Customs procedures and requirements for filming in Russia

Bringing filming equipment to Russia using the Carnet ATA

It is advisable to use a carnet ATA if you plan on bringing your filming equipment instead of renting it locally. This document can be used with any kind of visa. While it is recommended to have a business or journalist visa as you may be asked about the purpose of your visit, our fixers in major Russian cities can assist with customs clearance even if you only have a tourist visa. They are available in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Irkutsk, Krasnoyarsk, and Yekaterinburg and will ensure that the process of getting through customs with your equipment goes smoothly.

Customs procedures upon arrival to Russia

Very important: the goods that were brought to Russia have to be cleared at the customs office that is situated in the city where you first enter the country. E.g if you plan to film in lake Baikal in Siberia and you fly having a connection flight via Moscow to Irkutsk – you have to undertake the customs procedure in Moscow. Consequently, you will have to get all the luggage that is part of the carnet and bring it to the customs. Please pay attention and double-check that your connection is not shorter than 2.5 hours.

It’s highly recommended to have with you a USB flash drive with the photos of the content of the bags as well as a translation to Russian of the carnet contents. As a result, the customs procedure will take less time. If you send us the list of your equipment – we will help you to translate it into Russian

Airport guide: Where to find the customs in Moscow and Saint Petersburg?

If you are entering Russia via a SVO (Sheremetyevo) airport – for stamping the carnet upon arrival you will have to undertake a small quest. First, you will have to find your way from the arrival zone to the departure zone and you will find the customs desk in a corner of Terminal D (see attached scheme).

Second – after you get the carnet stamped you have to go back to the arrival zone, to knock to the red corridor doors and to show that you have the carnet stamped. After completing this procedure your equipment will officially be in Russia.

Arriving in DME (Domodedovo Airport) is much easier for bringing the carnet into the country.

You will be directly guided through the procedure at the red channel and you won’t have to go anywhere upon arrival.

LED (Pulkovo) in Saint Petersburg is also quite straightforward with the procedure. Just head to the red channel.

It’s highly recommended to have someone Russian-speaking waiting for you at the arrival zone, as sometimes the customs officers may not be English-speaking. If one of the bags that is part of the carnet is lost or there’s any kind of mistake in the papers – you can ask the customs officer to invite to the customs zone the fixer who is waiting for you and to solve all the questions.

Carnet ATA customs procedures departing from Russia

First of all, you have to check in for your flight. BUT DON’T GIVE THE BAGS! KEEP THEM AFTER CHECKING IN! After that, pay for the extra luggage. Finally, with the bags in hand you head to the red channel of the customs. SVO (Sheremetyevo Airport) – the same one where you were upon arrival, DME (Domodedovo) airport – in the arrival zone there’s a door at the left side of the airport. LED (Pulkovo airport, St Petersburg) – head first to the customs, sometimes they check you in to the flight inside the customs zone.

Please contact us and we will gladly help you with all customs procedures in Russia and with the translation of the carnet content.

If you have any kind of questions about Russian visas or about customs procedures – please feel free to contact us email us or call +79046012232.

Items to declare importing or exporting:

 You are entitled to import/export up to $10000 USD in cash into Russia. 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.

• 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.


 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.