Entry and Exit
Passports and Visas:
Singaporeans are required to obtain a visa before travelling to Russia. Visitors should ensure that they apply for the correct type and duration of visa. Visitors should apply for visas well in advance during peak travel periods. Singaporeans are advised to check the details listed on the visa, particularly the validity dates and passport number, upon receipt. Passports must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of expected departure.
Business travellers who are holders of APEC travel cards with “RUS” printed on the reverse side may travel to Russia visa-free for up 90 days in each 180-day period.
Travellers arriving by cruise ships that dock for less than 72 hours in St. Petersburg (and some other port cities) may be allowed to enter Russia visa-free if they are part of a tour organised by the cruise operator or registered tour operator. Please check with your cruise operator on whether you need to obtain a Russian visa.
Singaporeans visiting the Far Eastern Federal District or Kaliningrad Region may be eligible for an e-visa. E-visas are issued free of charge and allows the visa holder to stay in Russia for up to 8 days from the date of entry. Please refer to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website for more details.
Visitors departing Russia by train, particularly those embarking on overnight journeys, should ensure that their visa is still valid when the train crosses the border.
As visa requirements often change at short notice, we advise you to contact your travel agency, or the Russian Visa Application Centre in Singapore (VFS Global), or the nearest Embassy of Russia for up-to-date information.
Visitors are required to sign on a migration card, which is produced electronically at passport control in major Russian airports. The migration card comes in two identical parts. One part will be retained by the immigration officer upon arrival. The other part will be given to the foreigner for retention. This part will need to be produced to border officials upon departure.
There are many hotels and hostels that will not check in guests who are unable to produce a migration card. Visitors who lose their migration card should seek assistance from their hotel/host to obtain a replacement from the nearest federal migration service office. Visitors who cannot produce a valid migration card upon departure may experience delays in leaving Russia.
All foreigners are required to register with the Russian authorities within 7 working days of arrival. Most major hotels will do this for you automatically, but you should confirm with staff that this has been done. For those staying in private accommodation (e.g. airbnb), your host must do this for you. Failure to register may result in a fine and problems when trying to leave or re-enter Russia in the future. If you are visiting multiple destinations within Russia, you should register your arrival at each destination.
The local authorities take a firm stance on foreigners who over-stay their visas. Those that do so without valid reasons will experience issues, including fines, detention and deportation when trying to leave Russia. Under Russian law, the visitor’s sponsor must apply for an exit visa on their behalf. Over-stayers will also find it challenging to secure accommodation, as most hotels and hostels will not accept guests without valid visas.
Travel between Russia and Belarus:
Foreigners are not permitted to cross the land border between Russia and Belarus. If you are planning to enter Russia by road from Belarus or vice-versa, you should take an alternate route through a third country. Singaporeans flying into Russia from Belarus or vice-versa are subject to immigration control. If you are transiting through Russia when flying into Belarus or transiting through Belarus when flying into Russia, please contact the nearest Russian or Belarusian Embassy/Consulate to check if a transit visa is required. If you are planning on travelling by rail between the two countries, please contact your train or tour operator when making your booking to seek their advice. You may also approach your nearest Russian or Belarusian Embassy/Consulate for the latest information.
Safety and Security
The following advice applies to travellers visiting common tourist destinations within Russia (e.g. Moscow, St Petersburg, Ekaterinburg, Ulan-Ude, Vladivostok, etc.). Singaporeans may approach the Singapore Embassy in Moscow for specific advice if you are travelling to a remote region of Russia.
Public demonstrations and rallies may occasionally occur in large cities across Russia. Travellers are encouraged to avoid areas around protests and demonstrations. If you encounter a demonstration, exercise caution, leave the area as soon as possible, and check the local media for updates on the situation and traffic.
Driving in Russia:
Road conditions are often challenging outside of major cities and traffic regulations are not always adhered to. In winter, road travel can be hazardous due to ice and snow. Motorists should ensure that they have all the necessary documents to drive legally in Russia as traffic police may stop vehicles for spot checks. Please check with your car rental company for the most up to date requirements. An international driving permit is recommended.
Russia has a zero-tolerance policy for driving under the influence of alcohol. Those found to guilty of drink-driving can expect heavy fines, suspension of their driving permit and immediate detention.
As a number of Singaporean nationals have been victims of fraud, please exercise caution when using a dating service and be wary of sending money to unknown recipients.
Parts of Russia periodically experience seismic or volcanic activity. There are occasional occurrences of flooding in the Southern regions and forest fires may occur in Siberia and the Far Eastern areas in the summer. The air quality in areas near active fires may deteriorate and affect those with respiratory ailments.
In major cities like Moscow, petty crimes like purse snatchings, and pick-pockets, most commonly occur in crowded areas and transport hubs. Travellers should also be alert to theft from unattended vehicles and from hotel rooms.
Use only registered taxis and do not share a taxi with a stranger. Where possible, ask your hotel to order a taxi for you.
