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Problem 4: The Nice Policeman Wants to Talk


You may have heard about police document checks in Russia. You may have heard that the police don’t actually have the right to stop you. You may have heard many things. None of this really matters, as the police DO stop individuals on the street and the problems they can create are very real.

So, speaking practically, you should simply be prepared to present your documents to the police should they ask. Keep your registration and passport with you (or at least copies of your registration, passport photo page, and visa and one original photo ID – like your driver's license) at all times. Make sure that you can point to the expiration date of each document. If you carry the originals, keep the copies elsewhere. If you have arrived to your current city in Russia less than seven days before, carry your ticket with you so you can show that you haven't had time yet to register.

Never give your identification to the officer, simply hold it open for him to see. If you believe that the nice man with the badge is asking for a bribe or being unreasonable, ask him for HIS identification. It is within your legal rights to do so. Offer to write down his name and badge number and/or photograph his identification and his person, and to call your embassy for assistance (again, Russian law specifically entitles you to do all of this). If this is a case of a shakedown, the police officer will usually back down at this and "let you go this time."

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This is a non-government site and whilst every endeavour is made to ensure the information is correct and up to date, there may be changes which we are not aware of. It is always a good idea to check the latest regulations. You should confirm details with your local Russian Consular Office.
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