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Layover in Moscow

Does anyone know what happens if you have a layover in Moscow and don´t plan to leave the airport? Do you still need a visa, go through immigration/passport control or is it all just air side? It would be a flight from Romania to the US.

Posted by
5308 posts

If you are an American citizen, I would check what information the Russian Embassy in Washington has on its website for Americans visiting or transiting Russia.

(If Canadian, check the website of their Embassy in Ottawa, etc).

Posted by
1380 posts

I had just been doing some reading on Russian Visas, myself, in advance of an upcoming trip.

This is the information you'll want to read from the US Embassy:
https://ru.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/russian-visas/

The relevant excerpt:
Travelers intending to transit through Russia en route to a third country must have a Russian transit visa. Even travelers who are simply changing planes in Moscow or another international airport in Russia for an onward destination will be asked to present a transit visa issued by a Russian Embassy or Consulate. Russian authorities may refuse to allow a U.S. citizen who does not have a transit visa to continue with his or her travel, obliging the person to immediately return to the point of embarkation at the traveler’s own expense.

I haven't researched the specific cost of a Transit Visa, but a regular tourist Visa can cost $300 and more.

Posted by
316 posts

That is correct: check your itinerary first; it's it's the same terminal of the same airport or different terminals of the same airport booked under the same booking, you will be staying airside.
If that's not the case, you'll need a transit visa (which, frankly, doesn't make sense if you don't want to leave the airport anyway - you'd probably want to return your tickets and book a different route).

Posted by
1380 posts

This is the company that the RS Tours recommend using to get a Russian Visa. This site says that layovers less than 24 hours do not require a Russian VISA whereas longer layovers do:

https://www.passportvisasexpress.com/visa_services/russia/russia_washington_dc_embassy/transit_visa

Excerpt from the website

No Visa Required if:
Transit visas are not required for lay-overs, which last less than 24 hours. You must stay in the international terminal of the airport. You cannot leave this area for any reason. You must be on a direct flight through the territory of Russia or travel by international airline and change flights in the same airport within 24 hours to transit without a visa.

Visa Required:
Travelers who are laying over for more than 24 hours in Moscow or another international airport in Russia and who continuing onward to a final destination will be asked to present a Russian transit visa issued by a Russian Embassy or Consulate. Russian authorities may refuse to allow a traveler to continue on to the final destination if the person is not in possession of a valid Russian transit visa. Travelers who are not allowed to proceed are immediately returned to the point of embarkation at the traveler's sole expense.

Posted by
316 posts

I can't really imagine someone willingly subjecting themselves to an airside layover of 24 hours or more...

Posted by
1380 posts

Agreed, just hanging out at the airport (an airside layover) wouldn't be much fun. The idea of a 24+ hour layover might pertain to those who would schedule a long layover to allow a local visit. While you might easily do that in some countries, in Russia it would require a VISA.

Posted by
154 posts

Thanks all. Think I´ll get a ticket that doesn´t have me going to Russia just to make it easier on me.

Posted by
1042 posts

Thanks all. Think I´ll get a ticket that doesn´t have me going to
Russia just to make it easier on me.

That sounds like a great idea, a transfer in the EEA would make things a lot easier. Most major European airlines fly to Bucharest so you should have any trouble finding a good flight.