According to the current U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory at the date of this report’s publication, Russia has been assessed as Level 3. Reconsider travel due to terrorism and harassment. Do not travel to the north Caucasus, including Chechnya and Mount Elbrus, due to civil unrest and terrorism, and Crimea due to foreign occupation and abuses by occupying authorities.
Overall Crime and Safety Situation
U.S. Consulate General St. Petersburg does not assume responsibility for the professional ability or integrity of the persons or firms appearing in this report. The American Citizens’ Services unit (ACS) cannot recommend a particular individual or location, and assumes no responsibility for the quality of service provided.
The U.S. Department of State has assessed St. Petersburg as being a MEDIUM-threat location for crime directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests.
Please review OSAC’s Russia-specific page for original OSAC reporting, consular messages, and contact information, some of which may be available only to private-sector representatives with an OSAC password.
St. Petersburg is the administrative center of the Russian Federation’s Northwest Federal District, which encompasses the northern part of European Russia. The district is home to 13.6 million people according to the 2010 census, placing it fifth among the eight federal districts. The following 11 federal subjects (a catch-all term for the various titles of state-level administrative entities) comprise the Northwest Federal District (NFD): Arkhangelsk Oblast, Vologda Oblast, Kaliningrad Oblast, Leningrad Oblast, Murmansk Oblast, Novgorod Oblast, Pskov Oblast, Republic of Karelia, Komi Republic, Nenets Autonomous Okrug, and the federal city of St. Petersburg.
A history of widespread official corruption, a lack of judicial independence, and well-entrenched criminal enterprises continue to adversely affect Russian and international businesses.
With a population in excess of five million—62% of the NFD’s total—St. Petersburg has crime levels commensurate with other large urban centers in Russia, Europe, and the U.S. The overall crime rate in the NFD dipped by a little over 10% in 2017, though the number of serious crimes slightly increased compared to 2016. In general, the crime rates in St. Petersburg and the NFD are lower than the country’s average.
Russian law enforcement, judicial, and social agencies have made significant progress in reducing homicides and other violent crimes over the last several years, and the nationwide trend continued in 2017. Police in St. Petersburg believe that alcohol plays a significant role in these crimes, with as many as two-thirds of suspects being intoxicated at the time of arrest.
The numbers and types of serious crimes varied within the administrative districts of St. Petersburg and often correlated to each district’s economic prosperity and population density. While the majority of violent crimes occur outside the city center, a significant number take place near major hotels and affluent neighborhoods. Lax lax zoning laws result in the absence of clearly defined lines between affluent and poor neighborhoods. In the Central District (home to many stores, tourist sites, businesses, and consulates), about a third of reported crimes are serious or violent felonies.
Consistent with national crime statistics, the most prevalent type of crime reported to Consulate General St. Petersburg is theft (mostly pickpocketing). Most of the incidents occur in high pedestrian traffic areas (public transportation terminals, shopping centers/markets, underground crosswalks, popular tourist sites). Large numbers of visitors, particularly during the summer, provide a target-rich environment for criminals.
St. Petersburg continues to experience a regular number of armed robberies and burglaries, primarily targeting small businesses (jewelry stores, cash exchanges). These businesses often lack effective security measures and are often located in more isolated parts of the city. Armed robberies in the city center do occur but are less frequent.
Debit/credit card fraud is common. Travelers should be cautious when using ATMs and look for evidence of device tampering, illegal card readers, low-profile video cameras, and individuals loitering in the immediate area.
Male business travelers disproportionately are victims of drugged drink incidents at nightclubs and hotel bars. Frequently, victims are drugged or encouraged to consume excessive amounts of alcohol and then are robbed by women whom they have met in nightclubs. Once the victim is incapacitated his cash is stolen, and he often finds excessive charges on his bank accounts. Physical and sexual assault may also occur. For more information, please review OSAC’s Report “Shaken: The Don’ts of Alcohol Abroad.”
