Information for U.S. Citizens in Russia – Travel Options Out of Russia

Information for U.S. Citizens in Russia – Travel Options Out of Russia

We are providing the information below to assist U.S. Citizens planning to depart Russia given the uncertainty surrounding circumstances there following ongoing Russian military actions in Ukraine. This page is updated once monthly.

U.S. citizens should depart Russia via commercial options still available.  The situation on Russian borders is constantly evolving, and this page will be updated regularly to reflect these changes.

In terms of air travel options, U.S. citizens should:

  • Recognize the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) downgraded the air safety rating for Russia, restricting any expansion of service or partnerships as a result of Russia’s Federal Agency for Air Transport not complying with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) safety standards. For more information on this matter, click here.
  • Explore commercial air routing through non-European destinations.
  • Consider requesting family/friends outside of Russia assist in purchasing airline tickets, especially if credit/debit cards are not working, as described below.
  • Consider contacting a global travel to purchase airline tickets (for example, American Express Global, Expedia Group, Booking Holding, BCD Travel, Flight Centre, Travel Leaders Group, and Direct Travel).

Travelers may also depart via some of Russia’s land borders. More information is below.

Use of Credit/Debit Cards & Access to Foreign Currency: As a result of sanctions imposed on Russian banks in response to the Russian military actions in Ukraine, U.S. issued credit and debit cards do not work in Russia. Travelers may consider using local credit cards, cash, or other forms of payment, or request that family/friends outside of Russia purchase their ticket. U.S. citizens should take this into account when making their plans.

The Bank of Russia has announced that non-residents from “both friendly and unfriendly countries” may transfer funds abroad in the amount of wages, but there remains a ban on transferring funds abroad for non-residents from “unfriendly countries” that do not work in Russia, as well as legal entities from such states. This ban has been extended through March 31, 2024. U.S. citizens should be aware that even though the Bank of Russia may allow the transfer of funds from wages, the exclusion of Russia from the SWIFT system have made transfers to the United States impossible as a practical matter.

We encourage U.S. citizens to enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates and makes it easier for the U.S. Embassy to contact you in an emergency. U.S. Citizens in Russia can email moscowacs@state.gov for assistance.

Click here for additional updates from the U.S. Embassy in Russia.

KEY LINKS

Latest Travel Advisory and Alerts

Departing Russia by air:

U.S. citizens wishing to depart Russia by land should be prepared to comply with country-specific entry requirements. Direct flights are currently operating from Moscow and other major Russian cities to Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Thailand, India, and other destinations. European and North American airspace remains closed. Please consult airlines and travel websites for schedules and availability.

Security Alert

Departing Russia by land:

U.S. citizens wishing to depart Russia by land should be prepared to comply with country-specific entry requirements, which may differ from the entry requirements for travelers arriving by plane. Travelers should also be aware that not all border crossings may be open and should check for information on the website of the U.S. Embassy in the country you wish to enter.  For a list of embassies, click here.

Departing Russia by sea:

Ferry availability changes frequently, but some ferries from Russia to other countries may be operating, including from Sochi to Trabzon, Turkey.

Visa Requirements for Families with American and Russian Citizen Family Members

The following information may be of use to those families with both American and Russian citizen family members that are considering departure options:

No Visa Required for Russian Citizens

Azerbaijan:  Russians do not need a visa to enter Azerbaijan and can stay for up to 90 days. 

Bahrain: Russians can get visas on arrival.

Georgia: Russian citizens do not need a visa to enter Georgia.

Kazakhstan: Russian citizens can enter Kazakhstan without a visa by air for up to 90 days, but not more than 90 days within a 180-day period. 

Mongolia:  Mongolia does not require a visa for temporary (30 day) stays of Russian nationals, just a passport with at least six months validity.

Qatar:  Russian citizens can enter Qatar visa free for an initial 30 day stay and the possibility to extend 30 additional days. 

Serbia: Russians do not need visas to enter Serbia and can stay for up to 30 days.

UAE:  UAE does visas on arrival for Russian tourists, with authorization for a 30 day stay, extendable to 90 with application.

Visa Required for Russian Citizens

Estonia: As of September 19, 2022 the Estonian government will not allow Russian citizens with short-term Schengen visas to enter Estonia for tourism, sports, or culture. The entry restrictions do not apply to Russian citizens who are long-term residents of Estonia or to individuals traveling to Estonia to visit family members, workers involved in transportation of goods and passengers, and in certain humanitarian circumstances. The Estonian Police and Border Guard website provides more information. 

