Bring a car or motorbike into Russia – a fairly full guide.

By Tony Pettie, who kindly allowed RussiaKnowledge to repost these texts from the site: Here, Tony describes the procedure for bringing a vehicle into Russia (ed).

There have been several articles on various aspects of bringing foreign registered private vehicles (car or motorbike) into Russia. These are scattered over RedTape Forums (and possibly elsewhere) so this is hopefully a single, ‘definitive guide’ of the various procedures.

It is not difficult. So don’t be put off or follow the ‘advice’ some others had suggested to me to “Forget it”. The below may seem a daunting amount to read and do, but I have over-described the processes and you would only follow one Section plus possibly Registration.


If I can succeed in doing it, so can you.

The following five posts are divided into the Sections –
Section A. Temporary import.
Section B. Permanent import – turning up at a border with the vehicle. Parts 1 and 2
Section C. Permanent import – pre-arranged arrival.
Section D. Permanent import – vehicle already in RUS.
Section E. Registration and Number Plates.
A, B and E are my own experiences, having many times following A, and now B and E, with UK registered cars and motos. There is bound to be someone who had different experiences – to which I can only say “That’s Russia!”

My Russian language is very limited but I always managed to deal with border procedures unaided. However, I twice took Russian friends to be interpreters in Section B, firstly when seeking information from Customs Head Offices and later dealing with the specialist Customs office. A good knowledge of Russian or your own interpreter would be necessary at these offices – border personnel usually have had a sufficient knowledge of English to supplement my almost non-existent Russian (except once when they found a French speaker to resolve a misunderstanding).

Below is as detailed as I can make it, to hopefully encourage you. Don’t look on it as a deterrent.

The main key to quickly doing things is to fully understand the process in advance.Then break it down into a series of separate steps and be prepared for each official, knowing exactly their role, so as to quickly assist him/her to do their job and help you.

I will not say “Good Luck”. You won’t need it with the knowledge below.



I have done this many times when on Visas and then TRP, to bring and use UK registered cars and motos in RUS. Over 10 years, it was exactly the same procedure at the 7 different RUS border points I have used with Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland.

For legal geeks, this is facilitated under the Vienna Convention, replacing part of the Geneva Convention.

In Russia, this is only for visitors with any type of Visa or Work Permit (when required, depending on your citizenship) or a TRP. It is not available for PRP holders or resident Russian Citizens.

You may have in RUS only one vehicle at a time.

On no later than the final day, you MUST take the vehicle out of RUS and get the Temporary Import ‘signed off’ their computer. Once beyond the border control you can immediately do a U-turn, re-enter RUS and start the process all over again.

Entering RUS procedure

It is fully accepted, even encouraged, for motos to ride to the front of queues J.

1.Control kiosk and barrier. This is after the previous country’s border controls and having moved forward into RUS. This is to control and hold back vehicles so the border officials are not overwhelmed by numbers. After a superficial check that you and any passengers have a Passport/Visa, they give you blank Immigration Cards and raise the barrier to allow small batches forward.

2.Border (Immigration) Control. Exactly as at airports, at the window you each present your Passport/visa etc and completed Immigration Cards. After checking Visas/TRPs with the computer, they stamp and return your Passport and one half of the Immigration Card. You move forward a few metres to the next step.

3.Customs Controland barrier. You complete 2 copies of a Customs Declaration form which is available in English and other languages. The main interest is the vehicle section. You produce your Passport/Visa and the vehicle Registration Document (and, if not in your own name, a letter from the Owner/Registered Keeper giving permission for you to be using the vehicle in Russia). They check your passport with their computer to ensure you do not already have a foreign registered vehicle in RUS. They inspect the vehicle VIN number and luggage. Once they are happy, they place a printed sticker and rubber stamp on one copy of Customs Declaration, which you must keep and surrender when you finally exit the vehicle. This sticker has a 3 month validity or less if your Visa expires sooner. They raise the barrier and you move forward to the final step.

4.Control kiosk and barrier. They may ask to see your Passport and that you have a validated Customs Declaration. They will then let you go – all the way to Magadan, if that pulls your chain!

The vehicle can be used in Russia and its Eurasian Customs Union partners (Belarus and Kazakhstan) without further formality – subject to any necessary personal visas. It possibly now includes Armenia and Kirgizstan who were due to join the Union from August 2015 although I am still puzzling over how you get drive to Armenia without leaving the Union!