Vehicle thefts continue to be a problem for St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Oblast. Despite increased law enforcement operations targeting auto theft rings, the number of vehicle thefts continues to be among the highest in Russia, second only to Moscow and Moscow Oblast. According to the automotive analytical group AUTOSTAT, St. Petersburg and Moscow, along with their surrounding oblasts, account for almost half the stolen vehicles nationwide. The profile of auto theft victims has changed in recent years, as owners of inexpensive vehicles represent an increasing percentage of victims in the St. Petersburg area. While there still is a market for expensive models, domestic and foreign models costing less than 600,000 rubles increasingly are stolen for parts. The harvested parts are much harder to trace and can be disseminated to auto supply and repair shops with little risk of discovery. According to police data, vehicles are most frequently stolen in the evening and late at night. The lack of sufficient, safe parking contributes to the problem by forcing vehicle owners to make poor parking choices (in dark, isolated, or unmonitored areas).
Law enforcement officials note that the presence of a tenant in a residence is not usually a deterrent for most residential thieves. A surprising number of burglaries involve thieves using the owner’s keys, normally obtained from an earlier pickpocketing, allowing the burglar access to both the victim’s keys and address. Criminals also have posed as police officers, health officials, and delivery persons to gain entry to homes. The St. Petersburg Prosecutor’s Office identified several vulnerabilities to most residential robberies: poor quality locks and unsecured windows/balcony doors on the first or second floors of residences. The lowest numbers of robberies occurred in residences that use alarm systems, concierges, or other access control methods (videophones).
The threat from cybercrime is acute. Groups in Russia and China are believed to be the source of the majority of the world’s cyberattacks, malicious code, and hacking tools. The risk of infection, compromise, and theft via malware, spam e-mail, sophisticated spear phishing, and social engineering attacks is significant.
The Embassy and Consulates occasionally receive reports of fraud committed against U.S. citizens by Internet correspondents professing romantic interest. Typically, the Russian correspondent asks the U.S. citizen to send money or credit card information for living, travel, or visa expenses. These Internet dating scams typically include the following themes: misrepresentation about the costs and requirements of a U.S. visa; claims that airline tickets must be purchased only in Russia; the use of professional model photos taken from websites; sudden financial hurdles encountered when trying to leave Russia; requests to send money only through a specific company; and a scan of a (usually fraudulent) U.S. visa to prove intent to travel.
For more information, please review OSAC’s Report, “Security in Transit: Airplanes, Public Transport, and Overnights.”
Road Safety and Road Conditions
Very heavy congestion makes driving in St. Petersburg challenging. The large volume of traffic and extreme winter weather conditions lead to continuous road repairs in a city with an aging infrastructure and narrow streets. The number of automobiles on the road places a significant burden on the city’s road and parking infrastructure. While St. Petersburg passed several new ordinances to create some level of parking enforcement in the city center, to include a paid parking regime in the city’s Central District, it provided little overall impact.
Drivers frequently ignore local traffic laws, and accidents are a regular occurrence. Yielding to oncoming traffic or pedestrians and the use of turn signals are inconsistent. In order to avoid even small potholes, drivers commonly make sudden lane changes without signaling or checking other lanes, which frequently results in collisions.
In the Russian Federation, there are strict penalties for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. Given the allowable blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.03, it is possible to be arrested for driving while intoxicated after a single drink. Police conduct random traffic stops and can compel drivers to submit to a sobriety test. A driver’s refusal to submit to the test is treated as an admission of having consumed alcohol. The maximum punishment for drinking and driving is a two-year suspension of the violator’s a driver’s license. An intoxicated driver may also be detained until he or she is sober.
When involved in a traffic accident, travelers should immediately report it to the State Inspectorate for Traffic Security (GIBDD). The GIBDD response to traffic accidents can be slow, but the law requires that the vehicles involved in an accident not be moved until the police arrive. Moving one’s vehicle will result in that driver assuming full responsibility for damages. The only exception is a situation in which vehicles block traffic; in this case the parties involved are required to take photographs from different angles and move the vehicles to a near-by location that does not block traffic.
Public Transportation Conditions
St. Petersburg has an extensive public transportation system of subway, bus, trolley, and streetcar lines. Though the quality and scale of the city’s public transportation system generally is high, travelers are urged to remain vigilant and exercise good judgment and discretion when using any form of public transportation due to the threat from pickpockets, who work buses and trams regularly and are adept at slicing through purses, backpacks, and clothing.
Licensed taxi companies generally provide reliable, safe, and economical services; however, visitors should be alert to the potential for substantial overcharging, particularly in areas frequented by tourists. Higher charges can be expected when hiring a cab that is stopped in the street or is idling at a taxi stand. The cheapest, safest option is to order a cab from a legitimate radio or electronic dispatch taxi service.
