Driving In Russia

Many people are not aware that driving your car to Russia is not only straightforward, but is FREE for up to one year as long as it’s for your personal use. That is, you drive your foreign-registered car with your foreign license plates to Russia and you have up to one whole year temporary import tax-free to use it for your personal trips. There are some things to keep in mind before doing so, but they are all quite manageable. Read below to find out what you need to drive your car to Russia.

As a foreigner in Russia, you are allowed to temporarily import a vehicle registered outside of Russia for personal use for up to ONE year without being subject to import duties. The requirements for importing a vehicle temporarily are as follows:

  • the vehicle is registered outside of Russia
  • the vehicle is for personal use only
  • the vehicle is driven only by the person stated in the car title, no other person car drive the vehicle
  • the vehicle has valid insurance (either foreign or Russian)
  • you have a valid driver’s license
  • you must drive your vehicle out of Russia before the 1 year temporary import expires

Important details to note:

  1. You can obtain temporary Russian license plates at GiBDD in exchange for your foreign plates as long as you have valid registration longer than 3 months.
  2. You are likely to attract unwanted attention driving around with foreign plates from traffic police. Have your documents in order at all times. Speaking anything but Russian will typically cut the visit short and you’ll be let go without issues.
  3. Beware of the scam when your foreign license plates get stolen from off your vehicle. A phone number is left on your windshield to call, transfer money to and you are told where your plates are located. Either keep duplicate plates on your vehicle and the real plates safely inside the car or wherever you’re staying in Russia OR purchase anti-theft license plate frames.
  4. The temporary import is not tied to your visa. You can leave your vehicle in Russia while you travel outside Russia, however, don’t forget to drive your car out of Russia BEFORE the temporary import expires!

Crossing a Russian Border by Car

As long as you’re driving your own car into Russia, you won’t have any issues entering Russia with it. Obviously, you must have the usual documents on yourself and the car, but you should already have those in any case.

You’ll just need to fill out the temporary import form (formally known as passenger customs declaration) along with showing the usual documents. When entering into Russia, you’ll first go through the import process and then passport control. When leaving Russia, you’ll go through passport control and then provide your car documents along with the temporary import form you filled out when entering Russia. Download the temporary import form below. It’s a double-sided form. You’ll need TWO, one for them to keep and one for yourself to keep. Keep your copy whenever you’re driving so that you can prove your temporary import if traffic police ask for it.

Download the latest temporary import form below