- Reviewed: 22 August 2023, 11:49 NZST
- Still current at: 4 December 2023
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If you are planning international travel at this time, please read our COVID-19 related travel advice here, alongside our destination specific travel advice below.
Do not travel
Do not travel to Russia due to the impacts the armed conflict with Ukraine has had on commercial flight availability and access to financial services. There is also potential for the security situation to deteriorate with little warning (level 4 of 4).
Do not travel to Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachai-Cherkessia, Republic of North Ossetia and the south-east parts of Stavropol Krai in the North Caucasian Federal District (level 4 of 4). Terrorism, kidnapping and military activity in these areas presents a significant risk to security.View Larger Map Close/Open map
Following reports on 24 June 2023 of military tensions in the Rostov Oblast, all restrictions imposed in Tula, Tver, Voronezh, Lipetsk and Moscow have now been lifted. Further measures may be implemented at short notice.
If you are in Russia, you should leave while limited commercial options are still available. New Zealanders who choose to remain in country are advised to follow the advice of local authorities.
The Russia-Ukraine border is volatile due to the military conflict with Ukraine. You should not attempt to cross into Ukraine from Russia.
On 24 February 2022, the Russian authorities announced restrictions on domestic flights to a number of airports in southern Russia, with disruption to internal flights to and from Moscow and other cities. Almost all commercial flight routes between Russia and Europe have been cancelled and some other international flight routes out of Russia are also impacted, due to measures taken in response to Russian military action in Ukraine. Check the latest information with your airline or travel provider.
Some financial services are no longer operational in Russia, including the suspension of international bank card services. Foreign bank cards are not accepted at any shops or ATMs in Russia. Cards issued inside Russia may continue to work in Russia but they will not work outside of Russia. You should be aware that it may not be possible for you to access your funds through Russian banks. Travellers are advised to carry sufficient hard currency on them, including emergency funds, or be prepared with an alternate method of payment, to meet the needs of their travel for the duration of their stay in Russia. Financial services are subject to further disruption at short notice and people should make plans accordingly to ensure they can financially support themselves while in Russia.
On 4 March 2022, Russia’s Parliament passed laws, which severely restrict free speech related to the current situation in Ukraine. The publishing and distribution of information related to Russian armed forces and any military operations can result in fines or jail terms up to 15 years if considered ‘fake news’. Foreign journalists and other media workers may face considerable risks. If you are in Russia, you should not share or publish any information related to current events in Russia and Ukraine that would be in breach of local laws.
Russia has declared a “partial” mobilisation of Russian citizens to join military forces for the conflict in Ukraine. The Russian government does not recognise dual nationality. New Zealand citizens holding Russian passports should be aware that they may be in scope for mobilisation, regardless of any other citizenship they hold, including New Zealand citizenship. We offer further advice to New Zealanders overseas who hold dual citizenship here: Dual Citizenship | SafeTravel.
On 19 October 2022, the Russian Government introduced a “medium response level” in several regions, including Krasnodar, Belgorod, Bryansk, Voronezh, Kursk and Rostov. A “heightened preparedness level” is in place in the remainder of the Central and Southern Federal districts, and a “basic readiness level” has been introduced in the rest of Russia. Exact measures for what this entails will be determined by regional authorities, a range of security measures or restrictions could be introduced with little or no warning. There may be a heightened security presence, monitor the local media for any announcements on restrictions.
There have been reports of security incidents such as explosions and fires in areas near the Russian border with Ukraine, as well as at military installations and other key infrastructure in southern and western Russia.
Civil unrest and political tension
In response to the invasion of Ukraine, there have been instances of anti-war protests throughout Russia. There is a heavy police presence to prevent these and police will often detain those involved. Political protests, demonstrations and marches also occasionally escalate into violence in Russia. New Zealanders in Russia are advised to avoid all protests, demonstrations and marches.
Russian authorities may adopt a more negative attitude towards foreigners in Russia, including at the border, due to perceived support for Ukraine and sanctions on Russia. Russian authorities may enforce local laws in an arbitrary manner.
There is an ongoing threat of terrorism in Russia. Terrorist attacks have occurred in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Previous terrorist attacks in Russia have targeted transport infrastructure, including airports, buses, trains and Metro systems. Further attacks are likely and could occur anywhere in Russia, at any time.
The threat is particularly high in the North Caucasian Federal District, where the security situation remains unstable. Attacks occur on a regular basis against local and federal forces. New Zealanders should be aware that any increase in violence in the North Caucasian Federal District is likely to increase the possibility of terrorism in other parts of Russia. Foreigners have been kidnapped or killed.
Terrorist groups continue to make threats to conduct attacks in Russia. Russian authorities maintain increased security measures as a precaution around the country, including at tourist sites and transport hubs. The Russian authorities have disrupted a number of terror plots.
