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Saint-Petersburg: Arrival & Departure

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Russian customs laws are similar to those in other countries. However, the legislation regulating the procedure of transition across the border of Russia changes periodically. That means that some later changes might be not included in these instructions.

Visitors arriving by air pass through a passport checkpoint in the airport terminal. Those arriving by train do this at the border (not at the station). Uniformed border guards check passports and stamp visas (one page of the visa is removed upon arrival. The rest of it is turned in upon leaving the country). Russian custom declarations are issued during your flight or train ride, or one can be picked up from stands located near the baggage claim area in the airport.

It is necessary to indicate foreign currency and securities (in amount exceeding 500 minimal wage rate stated in the Russian Federation) in the customs declaration. There is no restricts for importing the foreign currency to Russia but please note that you are not allowed to take out the country more than you have brought in. Declare your valuables (gold, silver, jewelry), otherwise they could be confiscated on departure if there is no proof you brought them into the counts. Precious metals and stones except temporarily imported/exported jewelry, cultural values should also be noted on the customs form. You must declare all these items or besides the confiscating else be subject to a huge duty up to the full value of the items or even more.

An inspector will look through your luggage in varying degrees and stamp your declaration. Ensure declaration officially stamped by customs officials on entry to prevent difficulties in taking currency & valuables out. Please keep this declaration! You need it to leave the country. On departing, another declaration (same format) must be filled out, which is compared to your original. Make sure you are not leaving the country with more foreign currency than you declared upon arrival. Even though Russian customs has become considerably easier and faster than in past years your bags may be thoroughly searched when you leave. Do not overwrap items as they may be picked for inspection.

If you have something to declare you should pass through Red Channel. Crossing the green line at the Green Channel entrance is considered as a statement that the goods of obligatory written declaring are absent. However you could be stopped there and checking up.

You do not need to declare your clothes, toilet articles, private jewelry, photo and movie camera with reasonable quantity of films/tapes and accessories, portable slide and film projectors, camcorders and portable videotape-recorders, record-players, portable music instruments, tourist equipment (such as bicycles, wind serf-boards, etc.), portable PC, baby carriages, etc.

All personal belongings can be taken through the Russian customs border free of charge if only the total cost of the goods does not exceed an equivalent of 1.000 EUR or goods weight does not exceeds 50 kilos per person. Otherwise you can expect to pay the uniform rate of 30% of customs value, but not less than 4 Euro per every kg over 50 kg.

You can bring to Russia without customs duties 2 liters of alcohol beverages (incl. beer), 400 pieces of tobacco (cigars, cigarettes) and 250 gram pressed caviar.

It is forbidden to bring to Russia weapon, ammunition and in what is considered anti- Russian (printed, audio and video) material or other mediums that may be harmful for country. Narcotic and psychotropic substances as well as accessories for opium and hashish smoking, are forbidden for import/export to the Russian Federation.

You cannot leave with items, which may appear to have historical or cultural value (icons, antiques, paintings, musical instruments, coins, books, produced more than 50 years ago, excluding prior exported ones) unless you have permission from the Ministry of Culture (antiques and works of art dating before 1960 must be cleared in advance). Ministry of Culture is located at 17, Malaya Morskaya Ul. (Metro: Gostiny Dvor, then walk down the Nevsky Prospekt towards the Admiralty then turn left to Malaya Morskaya and walk towards the Isaakievskaya square. It is better to retain receipts for all purchases of high value made in Russia.

Alcohol beverages and tobacco are duty-free for coming-out in amount of non-commercial lot. Export of pressed caviar is limited to 250 gram per person.

The goods of non-commercial use with the total cost not exceed an equivalent of 10.000 EUR inclusive are exported free of charge.

The failure to declare goods of an obligatory written declaring as well as giving false information can cause penalty, detention, and/or confiscation of the money, values and even the criminal responsibility.

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