Russian customs. Rules and recommendations.
When you arrive in the Russian Federation, you have the option of completing a Customs Declaration. Below is an outline of the customs regulations for travelers entering and exiting the Russian Federation. Particular attention should be paid to the regulations on currency, antiques and art, and caviar (travelers may export no more than 250g per person). These are the areas most likely to cause problems. For a full list of regulations and any recent changes, check the official site of the Federal Customs Service here. While customs officials at airports are almost certain to be honest and fair, there is a small chance that travelers crossing land borders may encounter less reasonable treatment. If you feel that a customs official is unfairly demanding a fine – by claiming your laptop is intended for commercial activity or your flea-market bust of Lenin is an object of cultural importance – you should politely ask for someone who speaks English. Insist on obtaining a receipt for any fine you have to pay, and generally drag out the process for as long as possible without handing over any money. Nine times of ten, this will be the end of the matter.
Items to declare importing or exporting:
- You are entitled to import/export up to $10000 USD in cash into Russia, but sums over $3000 should be declared at customs. This applies to all foreign currencies and to rubles, with the exact quantities varying slightly from currency to currency. The most important reason for doing this (apart from your legal obligation) is to ensure that you will be able to take your money out of the country unimpeded. If you try to leave Russia with more than $3000 in cash and no stamped customs declaration, you are likely to run into difficulties unless you have official documentation proving that the money has legally been earned by you in Russia.
- Individuals (17 years or over) are allowed to import/export up to 100 cigars, 200 cigarillos, 400 cigarettes, or 0.5kg of tobacco undeclared (if you wish to import/export more than one type of tobacco product, those allowances are halved).
- Individuals (21 years or over) are allowed to import/export up to two liters of alcoholic drinks undeclared.
- Individuals are allowed to import/export 250g of caviar (sturgeon roe) undeclared, provided it is packed in a sealed factory tin.
The following items are subject to mandatory declaration and you must obtain permission from particular departments of Russian government if you wish to carry them across Russian borders:
- Firearms, ammunition and explosives
- Endangered species of flora and fauna
- Precious metals and precious stones (Except as part of personal jewelery)
- Radio technology (Excepting cellphones, but including GPS systems and any equipment operated at frequencies higher than 9Hz)
- Objects of cultural significance (This broad category refers to any item that is of unique importance culturally, artistically, scientifically, or historically. It includes anything manufactured over 100 years ago, rare books, rare stamps, rare scientific specimens, rare musical instruments, rare coins, elements or fragments from historic monuments, and significant artworks and icons. It does not include mass-produced souvenirs or common memorabilia. If you are buying anything that might fall into this category during your stay in Russia, it is recommended that you ask the vendor to complete the necessary paperwork for you. )
For importing equipment we recommend using the ATA carnet.
ATA Carnet is an international customs document that replaces the customs declaration for the short-term, duty-free exportation of goods with their following re-importation. Using ATA Carnet quickens and simplifies the customs procedures. The ATA Carnet system was developed by the World Customs Organization in the 1960s according to international customs conventions. National chambers of commerce usually act as the issuers and guarantors for ATA Carnets. The ATA Carnet system has functioned in Russia since 2000. ATA Carnet is commonly used for the temporary export of commercial samples, tools, measuring equipment, and certain other categories of goods. It is often associated with international exhibition activities. For goods temporarily imported to Russia from the U.S. using the ATA Carnet procedure, the customs clearance process is reduced to the presentation of this document to the customs office. No customs duties, bails, or banking guarantees need to be paid, because the ATA Carnet itself serves as an international guarantee.
Our fixers will help you to follow the customs procedures in Moscow or Saint Petersburg. More recommendations about the carnet ATA procedures can be found on this page.
Please contact us to get customs support for your project.
Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation www.tpprf.ru/en