The Consulate generally advises visitors to avoid marshrutkas and unlicensed cabs, especially if visitors do not have a strong grasp of local customs and Russian. Foreigners taking unlicensed taxis, particularly from airports and train stations, have been victims of price gouging to assaults and robberies. Criminals using taxis to rob passengers often wait outside bars and restaurants to find passengers who have been drinking and are more susceptible to robbery. Robberies may also occur in taxis shared with strangers; therefore, sharing a taxi ride and splitting the fare with strangers already in the taxi is strongly discouraged.
The safety of air transportation has been a concern although the government has taken steps to replace aging aircraft, increase civil aviation oversight, and strengthen regulatory regimes. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration assessed the government’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization aviation safety standards for oversight of air carrier operations. Several carriers participate in the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Operational Safety Audit program, an industry-sponsored safety audit program. According to the IATA, regulatory oversight and the failure of crews to adhere to standard operating procedures contributed to many commercial aviation incidents.
The U.S. Department of State has assessed St. Petersburg as being a HIGH-threat location for terrorist activity directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests.
Thought there are no indications that U.S. institutions or citizens have been targets of terrorist planning, there is a general risk of U.S. citizens becoming victims of indiscriminate terrorist attacks.
Local, Regional, and International Terrorism Threats/Concerns
The threat from domestic, transnational, and international terrorist groups continues to be a concern for the Russian government, especially in light of the ongoing strife in the North Caucasus and Russia’s involvement in the Syrian civil war. Though a majority of the violence takes place in the Southern Federal District and North Caucasus Federal District, other areas are not immune from the threat. While until recently, the majority of terrorist groups came from the North Caucasus, since 2015 the Russian Federation has also been threatened by outside groups (ISIS).
On April 3, 2017, an explosive device placed in a briefcase detonated in a subway car traveling between the Sennaya Ploshad and Tekhnogolicheskiy Institute stations. Fifteen people died in the attack, with at least 45 others suffering injuries. At the same time, the police defused another explosive device discovered at the Ploshad Vosstaniya station.
In September and November 2017, there were spates of anonymous bomb threats called into a number of major shopping centers, schools, and airports throughout the country, to include in St. Petersburg, that forced authorities to evacuate the buildings. At least some of the threats in September appear to have been tied to the opening of the movie Matilda, which was controversial in religious circles for its depiction of Tsar Nicholas II, a Russian Orthodox saint. No explosive devices were found.
At the end of December 2017, a small bomb exploded in a grocery store in the northern part of St. Petersburg. Though there were no deaths, more than a dozen people were injured. Although ISIS initially claimed responsibility for the explosion, it appears that the suspect indicted by the Russian government for terrorism is likely mentally disturbed and does not have connections to ISIS.
The U.S.-Russian bilateral relationship remains strained due to the conflict in eastern Ukraine and U.S. and European sanctions, generating significant anti-American and anti-Western sentiment. Anti-American and anti-Western rhetoric is widespread in both official media sources and on social media. Despite this, there were no incidents of wide-scale violence targeting U.S citizens.
Right-wing, nationalist, and pro-government activists continue to be active in St. Petersburg with their aim being to use aggressive propaganda and protests to isolate opposition groups, foreign nationals, foreign businesses, and diplomatic organizations from Russian society. Members of the National Liberation Movement, Great Fatherland Party, and the People’s Assembly are at the forefront of those activities. Members of those groups joined with other ultra-nationalist, pro-Kremlin groups to create umbrella movements under the names Shield St. Petersburg and Anti-Maidan St. Petersburg. In the past, the groups harassed Consulate employees, family members, and visitors at events held at the Consul General’s residence by filming them, posting personal information of those filmed online, and calling on members of the community via social media sites to identify so-called enemies of the state, though such incidents did not occur in 2017.
While authorities maintain tight control over protests and the government continues to provide an adequate level of security for U.S. facilities in St. Petersburg, the government’s continued anti-U.S. and anti-EU rhetoric may inspire some elements of society to commit violent acts directed at U.S. citizens.
Political, Economic, Religious, and Ethnic Violence
The U.S. Department of State has assessed St. Petersburg as being a HIGH-threat location for political violence directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests.
