What is the change? Last year, Russia tightened registration rules for Russian and foreign nationals ahead of the FIFA Confederations Cup soccer tournament. The rules will be in effect again from May 25 through July 25 for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which will take place June 14 to July 15.

What does the change mean? When the tightened registration rules are in place, foreign nationals arriving in areas hosting soccer matches must notify relevant immigration authorities of where they are staying within one day of their arrival, whether coming from abroad or from other areas of Russia. Russian nationals arriving from other parts of Russia must register with the relevant authorities within three calendar days of their arrival. The requirements for both foreign and Russian nationals apply regardless of whether their stay is temporary or permanent. Those participating in soccer matches or representing FIFA, FIFA subsidiaries or national soccer organizations are exempt.

  • Implementation time frame:  May 25 to July 25.
  • Who is affected: Foreign and Russian nationals arriving in Kaliningrad, Kazan, Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Rostov-na-Donu, St. Petersburg, Samara, Saransk, Sochi, Volgograd or Yekaterinburg between May 25 and July 25 during the 2018 FIFA World Cup tournament.
  • Impact on processing times: The change adds a registration requirement for Russian and foreign nationals traveling to the areas listed above during the World Cup soccer tournament.
  • Business impact: Business travelers should note that the registration requirements apply during the specified times no matter whether they are traveling to attend soccer matches or not. Travelers may be affected, therefore, even if their purpose in Moscow or other cities hosting soccer matches has nothing to do with the matches themselves.

Background: Russia hosted the Confederations Cup, an eight-country international soccer tournament, last year, and officials increased security measures, including the registration requirement listed above, during the tournament. The increased security measures and registration requirement will be in place once again when Russia hosts the World Cup, soccer’s top international tournament, this year.

BAL Analysis: Those planning travel to cities hosting World Cup soccer matches are urged to follow the requirements listed above. Failing to do so could lead to administrative penalties, including fines for visitors and hosting entities alike. Foreign nationals who fail to register risk not only fines but expulsion from Russia.

Based on the implementation of similar registration rules in 2017, foreign nationals are encouraged to avoid traveling to the specified cities and, if travel is necessary, to particularly avoid entering the specified cities on Fridays or Saturdays so that registration does not fall on the weekend. If foreign nationals arrive at the specified cities before May 25, they must be registered by that date in accordance with unofficial recommendations by government representatives. Those planning travel to Russia during relevant time periods should consult with BAL to ensure that they follow proper procedures.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Russia. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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