- Normal precautions
- High degree of caution
- Avoid non-essential travel
- Do not travel
- Safety and Security
- Local Laws and Customs
- Additional Information
- Embassy Contact
General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation
Do not Travel
Latest Travel Alert
The Department of Foreign Affairs is recommending against all travel to the Russian Federation until further notice.
Irish citizens who are in Russia are advised to carefully consider the necessity of their continued stay in Russia. The Embassy of Ireland in Moscow strongly recommends all Irish citizens to have plans in place to leave Russia, should their own circumstances deteriorate. Due to staff reductions following Diplomatic Expulsions ordered by the Russian Government, the Embassy has significantly fewer resources to assist in a crisis.Irish citizens should not rely on the possibility of an organised evacuation occurring in the event of a crisis, and should instead have their own plans for departure in place.
Information on current departure options from Russia is below. The Embassy strongly recommends Irish Citizens research their options for departure both via an air route from Russia, and a land crossing into EU neighbouring states. The Embassy notes that as the situation in Russia becomes more volatile, air routes can very quickly be booked out or become unavailable.
Irish citizens resident in Russia who have not already done so are strongly recommended to register with the Embassy using the Department’s Citizens' Registration Facility. This is the way that the Embassy communicates with the Irish community to share information and updates.
While normal operating hours continue in both the Visa office and Embassy, citizens should be aware of significant delays in processing documentation, including passports. This is due both to reduced staffing in the Embassy and ongoing difficulties in international post and shipping.
Citizens should also be mindful of the reduced ability of the Embassy to provide support in crisis scenarios, particularly for citizens situated far from Moscow.
If you have a query or need to make an appointment please contact the Embassy by emailing email@example.com
If you have a query regarding visas, please email IrishVisaMoscow@dfanet.ie
EU Sanctions and Effects on Business
Since the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the EU has introduced the most extensive restrictive measures (sanctions) in its history. These sanctions include measures targeting specific sectors, including the financial, energy, technology, defence, media and transport sectors, as well as individual measures targeting named persons and entities. EU restrictive measures are legally binding on all natural and legal persons in Ireland and the EU. EU Council Regulations have direct effect, and must therefore be complied with in the same way as domestic Irish legislation. In Ireland, it is a criminal offence to contravene EU sanctions.
All persons and entities considering doing business with Russian entities or travelling to Russia should ensure that their activities do not contravene EU sanctions, including the sanctions introduced since February 2022. Detailed information on sanctions in respect of the situation in Ukraine is available here. The EU Sanctions Map has information on all EU Sanctions Regimes in effect, as well as lists of the individuals and entities sanctioned under each Regime, and links to the EU legal acts for each Regime. A consolidated list of persons, groups and entities subject to EU financial sanctions is available here.
Mass Gatherings and Arbitrary Detention
Irish citizens in Russia should be vigilant about their own safety and avoid mass gatherings, including protests or demonstrations. Please also be aware that new laws that affect media freedom of expression can be used to impose severe and arbitrary sentences of up to 15 years in prison. Irish citizens should be mindful this includes posting or sharing banned content on social media.
Banking Restrictions in Russia
Irish citizens in Russia should be mindful that increasingly severe limitations on banking, including the withdrawal of Visa and Mastercard services, may directly affect their ability to access their money for the foreseeable future. Any citizens who have made the decision to travel to Russia should ensure they have adequate cash supplies for their stay and for emergencies, if they do not have a source of funding within Russia.
Transport Routes Out of Russia
There are severely limited or no flight routes directly to the EU. Citizens wishing to return to Ireland via air are advised to book flights via Istanbul, Dubai, or Abu Dhabi.
Citizens intending to travel through these countries to Ireland should consult the Department’s Travel Advice in advance:
Unfortunately, it is not possible to predict when direct flight routes to EU countries will resume.
Options also exist for overland departure from the Russian Federation.
The Department is aware of a bus route from St. Petersburg, to Tallinn in Estonia that may of interest to Irish citizens. Details of this route can be found here:
Citizens intending on taking overland routes to neighbouring EU countries should check the travel advice for those countries before booking tickets (www.dfa.ie/travel) and ensure they comply with entry requirements including with regard to COVID-19.
Citizens in Ukraine
If you are an Irish national inside Ukraine, please register your details here and monitor the travel advice, which is updated regularly:
Travel to the Russian Federation
The Russian Government has introduced a number of preventative measures and travel restrictions to limit the spread of COVID-19 within its borders. These measures are regularly updated and are subject to change at short notice. We recommend all inbound passengers to check regularly with their travel agent and/or airline, and to check the website of the Russian Embassy in Dublin to make sure they have the most up to date information.
All foreign citizens arriving in Russia at present (including transit passengers) are required to present a medical certificate indicating that they have tested negative for COVID-19 within the past 48 hours. The test must be PCR test and the certificate must be in English or Russian with the time and date of the test clearly shown. Foreign citizens are also required to complete a special passenger locator form during their flight as a condition of entry. Foreign citizens can also be requested to undergo random COVID-19 testing at the airport on arrival in Russia.
