
Power outages and shortages occur often throughout Russia.
Discrimination against 2SLGBTQI+ individuals is common.
2SLGBTQI+ travellers, as well as their friends and families, have been targets of harassment and violence, particularly outside of Moscow.
Road conditions vary and are often poor outside major cities.
Drivers don’t respect traffic laws and often drive and park on pedestrian areas. Accidents are common. Pedestrians should be particularly careful. In the event of an accident, don’t move the vehicle until the police arrive, even if the car is obstructing traffic.
Drive only during the day.
In winter, road travel can be hazardous due to ice and snow.
When travelling by train, store valuables in a safe place and don’t leave the compartment unattended. Lock the door from the inside.
Most major cities have reliable public transportation including buses, subways or streetcars.
Use only registered taxis and don’t share a taxi with strangers. Foreigners have been victims of assault and robbery when using unregistered taxis.
Book taxis in advance either by phone or through taxi company apps. Avoid flagging down taxis on the street, but if you do, negotiate the price before getting into the taxi.
Boat accidents are common due to the overloading and poor maintenance of some vessels. Safety standards differ from those in Canada. Exercise caution and common sense when using marine transportation. Don’t board vessels that appear overloaded or unseaworthy.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
Entry and exit requirements
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the Russian authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with the Foreign Representatives in Canada.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave Russia.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Passport with “X” gender identifier
While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
Tourist visa: required for stays in commercial accommodations (exceptions apply)
Guest visa: required for stays in private accommodations
Business visa: required
Student visa: required
Transit visa: required (exceptions apply)
Exit visa: required
Foreign visitors must leave Russia once the visa validity period has ended. To extend a visa, a foreign national must arrange with the territorial units of the migration service authorities prior to the validity end date to start the extension process.
You need a tourist visa if you are staying at a hotel or other commercial establishment. Ensure that the hotel registers your visa when you check in.
It is best if you book your travel through a travel agency, which will submit a tourist visa application on your behalf. Canadian travel agents work with Russian travel agencies or companies, which act as sponsors for tourist visas.
In cases of expired tourist visas or lost or stolen Canadian passports, only the visa-sponsoring travel agency is authorized to apply for a new tourist visa on your behalf. Extensions are not issued. Holders of expired visas face heavy fines or detention upon departure.
You need a guest visa if you intend to stay in private accommodations. The host must obtain an official invitation (priglashenie) from the nearest Russian visa and passport office (UFMS) and send it to you in Canada. You must then take the invitation, the visa application and your passport to a Russian embassy or consulate to apply for the visa.
To get a business visa, you need to be sponsored by a Russian individual or organization (the host). It may take up to 3 months for the host to obtain approval for sponsorship from the Ministry of the Interior. Any subsequent change (replacement or extension) to the original visa must be made by the sponsor. A business visa is not a work permit.
You must have a valid visa to be allowed to leave Russia. If your visa expires, your sponsor must apply for an exit visa on your behalf. To avoid problems, including deportation, make sure your visa is valid beyond your intended departure date.
Contact your cruise company to find out if you need to apply for a Russian visa before your cruise starts. International cruise passengers may enter Russia at specific port cities without a visa for up to 72 hours. Your cruise ship tour guide must have all the authorizations required for your entry by the Russian authorities. While in Russia, make sure that you’re able to contact your cruise ship tour guide at any time, in case of emergency or any issue with local authorities.
Some Russian international airports have transit areas that allow for visa-free travel through Russia. If you plan to transit through Russia, check with your transportation carrier to see if transit visa exceptions apply to you.
You must complete a migration card upon your arrival in Russia. These cards are usually distributed on flights and trains entering Russia or at points of entry, but sometimes they are not available, even at major international airports. Even if that’s the case, you are responsible to find a migration card and fill it out. You must keep and carry part B of the migration card throughout your stay. The card is required for hotel registration.
If the police request to see your migration card, you must comply. You must present it, your passport and your registered visa. You must also present the card to border officials upon departure.
If you hold a multiple-entry visa, you must fill out a new migration card every time you enter Russia.
Loss of this card can result in fines, serious delays or imprisonment at the time of departure.