Protests most frequently occur in the Central District on or around the Field of Mars, Palace Square, and along Nevskiy Avenue (Prospekt) between Palace Square and the Gostiny Dvor metro station. Legal protests require approval from the authorities in advance, and authorities generally deal with unsanctioned protests harshly. U.S. Embassy Moscow and U.S. Consulate General St. Petersburg monitor protests for their potential impact on the official as well as business communities.
In 2017, a handful of significant opposition rallies organized by a broad spectrum of organizations and parties, most notably Aleksey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, took place in St. Petersburg. In March, June, and October, anti-corruption rallies in the city’s center attracted thousands of participants for each event. The rallies generally were nonviolent, though local police arrested hundreds of participants, as the government considered the rallies to be unsanctioned.
In addition to the anti-corruption rallies, in early 2017, a coalition of opposition groups protested against the transfer of St. Isaac’s Cathedral to the Russian Orthodox Church.
Non-Russian Orthodox Church religious workers continue to encounter negative attitudes from some elements of the population and scrutiny from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Federal Security Service, particularly when engaged in active proselytizing or if religious workers are perceived to be exceeding their visa status. In particular, Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints have been the targets of official harassment. The Russian Supreme Court banned the Jehovah’s Witnesses as an extremist organization in April 2017, and Church of Scientology leaders have been indicted under extremist charges.
During the spring thaw, flooding is possible in many parts of the country, to include the NFD. As St. Petersburg is located on the Neva River, flooding can be a problem, but the city and regional governments have a number of mitigation measures in place.
The Ministry of Emergency Situations regularly posts updates on environmental hazards, including weather-related emergencies, on its webpage. Daily weather forecasts, information on natural disasters, and updates for transportation emergencies are routinely posted on the main site and are pushed to cellular phone networks.
There have been a number of significant industrial accidents in the Russian Federation resulting from inadequate enforcement of safety and health standards. Aging infrastructure and endemic corruption in regulatory bodies contributed to several well-publicized disasters. Fines and facility closures are normally enforced only after an accident.
The Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant, located 40 miles west of St. Petersburg in Sosnovy Bor, has been in operation since 1974 and has periodically reported incidents of potential concern; however, the Russian government reported no incidents associated with radiation leaks from Sosnovy Bor in 2017.
Foreign companies may encounter extortion and corruption in the local business environment. Organized criminal groups target businesses through protection rackets, in which businesses are forced to pay a percentage of their revenue to a krysha (roof). Organized crime groups are not as active in St. Petersburg street-level crime as they were in the 1990s, having moved on to more lucrative and complex rackets (credit card fraud, cybercrime, human/drug trafficking, money laundering, contract fraud).
The Russian Federation continues to struggle with widespread corruption despite high-level, anti-corruption campaigns and efforts to improve the business environment. Business leaders regularly cite corruption and a lack of judicial independence as factors hampering foreign business investment. The Russian Federation has taken positive steps against corruption, including the implementation of mandatory anti-corruption training for public officials, increasing civil servant salaries, and amending the Russian Federal Anti-Corruption Law in January 2013. Under the amendment, all companies are required to establish anti-bribery compliance programs and develop internal anti-corruption policies; however, the inconsistent and often non-transparent application of laws and regulations limit the country’s anti-corruption efforts. The use of anti-corruption laws to target political rivals also degrades the public’s confidence in the country’s adherence to the rule of law.
Security and law enforcement agencies have wide investigative powers to prevent and investigate criminal activity and to collect information on events/actions that pose a threat to national security, in a broadly defined sense. In practice, these powers enable authorities to monitor and seize any forms of electronic communication. The System for Operational-Investigative Activities (SORM) enables authorities to lawfully monitor and record all telephonic and Internet traffic on networks of the Russian Federation. In its current form, all email messages, phone calls, and faxes originating in or entering the Russian Federation may be monitored, analyzed, and stored for up to three years.
Hotel rooms, offices, and vehicles may be monitored onsite or remotely. Personal possessions left in hotel rooms can be searched without the consent or knowledge of the owner. It is not unheard of for foreign visitors to witness individuals associated with the security and intelligence services entering their residences or hotel rooms or to notice that their possessions have been tampered with. While not criminally motivated, such activity may be difficult to discern from criminal activity.
Personal Identity Concerns
The Embassy and Consulates continue to be concerned by the number of attacks against individuals based on their race, ethnic background, or sexual orientation. In particular, assailants target those with non-Slavic appearance or those perceived to be affiliated with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.
Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is widespread, with LGBT individuals, activists, and supporters being targets of harassment and acts of violence. According to Human Rights Watch, Russian authorities use the country’s anti-LGBT propaganda law to disrupt pro-LGBT rights events and harass LGBT people/supporters. The authorities largely fail to prosecute homophobic and transphobic violence. Such crimes are significantly underreported due the victims’ fear of additional harassment.
Local right-wing, nationalist, or racist groups continue to carry out attacks on ethnic minorities, particularly against those from Central Asia or others deemed to be of non-Slavic appearance generally. The Moscow-based SOVA Center reported that as of November 2017, four people were killed and 55 people were injured as a result of racist, xenophobic, and ethnically-motivated attacks in in the Russian Federation in 2017. St. Petersburg, where at least one person was killed and 16 were injured, is consistently among the leading locales for such violence. These statistics only reflect reports made to SOVA; there likely is significant underreporting of this type of crime.
Racism among soccer fans continues to be an issue and is particularly acute in St. Petersburg. Extremist soccer fans regularly display swastikas, Viking runes, and other symbols associated with neo-Nazi groups. At matches involving teams from the North Caucasus or with players from that region, fans have displayed anti-Caucasian artwork and used xenophobic slogans and insults, occasionally assaulting ethnic minorities.
Although the government has embarked on a police reform effort, an institutional transformation into something comparable to Western standards is ongoing. Low salaries combined with high costs of living and an over-emphasis on quickly closing cases contributes to widespread police corruption. The professionalism and responsiveness of local law enforcement in St. Petersburg is generally above average; however, individual assessments can differ depending on the particular unit or jurisdictions involved. Due to bureaucratic disincentives, police officers are often hesitant to take reports or open cases if the likelihood of quickly solving the case is low.
Rigorous searches of baggage and strict enforcement of customs regulations against the exportation of items of cultural value occasionally result in the arrest of U.S. citizens, despite the fact that the travelers believed that the items were legally purchased from licensed vendors. Any article that the Customs Service believes has cultural value (artwork, icons, samovars, rugs, military medals, antiques) must have a certificate indicating that it has no historical/cultural value. Where certificates are required, they may be obtained from the Ministry of Culture. Individuals also are detained or arrested for possession of World War II era weapons, ammunition, or unexploded ordinance. Travelers should obtain receipts for all high-value items, including caviar.
Unsanctioned work in research and data collection (mapping natural resources to support commercial/scientific interests) can result in the seizure of equipment and the arrest of the parties involved if authorities decide, often rather broadly, that national security was compromised. Similarly, scholars conducting academic research, particularly at government archives, have been deported when found to be conducting research while in the country on a tourist visa or when researching politically sensitive topics. Likewise, students who attempt to work unofficially (even teaching English) have been detained, fined, and deported.
How to Handle Incidents of Police Detention or Harassment
Police do not need to show probable cause in order to stop, question, or detain individuals. Travelers stopped by police officers for routine identification checks should remain courteous. Though Consulate General St. Petersburg receives fewer reports from U.S. citizens of harassment or unprofessional behavior by police, visitors should be aware that the practice of ethnic profiling is common. Police often target minorities from Central Asia and the North Caucasus, justifying their actions by pointing to the large number of illegal migrants from those areas. Individuals of African descent are also subject to profiling. It is especially common to see increased profiling after terrorist incidents or threats.
If a police officer behaves unprofessionally, travelers should obtain the officer’s name, badge number, and patrol car number, and note where the incident happened. This information will assist officials in responding to the harassment, if necessary.
Report all incidents of police detention or harassment to the consulate’s American Citizen Services office at +7 (812) 331-2600 during working hours or after-hours/weekends at +7 921 939 5794. Consulate General St. Petersburg does not recommend the payment of bribes in any circumstance.
Crime Victim Assistance
Due to the limited number of English-speaking police officers, travelers lacking strong Russian skills may have frustrating interactions with the police. The police try to provide English-speakers when possible, but travelers should not assume that one would be available. Accordingly, travelers are encouraged to find a friend or colleague who can assist with translating.