We advise Singaporeans to adhere to local laws during their stay in Russia. Singaporeans are subject to all local laws and penalties. Singaporeans are advised to research local laws prior to arrival, especially for extended stays. Listed below are some offences under Russian law that travellers should be aware of:
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
Foreigners are required to carry their original passport, entry and exit visa and registered migration card with them at all times as police officers do conduct identity checks in public places. A copy is not sufficient.
Russian federal law prohibits public actions that promote homosexuality and non-traditional sexual relations. Public actions that contravene this law may lead to an arrest, fine or deportation.
Photographing any military establishment or site of strategic importance is banned.
Religious activity is regulated in Russia. Foreigners visiting Russia for missionary work or to engage in a religious activity should make sure they are not inadvertently violating local laws.
There are strict regulations covering the exports of antiques, artworks and items of historical/cultural significance. Export permits from the Russian Ministry of Culture are required to export such materials and each item must be declared at the point of departure. Permits cannot be issued at the airport and must be obtained in advance. Attempting to export such items without the relevant paperwork is a serious offence.
Most money changers in Russia do not accept Singapore dollars. If you plan to buy roubles (RUB) in Russia, please bring along new US dollars or Euros. Foreigners may be required to present their passport when exchanging money at banks, hotels and money changers. It is illegal to pay for general transactions with foreign currency.
As with most countries, Russia has restrictions on the amount of money and types of goods that may be imported and exported. Foreigners may import and export foreign currency of up to 10,000 US dollars (or equivalent) without declaring it. A customs declaration should be made if you exceed this limit. Russian authorities require travellers to declare certain categories of goods such as antiques and valuable musical instruments. If you make a declaration, please ensure that it is stamped by the Customs official at your port of entry, otherwise your foreign currency and non-declared items may be confiscated when you leave Russia.
Most staff at Russian state hospitals do not speak English. A few international clinics catering to foreigners are available in larger cities, but services are costly and they usually require cash payment or proof of insurance upon admission.
General Travel Advice
Overseas Travel – Be Informed & Be Safe [13 November 2019]
In view of the upcoming school holidays, Singaporeans planning overseas travel are reminded to take the necessary precautions, including being prepared to deal with accidents, natural disasters or terrorist attacks. Singaporeans are also reminded to be familiar with your destination’s local laws and customs restrictions, including immigration procedures and entry requirements.
Singaporeans travelling to and from Malaysia, in particular via the land checkpoints, are reminded to ensure that your passport is presented to a Malaysian immigration officer and stamped correctly before leaving the Malaysian immigration booth. Failure to do so is an immigration offence in Malaysia and the penalties can be severe, including detention, a fine, and a ban from future entry into the country.
In 2019, demonstrations have occurred in several major cities across the world. Such demonstrations can sometimes escalate into violence. It is important for Singaporeans to keep abreast of local news, avoid any protests or demonstrations and heed the advice of the local authorities.
When participating in outdoor leisure activities overseas, Singaporeans should be mindful that certain sporting activities, especially in open seas, may carry risks. Besides ensuring that one has the physical competencies and appropriate condition to undertake the activity, every effort should be made to ascertain if the trip organiser or guide is reliable and competent, and that appropriate safety and contingency plans are in place. When in doubt, Singaporeans should consult the relevant professional bodies or sporting associations for specific advice.
For those planning to travel, here are some tips:
· Familiarise yourself with our network of overseas missions.
· Purchase comprehensive travel insurance and be familiar with the terms and coverage.
· Equip yourself with research about your destination’s entry requirements, current situation, local laws and customs.
· eRegister with us on our website (https://www.mfa.gov.sg) so that we may reach out to you during an emergency.
· Always take care of your personal safety, remain vigilant and monitor local weather news, advisories, and security developments.
· Exercise caution around large gatherings and avoid locations known for demonstrations or disturbances.
· Be prepared for possible delays and last-minute changes in travel plans especially during unforeseen events such as natural disasters, social unrests or terror attacks.
· Stay connected with your friends and family. Inform them of your whereabouts and provide them with your overseas contact details.
In the event that you require consular assistance, please contact the nearest Singapore Overseas Mission or call the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Duty Office at +65 6379 8800/+65 6379 8855.
Advisory: Email Scams [Updated: 12 May 2016]
There has been an increasing number of reports in recent years of individuals receiving scam emails purportedly sent from friends in distress overseas. These emails typically originate from an email address known to the receiver bearing claims of the sender getting into trouble overseas and urgently requesting financial assistance. The sender would also claim to have approached a Singapore Embassy/Consulate and the local Police for help to no avail.
MFA takes the safety of all Singaporeans very seriously. Singaporeans in distress approaching our Overseas Missions for assistance will be rendered with all necessary consular assistance. If you receive such emails from purported friends seeking funds transfers, we strongly advise you to call them first to verify the authenticity of the emails before responding to their request. It is also not advisable to give out any personal information such as NRIC/passport nos., address, telephone number, etc. Any form of reply, even one of non-interest, could result in more unsolicited emails. Members of the public who suspect that they have fallen prey to such scams should report the matter to the Police immediately. Should Singaporeans abroad require consular assistance, they can contact the nearest Mission or call the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 24-hr Duty Office at +65 6379 8800/+65 6379 8855.