All foreign visitors must register their arrival within 72 hours of entering the country (excluding weekends and national holidays). If you have made accommodation arrangements with a hotel for your entire trip, the hotel will take care of registering your stay with the authorities.
Visitors staying in private accommodations must register with the territorial office of the Federal Migration Service. Any Russian citizen with a resident registration (propiska) can register a foreigner staying at their home at a local police station or any post office. A small registration fee may apply. The visitor’s host must be present during the process.
Violation of the rules of migration registration may result in a fine. In some cases, visitors may face expulsion from Russia and a ban from re-entering of up to 5 years.
Customs declaration form
Upon arrival in Russia, you must fill out a customs declaration form, then go through the red customs line and have the form stamped by a customs official. Without the stamp, any undeclared currency and valuables—including items that could be considered antique—may be confiscated upon departure.
You must declare amounts of currency exceeding US$10,000 at border crossings. You may also have to provide information on the origin of the money and its intended use. Currency exceeding the amount stated on the declaration form will be confiscated if you have not obtained an official bank receipt authorizing the clearance of these sums. The declaration form must be kept until departure.
Upon departure, you must fill out a second customs declaration form and present the two forms to a customs official. You must declare any amount greater than RUB3,000. If you fail to declare, in writing, the amount of currency in your possession, the undeclared currency and valuables may be confiscated and you may be detained and face criminal charges leading to imprisonment.
Special permits and restricted areas
Travel to and residency in several Russian cities and regions is restricted. You must obtain permission from local authorities prior to entering a restricted city or region. Failure to do so may result in arrest, fines and/or deportation. Attach an itinerary to your visa application to avoid delays. Some areas must be specifically indicated in the visa, and you may have to pay an extra fee to include them.
Passport requirements for individuals holding both Canadian and Russian citizenships
If you have dual citizenship, you must enter and leave Russia on a Russian passport.
If your Russian passport expires prior travelling to Russia, Russian authorities in Canada can extend it for entry into Russia only. If the passport expires during your stay in Russia, you must obtain a new one before leaving. Renewing a Russian passport may take several months.
If you enter Russia with a repatriation certificate issued by Russian authorities abroad, you may not be allowed to leave on a Canadian passport. This certificate is only valid for one-way travel into Russia.
Land border with Belarus
Only local residents are allowed to travel by land from Russia to Belarus. This restriction applies to cars, tour buses and trains.
Health entry requirements
If you are planning to remain in Russia for more than 3 months, you must provide a medical certificate of a negative test for HIV infection. The certificate must be valid for 3 months from the date of testing and include:
- passport details (full name, date of birth, passport number and country of residence)
- HIV test information (date of test, test results and signatures of the doctor who performed the test and the person examined)
- the length of your intended stay in Russia
Other tests (such as for tuberculosis and leprosy) may be required for individuals staying in Russia for more than 3 months.
Children and travel
Learn more about travelling with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.
Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.
Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Pre-travel vaccines and medications
You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary.
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
There is a risk of hepatitis A in this destination. It is a disease of the liver. People can get hepatitis A if they ingest contaminated food or water, eat foods prepared by an infectious person, or if they have close physical contact (such as oral-anal sex) with an infectious person, although casual contact among people does not spread the virus.
Practise safe food and water precautions and wash your hands often. Vaccination is recommended for all travellers to areas where hepatitis A is present.
Tick-borne encephalitis is present in some areas of this country.
It is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).
It is spread to humans by the bite of infected ticks or when you consume unpasteurized milk products.
Vaccination should be considered for those who may be exposed to ticks during outdoor activities.
A vaccine against TBE does exist but is only available in countries where the disease is present.
Learn more on what you can do to prevent tick-borne encephalitis (TBE)
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.
Japanese encephalitis is a viral infection that can cause swelling of the brain. It is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Risk is very low for most travellers. Travellers at relatively higher risk may want to consider vaccination for JE prior to travelling.
