What are the negatives of life in Russia

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General information for travelers

Since March 2020, the Russian land borders have been closed until further notice.
Since November 2020, all those entering the Federal Republic of Germany who have been in the Russian Federation or another risk area in the ten days prior to entry have to go into quarantine for ten days after entering the federal territory. So that the health authorities can check compliance with the quarantine, these travelers must fill out a digital entry form.

The Federal Foreign Office has put together information about COVID-19 for travelers and about exceptions to the COVID-19 travel warning on its website.

Due to the spread of COVID-19 and the associated restrictions in international air and travel traffic as well as adverse effects on public life, the Federal Foreign Office warns against unnecessary tourist trips to the Russian Federation.

The travel and safety instructions of the Federal Foreign Office apply.

Travel to the Russian Federation and Visa to the Russian Federation

The government of the Russian Federation has made a regulation according to which foreigners are generally not allowed to enter the Russian Federation. There are few exceptions for

  1. Non-Russian citizens who have permanent residence in RUS,
  2. Drivers, the crews of aircraft, sea and inland waterway vessels, train crews,
  3. Diplomats and service passport holders (even without a visa for short trips),
  4. Transit passengers,
  5. Close family members, guardians or carers of Russian nationals,
  6. Travel related to the death of a close relative,
  7. One-time trips to care for sick close family members, carers and guardians,
  8. Medical treatment,
  9. Highly qualified specialists (HQS),
  10. Maintenance personnel with permission,
  11. Participants in the State Voluntary Resettlement Program.

These restrictions no longer apply to German citizens and persons with permanent residence permits for the Federal Republic of Germany if they enter Russia by air from Germany.

Russian visas

The goodwill regulation introduced by the decree of April 18, 2020 (No. 274) for foreigners who overstay their Russian visas will no longer apply to German citizens once the previous travel restrictions have been lifted. Now, German citizens whose Russian visas expired after March 15, 2020 must also apply for an extension of their visas within 90 days of the travel restrictions being lifted.

Travelers whose visas expired before March 15, 2020 are still required to register and apply for an exit visa.

Travelers whose visas have expired should be at the airport or at the land border early when leaving and be prepared for a longer passport control. It makes sense to have a copy of the presidential decree with you and to present it if necessary.

e-Visa

For business, tourist or humanitarian short stays, the introduction of e-Visa for the entire Russian Federation was planned for January 1, 2021. In view of the current entry restrictions, however, no e-visas are currently being issued.

PCR test

People who do not have Russian citizenship must provide proof of a negative test result for COVID-19 according to the polymerase chain reaction method (PCR) to enter Russia, even if they only want to travel through in transit. The confirmation must be printed out and in Russian or English. The negative test result must not have been determined earlier than three calendar days before the arrival of the aircraft. Sometimes a PCR test is also required when entering the country by land.

Russian citizens entering the Russian Federation from abroad have had to undergo a corona test twice within five days of their arrival since May 1, 2021. At least one day should elapse between the first and second PCR test. In addition, officials from the Russian health service Rospotrebnazor have started randomly testing foreigners and stateless people for COVID-19 at airports.

Duty to self-isolate

The government of the Russian Federation has made a regulation according to which foreigners are generally not allowed to enter the Russian Federation. There are a few exceptions. for holders of permanent residence permits for the Russian Federation. From July 15, 2020, the previous obligation to go into 14-day self-isolation after entry can no longer apply to all foreigners arriving from abroad if they present proof of a negative COVID-19 test. The negative COVID-19 test cannot be older than 72 hours.
Foreigners who enter the Russian Federation to pursue gainful employment are still obliged to self-isolate for 14 days. This is independent of the obligation to submit the PCR test.
Decisions about infection control measures lie with the governors. These infection control measures can therefore vary depending on the location.

Travel to the Federal Republic of Germany: Direct travel from Russia, via Finland or Estonia

German nationals can leave Russia by land and enter Finland or Estonia in order to continue their journey to Germany from there.
With the entry into force of the Russian Government's Decree No. 1445-r of May 29, 2020, foreigners who have a Russian permanent residence permit “Vid na zhitelstvo” can travel once from the Russian Federation to their home country. When you plan to leave the country, you should allow enough time for border controls and, to be on the safe side, a printout of the decree should be carried.