In Russia, road Insurance is compulsory. If you do not have this from your ‘home’ insurer, you can buy it for short or long periods, around the border area in all the garages, shops and at kiosks. I understand it is permitted to drive/ride to the next town on your journey to buy insurance. It is not expensive, based solely on vehicle power and time required, but is only the equivalent of UK’s Third Party insurance (damage you do to others and their property).

I am told that as these vehicles are for your personal use only, Russian citizens are not permitted to use them, other than as passengers.

You can leave the vehicle in RUS and exit and return later without problem. The car emblem on your passport stamp means you crossed at a road border, not that you had one!

Exiting RUS procedure.

1.Control kiosk and barrier. As above – a cursory check you have documents to leave Russia and to control the ‘flow’ at the actual border controls. Small batches move forward to the next step.

2.Customs Control. You hand in the Customs Declaration form. They inspect your passport, vehicle registration document, vehicle VIN and luggage; then check the form with their computer. When they are satisfied, you move forward to the next step.

3.Border (immigration) Control . Again, as at airports. At the window they take your Immigration Card, inspect Passport and Visas and check with the computer. Your Passport is stamped and returned and you move to the next step.

4.Control kiosk and barrier. They check your Passport stamp and raise the barrier to enable you to go forward to the next country’s border controls – often several hundred metres away.


SECTION B. PERMANENT IMPORT – turning up at a border with the vehicle. – Part 1

I have never used an agent, consultant or ‘fixer’ nor made any unofficial payments as ‘inducement’ or ‘gratitude’ to someone for just doing their job. I find a smile, consideration and politeness goes a long way (despite being somewhat lacking in much of RUS life!). Using an ‘agent’ may make the process easier, but I am not convinced as I did not see significant opportunities for speeding things up or reducing costs.

You must be a RUS citizen, TRP or PRP holder or on a long term continuous visa (e.g. Work permit, etc). People on short and non continuous visas can only temporarily bring in one foreign registered vehicle, as in Section A.

There are two processes for permanently importing – either with prepaid Customs documents (as in Section C), or, as I did, turning up unannounced at a road border (as this Section).

This was at the Latvia border point at Бурачки onM9/E22 Moscow/Riga road. This border point did not have a Customs Cashier’s Office so involved a taxi to the nearby town of Себеж. However, I believe the Latvia border point at Убылинка on A116/E262 Pskov/Rezekne road does have such a Cashier’s office, which if so would have saved some time and effort, as below.

Border procedure entering RUS

As section A, except at Customs.
I completed the Customs Declaration forms as usual and produced my UK Passport, PRP Passport and the UK Registration document. I told them of my intention to ride the moto to Moscow, pay Customs Duty and register it on RUS plates. Without knowing this, they would have refused me bringing in the moto on seeing the PRP passport.

Not having ‘prepaid’ (Section C), I had to pay a Customs Deposit. The lady was very helpful, despite limited English (hence once a French speaking customs lady’s involvement). She spent some time on the phone – I don’t know what about, but maybe checking or establishing she could accept the invoice as a guide value for a Deposit. Eventually she prepared a Form TP.

Form TP is a Customs Deposit form. It calculated a deposit to be paid as 40% of the Invoice cost of the moto, converted to Руб at the current exchange rate.

Not having a Customs Cashier’s Office at this border, I had to leave the moto there, walk to the end of the border control area and go by taxi (ordered by the helpful lady) to Себеж, a very pretty lakeside town about 7 miles away, where I drew the sum from a bancomat and went to the town’s Customs Office to pay the deposit. At this office they took the Form TP, consulted a computer that seemed to already have the Form details. They rechecked the Form then did some more entries in the computer and issued a receipt and stamped it and the TP. They gave them and another paper and said I could go. They also gave me an application form for the return of the deposit. I went back to the border in my waiting taxi with my Form TP, the Cashier’s receipt and the other paper.

Back at the border the lady took the Form TP, receipt and the other paper, again checked the computer and stamped the TP. She handed back the TP and Cashiers receipt, then printed the usual 3 month sticker for the Customs Declaration Form – stamped and signed it. She said I have those 3 months to complete the importation at a regional Customs office and sent me on my way.

She explained the terms of the TP payment were that the full deposit will be returned to me if, within the 3 months, I either take the moto out of RUS or obtain a Russian ‘vehicle passport’ for it. This involves having paid a properly calculated amount of Duty and VAT at a local specialist Customs office.