Finland: Russian citizens require a visa to enter Finland. Starting September 2022, Finland will reduce significantly the acceptance of Russian tourist visas. Priority is given to those applying for a visa due to family reasons, work or study. In extreme circumstances the Finnish Border Patrol will consider parole entry if the person is transiting Finland or has other extraordinary circumstances.

Latvia:  Visas are required for Russians to enter Latvia. They are currently not being issued except for some specific funerals. For more information, please contact the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Lithuania:  Russian citizens need a visa to enter Lithuania. Lithuania has suspended issuing most visas to Russian nationals in light of Russia’s war against Ukraine. As of September 19, 2022, the Lithuanian government joined Estonia, Latvia, and Poland in restricting the entrance of Russian citizens with short-term Schengen visas who seek to enter for tourism, sports, or culture. Exceptions apply for family members of EU nationals, seafarers, people transiting Kaliningrad, and in other humanitarian situations. 

The following link provides information on countries to which Russian citizens can travel without requiring a visa. Please note that this website is not affiliated with the United States Department of State, which cannot vouch for the accuracy of its data, and is provided purely for informational purposes.

https://visaguide.world/visa-free-countries/russian-passport/

SPECIFIC INFORMATION ON ENTERING NEIGHBORING COUNTRIES FROM RUSSIA:

Azerbaijan

To reach the U.S. Embassy in Baku, call +994 12 488-3300, or email the American Citizens Services unit at BakuACS@state.gov

Click here to see all Messages and Alerts for U.S. Visitors to Azerbaijan.

  • Land borders between Azerbaijan and all neighboring countries remain closed, except for freight transportation. Entry into Azerbaijan is possible only by air.
  • Azerbaijan’s national air carrier, AZAL (Azerbaijan Airlines), operates regular flights from Moscow's Domodedovo and Vnukovo airports, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, and Yekaterinburg. The low-cost airline Buta Airways operates flights from Astrakhan, Kazan, Mineralniye Vody, Samara, and Volgograd.

Belarus

Do not travel to Belarus due to the arbitrary enforcement of laws, the risk of detention, the Russian military attack on neighboring Ukraine, and the buildup of Russian military in Belarus along the border with Ukraine. U.S. citizens in Belarus should depart immediately via commercial or private means. Read the travel advisory for Belarus here .

Estonia

To reach the U.S. Embassy in Estonia, call 372-668-8100, or email ACSTallinn@state.gov.

Click here to read all Messages and Alerts for U.S. Visitors to Estonia.

  • Estonia is not allowing air traffic from Russia due to EU sanctions. U.S. citizens are allowed to cross into Estonia. U.S. citizens’ family members of other nationalities may require Estonian visas to enter.
  • As of September 13, 2023, Estonia no longer allows motor vehicles with Russian Federation license plates to enter Estonia. Drivers and passengers of Russian-plated vehicles may cross the border on foot and leave the vehicle behind in Russia. The ban does not apply to international passenger transport buses, such as Lux Express, which continue to operate across the border.
  • Dual U.S. Russian citizens have reported difficulties entering Estonia. U.S. citizens with other nationalities should be prepared to present all of their citizenship information and their purpose of travel to Estonian border authorities.
  • Lux Express continues to offer bus service between St. Petersburg and Tallinn: Tallinn - St. Petersburg buses and tickets - Lux Express. U.S. citizens traveling by bus from Russia to Estonia should expect longer than normal wait times to cross the border.
  • There are currently no ferries operating from Russia to Estonia. Onward ferries are currently operating from Tallinn to Stockholm and Helsinki.
  • As of February 1, 2024, the Narva-Ivangorod border crossing on the Estonian-Russian border will be closed by the Russian Federation for construction to all motor vehicle traffic in both directions. According to recent statements by Russian authorities, the border may be closed for approximately two and a half years. It is still possible to cross the Narva-Ivangorod border on foot. Crossing by taxi is not possible, and while buses continue to provide services between Russia and Estonia, as noted above, passengers may be required to cross the border on foot and transfer to a separate bus. At this time, vehicles are still able to cross the Estonian-Russian border at Koidula-Kunitsina Gora and Luhamaa-Shumilkina border crossing points, with limitations imposed on Russian Federation license plates as noted above.

Finland

To reach the U.S. Embassy in Finland, call +358-9-616-250, or email HelsinkiACS@state.gov

Click here to read all Messages and Alerts for U.S. Visitors to Finland.