With decree no. 1170-r dated April 29, 2020, the Russian government announced a regulation according to which people who have Russian citizenship (also in addition to another) and who have a permanent residence permit for another state can leave the Russian Federation once to attend to travel to their usual place of residence abroad. The decree does not specify the border crossing points to be used. Those leaving who are also Russian citizens should allow sufficient time for border controls when they are planning to leave the country, carry a printout of the decree with them to be on the safe side and be able to prove that their habitual stay is outside of Russia and that their stay in Russia was not intended to be permanent was.
The regulations for entry into the federal territory must be observed, they can include: can be viewed on the website of the German representations in Russia.

For people resident in Russia, the entry restrictions stated on the website of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Construction and Homeland apply. A person is resident where they either have their domicile or their usual place of residence.
These people are only allowed to enter Germany if they have an important function or if their trip is absolutely necessary. Details of the entry restrictions and the current exemptions can be found on the linked website.

Compulsory test

There is a test requirement for travelers. The test result must be in English, French or German; the test may have been carried out a maximum of 48 hours before entry. More detailed requirements for the tests are published on the RKI website. According to this, in addition to methods of nucleic acid amplification technology (PCR, LAMP, TMA) for direct detection of the corona virus SARS-CoV-2, rapid antigen tests are also recognized if they meet certain minimum criteria. There are no exceptions to the compulsory test for vaccinated persons.

Direct travel Russia - Germany

There are currently direct flights from St. Petersburg to Germany several times a week. Operating airlines are Lufthansa, Aeroflot and Nordwind. The Consulate General does not guarantee that these flights will actually take place and assumes no liability.

There are international flight connections to Egypt, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Germany, Finland, Greece, Great Britain, the Netherlands, the Maldives, Switzerland, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Venezuela and the United Arab Emirates. These connections are usually from Moscow. The airports of Amsterdam, Geneva, Istanbul and London (Luton) are served from St. Petersburg. In principle, these flights are open to all EU citizens and people who meet the current entry requirements. When these flights are to take place, where and how the tickets can be purchased and whether certain requirements must be met for the use of these flight connections, must be inquired from the operating airlines. The travelers must organize the purchase of the flight tickets and the organization from the place of stay to the airports in St. Petersburg or Moscow and the onward journey to their respective destination independently and at their own expense.

Frankfurt / Main Airport (FRA) can be used as a transit option without entering the country. Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) can be used as a transit option without entry if entry and onward travel is via Terminal 1. Transit at French airports is currently only possible in order to return to one's place of residence outside the Schengen area or for reasons that are absolutely necessary for medical, business or family reasons.

Travel across Finland

Finland still allows entry for the purpose of transit to Germany. The airline FinnAir offers weekly flights between St. Petersburg and Helsinki. The Russian-Finnish crossings Brusnichnoye / Nuijamaa and Torfyanovka / Valimaa, which are closest to St. Petersburg, will only be passable for individual travelers from February 19, 2021 from 7:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Both border crossing points can only be crossed with one vehicle. The border cannot be crossed by taxis. Even at the pre-inspection, several kilometers before the border crossing point, travelers who are not traveling in vehicles are prevented from continuing their journey. In addition to the flight connections, the following ferry connections exist from Finland, with which an exit from Finland is possible:

  • Helsinki (FIN) - Travemünde (DEU) with Finnlines
  • Turku (FIN) - Mariehamm (Åland, FIN) - Stockholm (SWE) with Viking Line
  • Helsinki (FIN) - Tallinn (EST) with Tallink Silja

The ferries usually take vehicles with them.

Information on entering Finland can be found on the website of the Finnish Border Guard.

Travel across Estonia

At the Russian-Estonian crossing of Ivangorod / Narwa, the border can also be crossed on foot and from Narva you can continue your journey to Tallinn by bus, train, taxi or rental car. Entry with a Schengen visa or a national visa is not possible. It is recommended to wear mouth and nose masks at the border crossing point.