General Travel Advice
Irish citizens travelling to Russia are advised to respect the validity of their Russian visa. A visa over-stay of even a few hours can have serious consequences potentially involving a court appearance, fine, and travel ban of up to 5 years.
A short-stay e-visa system (maximum 8 days) was introduced for nationals of 53 countries, including Ireland, wishing to travel to Saint Petersburg and its region https://electronic-visa.kdmid.ru/spb_home_en.html. Irish citizens should take note that these visas are only valid for travel to and within the St. Petersburg (Leningrad Oblast) region and are not valid for travel to the rest of Russia.
A similar system of electronic visas has been introduced for the Kaliningrad region http://electronic-visa.kdmid.ru/klgd_home_en.html.
These additional visa programmes may be affected by the overall approach by the Russian Government to COVID-19 prevention.
Irish citizens should ensure that the name on their visa exactly matches the one in their passport. Even a minor difference in spelling will result in entry to Russia being refused. The Embassy has no ability to assist in such cases.
For information relating to Ukraine, please visit the Department's Travel Advice. The Embassy strongly advises against all travel to regions bordering Ukraine, due to the active conflict.
Given the volatile security situation in the North Caucasus, we strongly advise against all travel to Chechnya, Ingushetia, Dagestan and to the eastern and southern parts of Stavropol Krai bordering Chechnya and Dagestan, including the Budyonnovsky, Levkumsky, Neftekumsky, Stepnovsky and Kursky regions.
We also advise against all but essential travel to North Ossetia, Karachai-Cherkessia and Kabardino-Balkaria (including the Elbrus region). Terrorism and kidnapping are a risk in these areas.
You can contact the emergency services in the Russian Federation by dialling 112.
Any Irish citizens normally resident in Ireland who are seeking assistance travelling home should contact the embassy.
Irish citizens resident in Russia who have not already done so are recommended to register with the embassy using the Department’s travel registration facility.
Safety and Security
Safety and Security
Safety and security
The vast majority of visits to the Russian Federation go smoothly. However, you should be vigilant at all times and also watch out for pickpockets and street crime, especially in large cities.
- You must carry your passport and migration card at all times in the Russian Federation. We would advise you to keep your passport in a safe place on your person, and not to leave it in jacket pockets or in handbags and / or backpacks in case of theft. You should also leave a copy of your passport, visa, and travel and insurance documents with family or friends at home.
- If you are stopped by police officers, always insist on seeing ID.
- Racially-motivated attacks by racist groups do occur in the Russian Federation. If you're of Asian, Afro-Caribbean or Southern European descent, we advise you to take extra care.
- Avoid openly carrying expensive items, or anything that might easily identify you as a tourist. Don't show large sums of money in public and don't use ATMs after dark, especially if you are alone. Check no one has followed you after conducting your business.
- Keep a close eye on your personal belongings and hold on to them in public places such as internet cafes, train and bus stations. Busy areas, such as railway concourses, particularly in St Petersburg, are used by thieves, who specifically target tourists.
- Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways, arrange to be picked up or dropped off as close to your hotel or apartment entrance as possible.
- Drink-spiking leading to robbery, violence and/or abuse does happen. Unconscious victims are often left outside, which can be life threatening in the winter months. Buy your own drinks and keep sight of them at all times.
Reporting a crime
If you're a victim of a crime while in the Russian Federation, report it to the local police immediately. And you can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Moscow if you need help.
There is a threat from terrorism in the Russian Federation, including suicide bombings in public places so be cautious and vigilant in public places. On 3 April 2017, a suicide attack on the St Petersburg metro resulted in 15 deaths and many injuries.
Political unrest and demonstrations
Political rallies, protests, and demonstrations can occur in Russia and have the potential to turn violent. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings and monitor local media.
Photographing of any military installation, establishment or site of strategic importance is prohibited; this includes airports and metro stations. People who don't observe this rule are likely to have their cameras confiscated, be detained for questioning and possibly arrested.
Local Laws and Customs
Local Laws and Customs
Local laws and customs
Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or even illegal.
Illegal drug use (no matter what the drug) carries stiff penalties, including long prison terms for possession of drugs.
Homosexuality is legal in the Russian Federation, but there is still a degree of intolerance among some sections of the population; be careful about public displays of affection. A law banning the promotion of “non-traditional sexual relations” entered into force in June 2013; it is unclear how this law will be applied, but it includes tougher penalties for non-Russians including arrest, fines and deportation.
You can import up to 10,000 US dollars (or equivalent) into the country and export foreign currency up to the equivalent of 10,000 US dollars from the Russian Federation without declaring it.
If you complete a declaration make sure the form is stamped by a Customs official at your port of entry, otherwise your foreign currency and non-declared items may be confiscated when you leave the Russian Federation and you may be fined.
There are strict regulations governing the export from the Russian Federation of antiques, icons, medals, artwork and other items of historical significance. This includes modern art and even posters if they are particularly rare or valuable. You must get approval from the Ministry of Culture.
For further information visit the website of the Russian Federal Customs Service.