New Zealanders in Russia are advised to keep themselves informed of potential risks to safety and security by monitoring the media and other local information sources. We recommend following any instructions issued by the local authorities and exercising a high degree of vigilance in public places.
Racially motivated attacks do occur in Russia. People who are non-European in appearance, particularly people of Asian or African descent, are more likely to be targeted, including in Moscow and St Petersburg.
Tourists have been targeted for assault and robbery in the past and petty crime, such as pickpocketing and distraction theft, also occurs in cities. Thieves often work together and may distract victims and rob them while their attention is diverted. Travellers may be targeted on or around public transport facilities including airports, railway stations and bus terminals. New Zealanders in Russia are advised to maintain a high level of personal security awareness and take steps to safeguard and secure personal belongings (particularly passports and other travel documents) at all times.
Only use registered taxis as some official looking taxis can be unlicensed, and foreigners have been assaulted and robbed. Book taxis in advance either by phone or through your accommodation provider.
There have been some incidents of drink spiking followed by robbery and assault in Russia. Extra care should be taken to ensure your food and drink is never left unattended, we recommend against accepting food and drinks from strangers or recent acquaintances.
There have also been reports of travellers being robbed by individuals posing as police officers. If approached by police, ask to see identification before handing over your documentation.
Credit card and ATM fraud is common. Keep your credit card in sight during transactions and only use ATMs in banks and during business hours.
Commercial and internet fraud is common in Russia. New Zealanders should be wary of any offers that seem too good to be true, as they may be a scam. For further information see our advice on Internet Fraud and International Scams and Internet dating scams.
Russian airlines and railways may be affected by shortages of essential components for their fleets affecting maintenance and safety standards. Research your railway and aviation provider before choosing their services. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade does not offer advice on the safety of individual airlines.
General Travel Advice
Some New Zealand citizens have been banned from entering Russia in response to New Zealand sanctions against Russia following its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. We strongly advise against any attempt to circumvent such a ban. Travel to other countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States may also be impacted by a Russian travel ban as a result of immigration information sharing arrangements.
New Zealanders travelling or living in Russia should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air. New Zealanders should note that most international insurance providers will not provide cover for travel to Russia due to sanctions, always check the details of your cover with your insurance provider.
Although homosexual relationships are not illegal under Russian laws, they are not widely publicly accepted. Public displays of affection may attract negative attention and Russian federal law prohibits the promoting of “non-traditional sexual relations”. Any action or public statement which appears to promote LGBTQ+ issues is illegal. There have been reports of harassment and assault of members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe and can include lengthy imprisonment or fines.
Foreigners aren't permitted to cross the land border between Russia and Belarus (including by train). If you do wish to travel between Russia and Belarus, New Zealanders are advised to do so by air, to avoid any immigration issues. Trains between Russia and other European countries often transit through Belarus, so check the train's route before purchasing any rail tickets.
New Zealand doesn’t recognise Crimea as being part of Russia. We advise that New Zealanders do not travel to Crimea due to the uncertain security situation. See our Ukraine travel advice for details.
It is a legal requirement to carry your passport with you at all times in Russia, as a photocopy will not be sufficient. Failure to produce this could result in a fine or detainment.
Photography of government offices, airports, military establishments and other sensitive areas is prohibited, and could result in detention. If in doubt, don’t take a picture.
Visa restrictions are strictly enforced in Russia. Staying beyond the validity of your visa is seen as a serious issue by Russian authorities, and can result in detainment, fines, deportation or bans from re-entry into Russia. If you overstay your visa, you will be turned back at the border, and not be able to depart Russia until your status is regularised.
If you're staying in Russia for more than 7 working days, you must register with the local branch of the Migration Office of Russian Internal Affairs. Most (but not all) hotels will carry out the registration process on behalf of guests, but it is up to the visitors themselves to ensure this is done.
New Zealanders in Russia are encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The New Zealand Embassy Moscow, Russian Federation
Street Address 3 Prechistenskaya Naberezhnaya, Moscow 119034, Russian Federation Telephone +7 495 956 3579 Alternate Telephone +7 495 956 3580 Fax +7 495 956 3583 Email firstname.lastname@example.org Web Site http://www.mfat.govt.nz/russia Hours Mon - Fri 0900 - 1230, 1330 - 1730 hrs
New Zealand Honorary Consulate Vladivostok, Russian Federation
Street Address 48/2 Stanyukovicha St, Cottage 10, Vladivostok, 690003, Russian Federation Telephone +7 4232 512 362/365 Fax +7 4232 513 222 Email email@example.com
See our regional advice for Europe
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New Zealand Embassy Russian Federation
3 Prechistenskaya Naberezhnaya, Moscow 119034, Russian Federation
Telephone: +7 495 956 3579
Alternate Telephone: +7 495 956 3580
Fax: +7 495 956 3583
Hours: Mon - Fri 0900 - 1230, 1330 - 1730 hrs