From Tallinn, planes run to Germany several times a week.

Information on entering Estonia can be found on the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

Travel across Latvia

Information on entering Latvia for the purpose of immediate onward travel to Germany can be found on the website of the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Quarantine regulations after entering the Federal Republic of Germany

The model ordinance on quarantine measures for incoming and outgoing travelers to combat the SARS-CoV-2 corona virus is a guide for the federal states and does not have any direct legal effects. Legal effects arise only from the individual ordinances of the federal states. All travelers are called upon to inquire about the regulations in the country of destination. The regulations of the federal states can be accessed centrally via the following website:
https://www.bundesregierung.de/breg-de/themen/coronavirus/corona-bundeslaender-1745198
All travelers are called upon to inform themselves about any existing bans on accommodation before their trip.

Principle of ten-day quarantine (§§ 1 and 3 Model Regulation)

In principle, all persons who come from a risk area in accordance with Section 2 No. 17 of the Infection Protection Act (IfSG) (see www.rki.de/covid-19-risikogebiete) must enter the federal territory or at any point in the last ten days have stayed in a risk area before entering the federal territory, have placed themselves in self-quarantine for ten days. The Russian Federation is considered a risk area within the meaning of Section 2 No. 17 IfSG. Those affected can exempt themselves from the quarantine obligation at the earliest on the fifth day after entry with a negative test result. Molecular biological tests (PCR tests) are currently accepted from all EU member states as well as from countries listed on the website of the Robert Koch Institute.
For people who enter the Federal Republic of Germany after a stay in regions with a particularly high risk of infection, additional rules apply. These include regions with particularly high case numbers (high incidence areas) and regions in which certain virus variants (virus variant areas) have spread. The Russian Federation is neither a high incidence nor a virus variant area. The additional provisions applicable to travelers from these areas can be found on the website of the Robert Koch Institute (PCR test to be presented upon entry).

Digital entry registration (DEA) (§ 1 Paragraph 2 Model Regulation)

Since November 8, 2020, people entering Germany who have stayed in a risk area in the ten days prior to entry have been required to register their entry on the website www.einreiseanmeldung.de in advance.
The received confirmation of the digital entry registration (DEA) must be carried on entry and presented at the request of the carrier / the authority responsible for cross-border traffic control; if a DEA was not possible in exceptional cases, a written substitute registration must be made. In addition, the competent authority must be informed immediately if typical symptoms of an infection with SARS-CoV-2 (cough, fever, loss of taste) occur within ten days of entry.

Exceptions for certain groups of people (Section 2 Model Regulation)

These exemptions only apply if the persons concerned do not have any typical SARS-CoV-2 symptoms (cough, fever, runny nose, loss of smell / taste). If these symptoms occur within ten days of entry, a test center or doctor must be consulted immediately. The following groups of people are exempt from the obligation to quarantine and test if they provide appropriate evidence:

  • Passing through without a stopover; they have to leave the area as quickly as possible in order to complete the transit,
  • People who were in the risk area for less than 24 hours as part of border traffic,
  • People entering the risk area for a maximum stay of 72 hours, in the case of:
    • Visiting relatives of the 1st and 2nd degree, spouses and life partners with common household / common custody and access rights,
    • Travel by high-ranking diplomats and government representatives (provided that hygiene / protection concepts are adhered to)
    • People who professionally transport goods / goods across borders (if hygiene / protection concepts are adhered to)
    • People whose work in the health sector is urgently required (provided that hygiene / protection concepts are adhered to)
  • Cross-border commuters who return to their place of residence at least once a week if the trip from Germany to the risk area or vice versa is demonstrably necessary for the purpose of professional training / professional training (provided that hygiene / protection concepts are adhered to)
  • Soldiers and members of foreign armed forces i. S. d. NATO troop statute
  • People who travel to Germany to take up work for at least three weeks, provided that precautions are taken to avoid contact in the first ten days after entry.