Back in Moscow

With a Russian friend, after some research, we went to the ‘Customs Enquiry Office for Foreigners’ at Комсомольская площадь, 1, next to Leningradski Voksal at the red and brown line Komsomolskya Metro station. Although for foreigners, they did not speak English, French or German!

The enquiry lady was senior (in rank and age) and most helpful. She explained that as I had paid the TP, I could extend the 3 months for a further 3 months in the normal way and place as in Section A. (I have since been told this can be repeated every three months at a time for up to a year).

She continued to explain everything, including that we needed a current Schwacke valuation. This is an independent car and moto values guide, in Euros, accepted as being correct and fair. Some firms pay a blanket subscription to have full access to produce their own prints outs or individual valuations can be bought direct online for 7.90 Euro each.
The valuations are updated and published monthly for cars and quarterly for motos, up to 10 years old. For vehicles older than 10 years you would need a valuation from an appointed dealer of the manufacturer concerned.

She gave us printouts of the Customs formula and notes for the eventual payment of Duty, VAT and Fees and a list of appropriate regional vehicle Customs offices that covered Moscow. They are –
142000, МО, г. Домодедово, ул. Краснодарская, Д. 17. Тел 8-495-926-65-05
124460, г. Зеленоград, 2-й Западный пр-д, Д.3 стр.1. Тел 8-495-727-42-58
142111, МО, Подольский район, Рязанскй с.о., п/о Подольск-11, Симферопольское ш., Д.22, стр. 1. Тел. 8-495-580-57-08

She recommended the Zelenograd office, saying it is rarely busy and they do not have queues there.


SECTION B. PERMANENT IMPORT – turning up at a border with the vehicle. – Part 2

I rode the moto there accompanied by a different Russian friend on his moto. It was practically deserted, there were no queues – I saw two other ‘customers’ in the entire time we were there. Everyone was mostly just sitting at their desks with nothing to do!

A gateman directed us to Room 27 but we had to go on foot, leaving the motos outside. There we explained what we wanted and, after examining my Passport, the UK Registration and the Customs Declaration documents, they issued a pass for me to bring my moto into the adjacent Customs Terminal secure compound. The gateman there stamped the pass and gave it back to me and let my moto in – my friend’s had to remain outside.

We left my moto on one side of a huge open area with large trucks and trailers along the other side. We went through a second security gate back to the officebuilding.

Again at Room 27 a further form were given to my friend in exchange for the entry pass. I am usually very keen to see and understand everything but, so as not to hold things up, from now on I left it to him. We crossed a small lobby to Room28 where a man looked at my PRP Passport, the vehicle’s UK registration document, the manufacturers Certificate of Conformity (I had previously asked for it from the originating dealer in UK when I bought it) listing full data of this specific, individual, moto. Having looked at everything and asked a few questions, he sent us to an office in another building.

In the second building two guys (also motorcyclists, which maybe helped) used their computer to prepare several sets of forms, each of about 5 or 6 sheets.This was mostly filled in with information in our documents. They then said we needed a full vehicle ‘identification’ file including details and photos. We could do it ourselves but they suggested a firm on-site that does it immediately for 2,500руб. We agreed, I paid.

I then signed every page of the sets of forms. We were sent back through the security gate to the Terminal compound as the photographer might have questions or need information. He was already there, busy taking photos of the moto from all angles, the VIN number on the frame, the engine number (I didn’t know where it was, but he did!) and the instrument panel switched on to show the total distance reading.

Back through the security gate, to the two guy’s office. There we waited for the file, chatting with them. After about 15 minutes the photographer came in pointing out my Schwacke valuation was based on the 2013 date of manufacture (from the Certificate of Conformity) whereas it was first registered in 2014 (in the UK Registration document). For 500Руб they provided a replacement Schwacke and completed the identification ‘file’ that ran to about 10 pages.

The two guys then checked the ‘file’ with my document originals and their computerforms. After a few more minor queries, they put it all in a plastic file and sent us with it back to room 28.

In room 28 again, the other person there took over. She was a senior lady (in rank but not years) in a green customs uniform – the only person we saw in a uniform. She went through everything in the plastic file, asked a few questions and finally used her computer to calculate the amount of Duty, Sales Tax and Fee I had to pay. The amount is based on the date of first registration, Schwacke valuation, engine cubic capacity and power output. David B provided a link to a calculator noted the most favourable is between 3 and 5 years old. Mine was now 16 months old since first registration. The on-line calculator was 80Руб different from the official figure – probably due to slightly different exchange rate times.