Legislation came into force on 4 August 2014 regarding Russian nationals who are also citizens of other countries. Russian passport holders must inform the Russian authorities of the other passports they hold. If you hold both Irish and Russian citizenship you should take legal advice and/ or contact the relevant Russian authority (the nearest Russian Embassy if you are not in the Russian Federation or your local Migration office if you are in the Russian Federation) to find out how the legislation might impact you.
Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months after the expiry date of your visa.
If you’re planning to drive in the Russian Federation, you should be extremely careful. The harsh winter from November to March can make road conditions very difficult, particularly outside towns and cities.
If you want to drive:
- Bring your full Irish driving license and international driving permit, and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law and you risk being detained, fined or banned from driving if caught. There is a zero tolerance policy on drink-driving in the Russian Federation
- Be aware of the Russian Federation’s traffic laws, such as speed limits
- Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags kept out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag-snatching if you’re stopped at traffic lights
Hiring a vehicle
If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.
Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).
During the harsh winter months pavements can become extremely icy so good walking shoes are essential.
If you want to travel by taxi while in the Russian Federation, we advise you to book an official taxi service through your hotel and agree on the price of the journey in advance.
If you intend to travel to or within the Russian Federation, avoid travelling on airlines that fall under the EU operating ban.
We can’t pay for emergency medical repatriation, repatriation of remains, or for expenses as a result of a personal emergency while you are abroad. If you buy an appropriate travel insurance policy, these costs will be covered, provided you haven’t broken the terms and conditions.
Buying comprehensive travel insurance can save you and your family a lot of money if something goes wrong. It will also ensure that you get the medical attention you need, when you need it. Hospital bills can quickly run into thousands of euro, and a medical evacuation back to Ireland can cost thousands more.
Not all policies are the same, and the cheapest one might be cheap for a reason. Make sure your policy covers all the activities you plan to do on your trip. Insurance Ireland recommend that you purchase a policy that provides a minimum medical cover of €1 million.
Your policy should cover:
- All medical care abroad, including evacuation by air ambulance, or other emergency procedures, and any other costs associated with an unexpected longer stay.
- Your entire trip, from departure to return. Consider an annual multi-trip policy if you’re making more than one trip in the year.
- 24-hour emergency service and assistance.
- Personal liability cover (in case you’re sued for causing injury or damaging property).
- Lost and stolen possessions.
- Cancellation and curtailment.
- Any extra activities you intend to do that are excluded from standard policies (e.g. water sport activities such as jet skiing or other extreme sports).
Exclusions: You should know most insurance policies will not cover drink or drug-related incidents.
Irish citizens require a visa to enter the Russian Federation. Those who do not comply with Russian visa laws can be subject to arrest, fines, and/or deportation. Russian authorities will not allow an Irish citizen with an expired visa to depart the country, effectively obliging the person to remain in the Russian Federation at their own expense until local authorities grant an exit visa. It should be noted that the ability of the Embassy to intervene in such cases is extremely limited. It is very important that all Irish citizens travelling to the Russian Federation carefully check the validity of their visa, and pay particular attention to the expiry date, as it can differ from the dates of travel indicated in your visa application.
You’ll usually be asked to complete a migration card on the plane before you arrive in the Russian Federation. Alternatively, you may be asked to complete a migration card on reaching Passport Control at some airports.
One part of the card is submitted to Immigration on arrival and you must keep the other part of the card for the duration of your stay in the Russian Federation – you’ll need to show it when checking into hotels, when departing the Russian Federation and/or if asked for proof of identity by the police.
You must complete a new migration card each time you enter the Russian Federation, even if you have a multi-entry visa. Losing your migration card could delay your departure from the Russian Federation and you may be fined.
You must also register your presence in the Russian Federation if you’re staying for more than seven days. If staying in a hotel, the hotel should organise this for you. If staying privately, you must be registered by the owner of the property at the nearest branch of the Federal Migration Service (FMS).
You must have your passport and migration card with you at all times while in the Russian Federation.
You can get more information on entry/exit requirements and immigration information for the Russian Federation, please contact the Embassy of the Russian Federation to Ireland.
Tap water is not drinkable throughout the Russian Federation but bottled mineral water is widely available.
The rouble is the unit of currency in the Russian Federation. If you want to buy roubles in the country, we advise that you take euro or US dollars to change. Please note:
- All notes should be in good condition
- You should only change money at banks, hotels and recognised exchange kiosks
- You will need to show your passport and visa to change money
- It is an offence to change money from street traders
- It is illegal to pay directly with dollars or euro
- Most hotels, restaurants and larger shops accept credit cards, but smaller shops do not. ATMs exist in most major cities
- Travellers’ cheques are not widely accepted
The Embassy operates an out-of-hours service for Irish citizens requiring emergency assistance. If you are in need of emergency assistance, please ring the Embassy Duty Officer at +7 495 937 5911
Embassy of Ireland to the Russian Federation
Grokholski Perulok 5
Monday to Friday 09:30-13:00 and 14:30-17:30
Get travel and medical insurance
Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.