Exemptions from the quarantine obligation for people with full vaccination protection or those who have recovered

For travelers from the Russian Federation, since May 9, 2021, there is no longer any quarantine obligation for people with full vaccination protection or genesis.
Vaccinated is someone who has received all the necessary doses of a COVID-19 vaccine listed on the Paul Ehrlich Institute website. Sputnik V is not one of those vaccines. At least 14 days must have passed since the last dose of the vaccine. In addition, vaccinated persons must not have any symptoms related to COVID-19.
Anyone who can present a positive PCR test that is no younger than 28 days and no older than six months and is also symptom-free is considered to have recovered.

Exceptions to the quarantine obligation for other groups of people, provided that the test result is negative (Section 2 (3) Model Regulation)

By submitting proof and a negative test (in German, English or French), which was carried out no more than 48 hours prior to entry or upon entry, other people can exempt themselves from the quarantine obligation, e.g. B. Persons in the health sector, in the area of ​​public safety / order, diplomats and government representatives, judicial officers, police officers and others, see Section 2, Paragraph 3 of the Model Regulation. These exemptions only apply if the persons concerned do not have any typical SARS-CoV-2 symptoms (cough, fever, runny nose, loss of smell / taste). If these symptoms occur within ten days of entry, a test center or doctor must be consulted immediately.

Prevention measures in Germany

The pandemic-related restrictions in the Federal Republic of Germany continue to apply. In certain areas, such as on buses and trains, in shops, old people's homes or at certain workplaces, it is mandatory to wear medical masks. The medical masks include so-called surgical masks and masks of the KN95 or FFP2 standards. In public space you can meet or stay with the members of your own household and another household up to a group size of no more than five people. In all districts with a seven-day incidence of over 200 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants, the radius of movement can be limited to a radius of 15 kilometers from the place of residence. There is also a ban on accommodation for tourist stays in hotels and restaurants.

Russian visas

By decree of April 18, 2020 (No. 274), the Russian President suspended the deadline for the temporary stay and registration of foreigners in the Russian Federation until June 15, 2020 if the deadlines between March 15 and December 15, 2020 June 2020 will pass and the foreigners have been properly registered beforehand. This regulation was extended until June 15, 2021. This means that when the validity of the Russian visa expires, an extension must only be applied for from June 15, 2021. It is also not necessary for this group of people to obtain an exit visa.
Travelers whose visas have expired should be at the airport or at the land border early when leaving and be prepared for a longer passport control. It makes sense to have a copy of the presidential decree with you and to present it if necessary.
Travelers whose visas expired before March 15, 2020 are still required to register and apply for an exit visa.

e-Visa
For business, tourist or humanitarian short stays, the introduction of e-Visa for the entire Russian Federation was planned for January 1, 2021. In view of the current entry restrictions, however, no e-visas are currently being issued.

Residence of foreigners who require a visa in the federal territory

Schengen visa: The ordinance issued on June 17, 2020 by the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Home Affairs to extend the temporary exemption of holders of expiring Schengen visas and for the temporary exemption for transit for the purpose of leaving the Schengen area from the requirement of a Residence permit due to the COVID-19 pandemic (2nd Schengen-COVID-19 pandemic regulation) expired on September 30, 2020; no successor ordinance was issued. The Federal Republic of Germany has thus returned to the normal case stipulated by law, that the requirements for issuing a residence permit are checked on a case-by-case basis. Further information is available on the website of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, for Building and Home Affairs.

National visas: Holders of national visas (D visas) should contact the immigration authorities responsible for their place of residence in good time before their residence permit expires.

Stay informed: crisis prevention list - already registered?

All Germans who live abroad - even temporarily - can have themselves entered on a crisis prevention list ("ELEFAND") at the German diplomatic mission responsible for them. Registration takes place online at http://elefand.diplo.de
After you have returned to Germany, please de-register from the crisis prevention list or - if you are moving to a third country - register with the German diplomatic mission responsible for you. After you have returned to Germany, please update your ELEFAND profile.

Please note that the situation can change very quickly. Please follow the news closely, trust proven news sources and critically question social media news to prevent the spread of fake news. The travel and safety information from the Federal Foreign Office on the Russian Federation represents the latest findings.