If police assistance is required in St. Petersburg, travelers should call the following numbers within the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD):
Fire Department/Emergency Management: 112 / +7 (812) 299-99-99
Police Emergency Number: 102 / +7 (812) 573-21-81
Traffic Police: 102
City Police: +7 (812) 573-26-76
Crimes against Foreigners Task Force: +7 (812) 764-97-87
Criminal Investigative Division: +7 (812) 573-21-77
MVD Economic Crimes /Anti-Corruption Division: +7 (812) 573-31-76
Lost and Found: +7 (812) 578-36-90
City Tourism Information Office: +7 (812) 310-28-22
City Tourist Helpline: +7 (812) 300-33-33 / 0333
For local first responders, please refer to the Embassy’s Emergency Assistance page.
All major federal law enforcement agencies are represented in St. Petersburg or at least in the NFD. The Federal Security Service is the premier domestic law enforcement agency in the Russian Federation.
The agency primarily responsible for ensuring public order and investigating everyday crimes is the police of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The working uniform of the police is dark blue with the word Полиция (police) across the back and a police patch on the shoulder. In the summer, the police may be seen in light blue shirts and dark blue pants. In general, the public order police can be distinguished from the traffic police by the color of the band on their uniform hats; the former have a red band while the latter have a blue-gray band.
Medical care can be expensive, difficult to obtain, and may not be comprehensive. Some facilities offer quality services, but many restrict services to normal business hours and to people willing to pay for medication, x-rays, and medical supplies in advance.
The Russian national medical system provides emergency care that while free often ranges in quality from poor to mediocre. Nursing care is not at the level to which most U.S. citizens are accustomed, and patients may need to make their own arrangements for food, clean sheets, and clothing.
Pharmacies are widespread and frequently offer 24-hour service, although the English language ability of the staff may be limited. The Consulate has noted periodic shortages of some types of imported medicine. Occasionally, some pharmacies sell counterfeit medication, especially more expensive brands, so travelers should exercise caution when purchasing medication. Whenever possible, travelers are advised to bring necessary medication with them or have it shipped from the U.S. That said, U.S. travelers sometimes have problems bringing prescription medication into the Russian Federation, even when accompanied by a doctor’s prescription. As pain management remains poorly addressed in the Russian medical sector, many types of opiate and opioid medications used as painkillers in the U.S. are illegal or not available in the Russian Federation. For more information, please refer to OSAC’s Report, “Traveling with Medications.”
Contact Information for Available Medical Services
For medical assistance, please refer to the Embassy’s Medical Assistance page.
Medical evacuation is expensive, costing anywhere from $4,000 to $30,000. Consulate General St. Petersburg strongly urges travelers to purchase overseas medical insurance that includes coverage for hospitalization and medical evacuation. The U.S. Social Security Medicare Program does not provide coverage for hospital or medical costs in Russia.
The acceptance of insurance in lieu of an advanced payment is rare. Most U.S. patients pay in cash and apply for reimbursement from their insurance companies upon their return to the U.S.
Country-specific Vaccination and Health Guidance
The CDC offers additional information on vaccines and health guidance for Russia.
OSAC Country Council Information
There is no active OSAC Country Council in St. Petersburg. Interested private-sector security managers should contact OSAC’s Europe Team with any questions.
U.S. Consulate General Location and Contact Information
Consulate General Address and Hours of Operation
U.S. Consulate General
Furshtatskaya ulitsa, 15
St. Petersburg, Russia, 191028
Business hours: Mon-Fri, 0900-1730
Consulate General Contact Numbers
American Citizen Services: +7-812-331-2620
After Hours Duty Officer: +7 812 939-5794
Embassy Moscow: https://ru.usembassy.gov/
Consulate General Vladivostok: https://ru.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulates/vladivostok/
Consulate General Yekaterinburg: https://ru.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulates/yekaterinburg/
Consulate General Guidance
U.S. citizens traveling to Russia should register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to ensure they receive pertinent security updates and notices.
When completing a visa application, it is imperative for travelers to list all areas in the Russian Federation that they intend to visit, as there are several closed cities and regions in Russia, including in the NFD. Travelers should check with their sponsor, hotel, or the nearest office of the Migration Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs before traveling to unfamiliar cities and towns. Travelers can be fined, arrested, or both if they enter a restricted area.
The Consulate continues to receive reports of U.S. citizens being detained by the Migration Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for purportedly entering the Russian Federation on the wrong type of visa or failing to register properly with police or immigration officials upon arrival. The people who were detained faced legal repercussions based on a liberal interpretation of immigration laws. In some instances, it was not clear which type of visa was appropriate for certain activities.
Russia Country Information Sheet