  • All land border crossing points between Finland and Russia are closed. For updated information regarding Finland’s borders and entry requirements, check the Finnish Border Guards website.
  • Finland's national railway operator suspended services between Helsinki and Saint Petersburg, Russia effective Monday, March 28, 2023.
  • No air travel is possible.
  • There are currently no ferries operating from Russia to Finland.
  • When the border is open, travelers may not cross the land border on foot.

U.S. citizens with expired passports may transit Finland en route to the United States, but must contact the U.S. Embassy in Helsinki at HelsinkiACS@state.gov in advance and provide the traveler’s name, arrival time, vehicle information, and U.S. airline ticket information.

Passengers transiting Finland may not currently cross the border outside regular opening hours in order to make connecting flights/ferries.

You can find requirements for entry from the Finnish Border Guards website.

Georgia

  • To reach the U.S. Embassy in Georgia, call +(995 32) 227-70-00, or email the American Citizens Services unit at askconsultbilisi@state.gov.
  • Information about the Georgian border from the Georgian State Commission on Migration Issues can be found here.

Kazakhstan

To reach the U.S. Embassy in Kazakhstan, call +7 (7172) 70-21-00, or email the American Citizens Services unit at USAKZ@state.gov.

Click here to see all Messages and Alerts for U.S. Visitors to Kazakhstan.

  • Air Astana and FlyArystan have temporarily suspended flights between Russia and Kazakhstan. While other airlines may continue to operate routes between Russia and Kazakhstan, it is important to note that U.S. government personnel are prohibited from traveling for official duties on Kazakhstani airlines without prior approval, except for Air Astana and FlyArystan, due to safety concerns. For more information about travel, see Kazakhstan’s Country Information Page.
  • U.S. Citizens with expired passports will not be admitted to Kazakhstan, including for transit.

Latvia

To reach the U.S. Embassy in Latvia, call +371 6710 7000, or email askconsular-riga@state.gov.

Click here to read all Messages and Alerts for U.S. Visitors to Latvia.

  • The Russia-Latvia border remains open, but border crossing points may be limited. Travelers to Latvia should check with Latvian Border Police before starting travel. U.S. citizens will be allowed to cross with valid U.S. passports and the required passport validity of at least 6 months.
  • Latvia is no longer allowing entry for Russian-registered and plated private vehicles, including those owned or driven by U.S. Citizens. We recommend traveling via plane or bus.
  • There is direct bus service from Moscow and St. Petersburg to Riga via the Ecolines buses, which depart daily.
  • There is no train or ferry service which travels directly from Russia or Belarus to Latvia.
  • Latvia is not issuing visas for Russian citizens to enter the country at this time, including for accompanying Russian family members of U.S. citizen minors. 
  • Latvia permits U.S. citizens to cross into Latvia from Belarus through the land border but have reduced the number of crossings open to only one. Please check hours and locations as they may change without notice.
  • There are extended waits to cross the land border from Russia to Latvia. Wait time can be as long as 72-96 hours at times, with limited or no access to food, water or sanitary facilities.

Lithuania

  • To reach the U.S. Embassy in Lithuania, call +370 5 266 5600, or email VilniusACs@state.gov
  • Click here to read all Messages and Alerts for U.S. Visitors to Lithuania.
  • Russian citizens need a visa to enter Lithuania. Lithuania has suspended issuing most visas to Russian nationals in light of Russia’s war against Ukraine. As of September 19, 2022, the Lithuanian government joined Estonia, Latvia, and Poland in restricting the entrance of Russian citizens with short-term Schengen visas who seek to enter for tourism, sports, or culture. Exceptions apply for family members of EU nationals, seafarers, people transiting Kaliningrad, and in other humanitarian situations. 

Mongolia

To reach the U.S. Embassy in Ulaanbaatar, call +976-7007-6001, or email the American Citizens Services unit at UlaanbaatarACS@state.gov.

Click here to see all Messages and Alerts for U.S. Visitors to Mongolia.

  • There are no reports of any border/Point of Entry closures.
  • The Mongolian government requires those entering to be in possession a passport with at least six months’ validity.
  • U.S. and Russian nationals can travel and enter Mongolia visa-free, but may be required to register after arrival depending on the length of stay.
  • There are several flights each month operating on Hunnu Air from Ulan Ude to Ulaanbaatar and on Aero Mongolia from Erkhuu to Ulaanbaatar.
  • For more information about travel to Mongolia, including entry and exit requirements for U.S. citizens, see Mongolia’s Country Information Page.

Last Updated: January 2, 2024