Travellers are at higher risk if they will be:
- travelling long term (e.g. more than 30 days)
- making multiple trips to endemic areas
- staying for extended periods in rural areas
- visiting an area suffering a JE outbreak
- engaging in activities involving high contact with mosquitos (e.g., entomologists)
Hepatitis B is a risk in every destination. It is a viral liver disease that is easily transmitted from one person to another through exposure to blood and body fluids containing the hepatitis B virus. Travellers who may be exposed to blood or other bodily fluids (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) are at higher risk of getting hepatitis B.
Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all travellers. Prevent hepatitis B infection by practicing safe sex, only using new and sterile drug equipment, and only getting tattoos and piercings in settings that follow public health regulations and standards.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.
Before travelling, verify your destination’s COVID-19 vaccination entry/exit requirements. Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
In this destination, rabies is carried by dogs and some wildlife, including bats. Rabies is a deadly disease that spreads to humans primarily through bites or scratches from an infected animal. While travelling, take precautions, including keeping your distance from animals (including free-roaming dogs), and closely supervising children.
If you are bitten or scratched by an animal while travelling, immediately wash the wound with soap and clean water and see a health care professional. Rabies treatment is often available in this destination.
Before travel, discuss rabies vaccination with a health care professional. It may be recommended for travellers who are at high risk of exposure (e.g., occupational risk such as veterinarians and wildlife workers, children, adventure travellers and spelunkers, and others in close contact with animals).
Safe food and water precautions
Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.
- Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
- Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
- Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs.
Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Insect bite prevention
Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:
- Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
- Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
- Minimize exposure to insects
- Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed
To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.
Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.
Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever
Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever is a viral disease that can cause fever, pain and bleeding under the skin. In some cases, it can be fatal. It spreads to humans through contact with infected animal blood or tissues, or from the bite of an infected tick. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from tick bites and avoid animals, particularly livestock. There is no vaccine available for Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever.
Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may increase your chance of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.
Closely supervise children, as they are more likely to come in contact with animals.
Human cases of avian influenza have been reported in this destination. Avian influenza is a viral infection that can spread quickly and easily among birds and in rare cases it can infect mammals, including people. The risk is low for most travellers.
Avoid contact with birds, including wild, farm, and backyard birds (alive or dead) and surfaces that may have bird droppings on them. Ensure all poultry dishes, including eggs and wild game, are properly cooked.
Travellers with a higher risk of exposure include those:
- visiting live bird/animal markets or poultry farms
- working with poultry (such as chickens, turkeys, domestic ducks)
- hunting, de-feathering, field dressing and butchering wild birds and wild mammals
- working with wild birds for activities such as research, conservation, or rehabilitation
- working with wild mammals, especially those that eat wild birds (e.g., foxes)
All eligible people are encouraged to get the seasonal influenza shot, which will protect them against human influenza viruses. While the seasonal influenza shot does not prevent infection with avian influenza, it can reduce the chance of getting sick with human and avian influenza viruses at the same time.
Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette, which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:
- washing your hands often
- avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
- avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV, and mpox are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners. Check with your local public health authority pre-travel to determine your eligibility for mpox vaccine.
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.
For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.
Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care professional.
High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.
Medical services and facilities
Good health care is only available in major cities. Quality of care varies greatly throughout the country. A few quality facilities exist in larger cities and usually require cash payment upon admission. Medical evacuation, which can be very expensive, may be necessary in the event of serious illness or injury.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
Authorities frequently perform random identity checks in public places.
You must carry the following identification documents at all times:
- a valid passport with 2 blank pages for stamps
- a valid Russian visa
- an migration card
- a stamped registration notification
You may be fined or detained for failing to provide proper documentation to Russian authorities.
Only the special police of the Federal Migration Bureau have the authority to arrest, detain and impose fines on improperly documented foreigners. If you are stopped in the street and requested to pay a fine, ask to see the officer’s name and identification and to contact the Embassy of Canada to Russia in Moscow.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
Minors participating in demonstrations
It is illegal for minors (those under 18) to participate in unauthorized protests. Adults who involve minors in such protests could face up to 15 days in jail and fines of up to RUB1 million.
Although the laws of Russia do not prohibit homosexual activity, Russian federal law prohibits public actions that are described as promoting homosexuality and “non-traditional sexual relations.”
Public actions that contravene or appear to contravene this law may lead to arrest, a fine and deportation. Examples of such actions include dissemination of information (for example, through public statements) and public displays of affection. Same sex marriage is not recognized in Russia. Homosexuality isn’t socially accepted.
Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in Russia.
If local authorities consider you a citizen of Russia, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services. This will prevent us from providing you with those services.
If you are also a Russian citizen and reside in Russia or hold permanent residency status in another country, you must declare this citizenship or residency status to your local migration office.
You may also be subject to certain legal obligations, including military service. You may be detained, imprisoned, or fined larges sums if you try to avoid military service. Seek advice from the nearest Russian embassy or consulate before travelling to Russia, or consult official sources from the Government of the Russian Federation.
- Official information - Government of the Russian Federation (may not be currently available depending on your location)
- Military mobilization - Government of the Russian Federation (may not be currently available depending on your location)
- Requirement and consequences of non-compliance with the declaration of foreign citizenship - Federal Migration Service of the Russian Federation (in Russian, may not be currently available depending on your location)
- General information for travellers with dual citizenship
International Child Abduction
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. It does not apply between Canada and Russia.
If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Russia by an abducting parent:
- act as quickly as you can
- consult a lawyer in Canada and in Russia to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
- report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre.
If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.
Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.
- International Child Abduction: A Guidebook for Left-Behind Parents
- Travelling with children
- Canadian embassies and consulates by destination
- Emergency Watch and Response Centre
Religious activity is heavily regulated in Russia. If you plan to engage in religious activity, such as missionary work, make sure you are not inadvertently violating local laws.
You should carry an international driving permit.
You may drive with a Canadian driver’s licence if you carry it and a Russian translation. You must obtain a local permit if staying longer than 6 months.
The legal blood alcohol content limit is significantly lower than in Canada. Those found guilty of drinking and driving can expect heavy fines, suspension of their driving permit and immediate detention. Repeat offenders may face prison sentences.
The traffic police can impose fines on drivers for traffic violations. They can conduct identity checks on pedestrians, but they are not authorized to impose fines. The same is true of police in the underground metro systems.
Russia has very strict rules on the importation of medication. Certain prescription and over-the-counter drugs that are common in Canada may be prohibited, and large quantities of any medicine will be scrutinized.
If you are travelling with medication, even over-the-counter medication, you must have a doctor’s note translated to Russian confirming that you need the medication. Contact the Embassy of the Russian Federation for up-to-date information.
Imports and exports
The importation and use of electronic equipment are strictly controlled. Foreigners have faced charges of espionage for possessing improperly certified GPS devices, such as those used for geological mapping.
You must obtain a certificate from the Ministry of Culture to export items that appear old (prior to 1945) or may have cultural value. Customs officials may conduct thorough baggage searches and can arrest you if you don’t have the necessary certificate.
Contact the nearest Russian embassy or consulate, or consult the Federal Customs Service prior to departure for up-to-date information on customs requirements.
The currency of Russia is the Russian ruble (RUB).
It is illegal to pay for goods and services in foreign currency. You can exchange U.S. dollars at any exchange counter. Carry new, crisp bills; well-worn or used U.S. banknotes may not be accepted. ATMs are common in main cities. ATMs will accept cards with 4-digit pin numbers, but you may experience problems with cards with 5- or 6-digit pin codes. In major cities, you can usually exchange Euros and U.S. dollars at various banks.
Natural disasters and climate
Forest fires are common between July and September, particularly in Siberia. The air quality in areas near active fires may deteriorate due to heavy smoke.
In case of a major fire:
- stay away from the affected area, particularly if you suffer from respiratory ailments
- follow the instructions of local emergency services
- monitor local media for up-to-date information on the situation
Parts of Russia, such as Chechnya, the Kamchatka Peninsula and the Kuril Islands, are prone to seismic or volcanic activity.
Spring flooding throughout Siberia and parts of western Russia.
In case of emergency, dial 112 or:
- police: 102
- medical assistance: 103
- firefighters: 101
Moscow - Embassy of Canada
Russia, Armenia, Uzbekistan
Vladivostok - Honorary consul of Canada
For calls originating inside Russia the “7” should be replaced by an “8”.
For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada in Moscow and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.
The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.
If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
Learn more about consular services.
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