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Problem 6: Closed and Restricted Cities

You may know that many Russian cities and regions under Soviet times were "closed." These cities, often with important scientific, industrial, or geographic features, required special documentation to get into. What you may not know is that many of these cities and regions still have legacy laws from the Soviet times which keep them officially "restricted." If you will be traveling to any of these cities at any time during your stay in Russia, you should tell us immediately so that we may issue the appropriate visa support and advise you on how to stay legal during your trip.

Samara and Nizhny Novgorod, for instance, are special cases. If you will fly directly to either of these cities from a foreign country (on a flight from Ankara to Nizhny Novgorod or Samara), then you should have an invitation issued by a local organization in Samara or Nizhny Novgorod. If you have an invitation issued by a Moscow organization, it is expected by the local authorities in Samara and Nizhny Novgorod that you will arrive first to Moscow and only then transfer domestically to their cities if need be.

For travel to Volgograd, Astrakhan, Novosibirsk, Murmansk, Severodvinsk, Apatity, Moscow Region (Dubna, Obninsk, Korolev and other "science" towns, and locations in the Nothern Caucuses like Rostov Region, Krasnodarsky Krai, Mineralnye Vody, Pyatigorsk, Krasnovodsk, you will need a specially annotated voucher. You must tell us that you plan to visit these locations when you apply for your visa so that we can issue you a voucher with the correct information. Carrying a copy of your voucher with you when travelling there may also help avoid problems.

Yakutia - Sakha Republic, Norilsk, Sakhalin, Kamchatka, North Ossetia (Vladikavkaz), Chechnya, Nalchik, Dagestan are the most difficult. Here, you will need special authorization from a local, officially authorized source. These places are under special regime for foreigners. You must, tell us if these locations are on your travel itinerary before we issue your visa.

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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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