Many backpackers, when hearing about registration, ask the same question: "What is it?" Many of them have not even heard about such a procedure, others get worried and confused to some extent. In this small article, you will find everything you need to know as a tourist about registration.
Registration is a form of migration control aimed at registering a foreigner's residence address in accordance with Russian legislation. In short, this is how Russian authorities know that you are not an illegal alien.
Who must be registered? Everyone who is planning to stay in Russia for more than 7 business days. If the stay is less than 7 days, you are not obliged to register. In case registration is required, it must be done within 7 business days of arrival. By business days in Russia we usually understand all except Sundays and official holidays. So 7 is sort of a magical number here.
The most unpleasant part starts here because every time a tourist changes the place of residence they have to re-register. This is how it works: even if a foreigner is already registered at the place of actual residence, if he/she arrives at a new accommodation, he/she must be registered at the new place again.
The good thing is that the registration must be done always by the host. No matter where you stay: in s hostel or friend's apartment. The responsibility of it lays on the shoulders of the hosting party. Ask for it at the front desk of your hostel. The administration usually does it for free, although some organizations may charge you a symbolic amount of 200-300 rubles. If they ask for more, you may want to change the place. In any case, the host has the legal obligation to register your stay. In Z Hostel we do not charge any money for registration, so you pay only for your stay with us.
If you are staying with your friends or relatives, they should make your registration at their home address.
For the registration, the hostel will request at your arrival: your passport and your migration card. They will scan your documents, fill in the form and send the data to Russian immigration authorities for verification. When all bureaucracy is done, you will get a copy of the registration slip as proof of successful registration. Keep it in your passport, I hope you will never need it. Once you leave the residence, the hosting party will also inform the authorities.
Your friend can register you in any post office of their home city (but they charge a small fee, usually around 200 rubles). At the very least, if any problem arises, look for one of the multiple agencies that offer this service.
It is important to highlight that the absence of registration will not allow you to perform any legal action in Russia, or may lead to fines. Sometimes, I would say almost never, Russian police stop people to check their passports and registrations. It happens around train stations, central streets, metro stations and during celebrations of significatn holidays. It may not seem 100% legitimate, but if happens, remember to keep the documents with you always. If the officers or any other people start to threaten you with a trip to a local police station or demand a huge fee, it is best to call the consulate and the hostel immediately.
"What if I do the Trans-Siberian route by train which may take around 4 days," you ask? Train and other transport tickets functions as the equivalent of registration, so do not get rid of your tickets.
In conclusion, I would like to point out that the migration card has more value than registration and is required to leave Russia.
I truly hope this piece will help you clarify the issue with registration in Russia. Though it seems to be a pain in the neck, there is nothing impossible about it. Safe travels!