We then went to an adjacent room which was a small cashier branch of a bank. The cashier took photocopies of my PRP Passport, Propiska and ИНН certificate; then she counted my cash. I noticed at the security window a ‘card pin keypad’ terminal so maybe it could have been paid by bank debit card from a RUS Руб account.

The bank wanted a 2% bank fee and issued a two part receipt for the customs element and a separate receipt for their fee.

Back in Room 28 the senior lady checked the two part receipt, retained one part ands aid to come back the next day after 11.00am. It seems that as well as the receipt, they require independent proof of the receipt of the money into Customs bank account and that would be visible the next day. This might be because this was now late afternoon, nearing their closing time. As the moto was under Customs control in their security compound we were not allowed to remove it until Customs procedure was completed.
It was a good job we went on two motos!

Next day we returned to room 28 where the lady immediately nodded, smiled and produced the ПТС (Vehicle Technical Passport) for the ГИВДД vehicle registration.

We went back across the lobby to room 27 to get a pass to take the moto out of the Customs Terminal compound, to be presented with a bill for 5,000Руб. This was a completely separate charge for the (compulsory) use of the security facility of the terminal.

As she had retained my original UK registration certificate, the lady said the UK registration plate(s) should be removed but I can use the moto on RUS roads for up to 10 days from the date of the ПТС without any plates (See Section E).

There is no purpose in trying to be smart with false purchase invoices etc as anything unrealistic causes delay requiring explanation and anyway ultimately the sum payable is based on the Schwacke valuation.

Finally I asked about the return of my TP deposit payment and if this was possible in Moscow. It is only obtainable from the Customs office where the money was paid– so much for “joined –up” bureaucracy systems! They will require the original TP form, receipt and to see the ПТС, as well as my identity details. It can be reclaimed anytime for up to three years.
As I drive/ride to or through the LV border at least a couple of times a year that will not be too inconvenient. They make the repayment by bank transfer – which takes a month or two to arrive.

SECTION C.PERMANENT IMPORT -pre-arranged arrival

My knowledge of this is sketchy and not first hand. Others may know more and can replace or amend what I have below via the Admins.

You go out of RUS, buy the vehicle and get it registered there in your own name.You then leave the vehicle somewhere outside RUS while you return with the Registration document in your name plus Invoice etc.

Take the documentation to one of a regional vehicle Customs office (for Moscow listed in Section B) and more or less follow the procedure in Section B, apart from the photo file, and pay an estimated Duty deposit.They will give you a receipt and form. You exit Russia to collect the vehicle and drive/ride it back across the border (as Section A), presenting to Customs control the duty deposit forms.

Once in Russia you return, with the vehicle, to the regional vehicle Customs office to complete the process. This is as in Section B. There will be a final valuation and calculation that is adjusted from the Duty Deposit and exchange rate changes. Any shortfall must be paid and any surplus will be returned by bank transfer. They then issue the ПТС (Vehicle Technical Passport) for the ГИВДД Police registration.


SECTION D. PEMANENT IMPORT- vehicle already in RUS as a Temporary Import

I write here from various bits of information learned from various Russian friends. I welcome a fuller write up from someone who has done this.

This is if for those with a vehicle already here under Section A (Temporary Import). If you have a long term Visa/Permit, TRP or recently issued PRP, you can decide to pay Customs Duty and get it a RUS Registration.

Jump to Section B (Permanent Import – turning up at the border with the vehicle), but ignore the border procedure – you are already here and have a Customs Declaration. Thereafter it is exactly the same documentation and procedure, without having paid a Customs Deposit at the border – and not having to go back to the border again to get it repaid.


As with buying a vehicle privately or from a dealer, you must deal with the ГИВДД yourself (or pay someone) to get it registered.

From the date of purchase or Customs issuing the ПТС you have 10 days to get a registration and plates for it. Failure is an Administrative Offence that gets you a fine and, more problematic, one of your ‘lives’ before having your Visa/Permit cancelled and being refused entry to Russia.

For the imported moto, I did this alone and my lack of Russian was no problem. However, I had done the process a year earlier, with a Russian friend with me, when I bought a new car here.

You must take with you the vehicle itself, ПТС, Insurance Certificate (you can insure without a registration number using the VIN), Passport (preferably with Notarised Translation) and if separate your PRP passport and Propiska/Registration.

There are several locations around Moscow. Having been there before, I went to the one on the north east section of the 3rd Ring opposite the Troika Shopping Centre. On arrival, in the main office building, you book an appointment on a ticket machine. There was a receptionist who assisted me – seeing the ПТС and realising what I was there for. You can chose from any available time and date from the present and in the following week (at least) and even for other centres. These are requested in half hour slots but your ticket will specify a specific 10 minute band within that half hour.

In Хал1 (Waiting Room 1), the large screen called my ticket number to a window. There I handed over all the documents. The lady copied various details into her computer and eventually gave back the documents plus a printed sheet and a payment advice.

I took the payment slip to a terminal out in the street (behind a filling station office). There you select the category of transaction as mentioned on the payment slip, and enter your name and address – you have the option of changing the Cyrillic keyboard to an English one. You then feed in the required amount in notes. For the moto it was 2,350Руб – cars were 2,850Руб.The machine also requires a further 150Руб fee. Beware – it doesn’t give change! It issues a detailed receipt.

Take the vehicle into the adjacent Road Police ‘inspection’ compound. Here they take photos of the vehicle and the VIN number. In the shed, they check their photos with the printed sheet issued in Хал1, stamp and sign it and give it back. You must remove the vehicle from the compound (parking is very limited in the area).

Go back into the main office building, go to Хал2 and hand in all the original set of documents you took, plus the receipt and stamped printed sheet. In about half an hour your name is called out and they return your original set of documents together with the small laminated Registration Certificate and the metal registration number plate(s).

Job done!

I noticed some people fixing the number plates on their cars outside the office. This may be a legal requirement, but for both my car and now the moto I took them home to do this later.

Unlike other countries, such as UK and France where most accessory shops will prepare and sell you new ones while you wait, in Russia there are only ‘official’ State issued plates. If they become damaged, stolen or lost you can only obtain replacements from ГИВДД or their appointee.

As the registered Owner of the vehicle, you are liable for the vehicle’s wrongdoings, etc and responsible for those plates until the vehicle is sold, scrapped or exported. Unless the new owner takes over the registration number (and plates), you should return the plates to ГИВДД and get yourself ‘signed off’ from the vehicle.



OK, it may all sound horrific but it’s really no more tedious than the running around for the TRP/PRP processes AND without the giving of blood – only money!

Is it worth it? For me, YES, for two reasons. It saved money and I was able to have here the moto of choice that was not obtainable here through dealers.

Greatly changed exchange rates over the period skew meaningful direct cost comparison, but as a guide I bought the moto new in the UK when the tax paid, retail price in 2013/14 was £5,050. Before any negotiated price that comprised £4,210 plus VAT of £840. Being non-resident in UK, and the dealer agreeing to operate the Tax Free Vehicles for Visitors Scheme, the moto can be used throughout the EU for up to 12 months without paying VAT and without UK’s annual Road Tax. Russian duty and costs (including the add-ons mentioned) amounted to 121,000 Руб – at today’s rates that is £1,226. So it ended up costing £386 (or 7.5%) more than the original full UK retail price. The same model is not available here, but I checked a couple of years ago and found showroom prices of moto models available in both countries were up to 35% higher here than UK. I guess with the Руб‘s subsequent decline that difference has grown as the foreign manufacturers cost to dealers would now require a significantly larger amount of Руб.

I will do the same again when next replacing my car or moto, encouraged by having learned the process. I would probably follow Section B again as it saves around trip to UK or wherever I purchase it. The downside is tying up the Deposit money for a while and going to reclaim it.

My Russian friend who assisted me at Zelenograd also learned sufficient to afterwards declare he now intends to do the same next year, buying a moto in UK. I will reciprocate his assistance in the UK end of his purchase etc.

Please post questions and comments on the separate thread…965#post668965



2017 update: Customs now grants non-resident foreigners 12-month temporary import permits at the border, regardless of their visa type or validity period. There is no longer any need to extend the permit after three months.
For non-resident Russian citizens, they grant 183 days minus any time already spent with a car temporarily imported in the current year. I.e. non-resident Russian citizens have the right to temporarily import a vehicle for up to 183 days per year.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email