Pre-Arrival Requirements

You will be advised by your relocation contact as to passport and visa requirements, medical examinations, inoculations and air and sea freight. Also check the International Mobility Policy.
The most useful thing you can do before arrival in Moscow is to learn the Russian Cyrillic alphabet and to translate the letters into the Latin alphabet. Knowing the order in which they appear in the alphabet also makes it much easier to find a word in a dictionary.

The majority of road signs, food labels, advertising and road maps are written in the Cyrillic alphabet. Some words do translate into the same word with the same meaning as the Latin word.
It is a good idea to buy a pocket phrasebook, (Lonely Planet or The Rough Guide) in your first few weeks to get to grips with essential questions and sayings.


Some medicines are not available in Russia, so if you require specific medications, check with your GP if they are available in Russia. If not, bring adequate quantities with you. Please note that the toothpaste in Russia does not contain fluoride, so this might be an item you want to bring with you.

Useful documents

  • Passport/ Visas (Tourist). To enter the Russian Federation, you and your family will each require a passport, which must have a minimum of three months validity, after the expiry of your Russian visa. All visitors to Russia must apply for visas before entry, including children.

  • Driving license. When driving a car in Russia, you will need to keep your license with you at all times to show the police. This includes
    • Valid international drivers‟ license or license plus translation
    • Other registration documents provided by Shell including Power of Attorney which show you are permitted to drive the car. Not all foreign licences are recognised and an International licence is essential. They can be obtained through AA in the UK, ANWB in the Netherlands, and AAA in the US.

Vaccinations and Medical Checks

For this information please refer to your relocation adviser/medical contact in your current location. EPR HSE: Health on the web


Changing money

The unit of currency is the Ruble (Rbl), divided into 100 kopecks, with the following denominations:
Notes: 10, 50, 100, 500, 1000 and 5000 Rubles
Coins: 1, 2, and 5, 10 Rubles and 1, 5, 10 and 50 kopecks.
Russian people are used to counting money in dollars, e.g. prices of apartments, cars, restaurant bills and the services of cleaners, nannies and drivers etc as it is considered more reliable.
WARNING: Prices may be quoted in shops in “УЕ” this means unit equivalent. The units may be in USD or Euros so beware of the different exchange rates! If in doubt – ask. Even where prices are quoted in “YE”, payment should always be in RUR as it is technically illegal to use foreign currency.
Places to change money

Credit cards

These are widely accepted in shops and restaurants but it is advisable to check before getting to the cash desk, as some hypermarkets (e.g. Auchan) take only cash. Also when purchasing theatre tickets you usually need to pay with cash.
Generally you will be asked to provide photo ID when using your credit card so have your passport with you. When paying with cash you are often asked for smaller ruble coins or notes. In large shops they also ask for a discount card. It is useful to obtain one for the shops you visit regularly.
We recommend that you keep a copy of your credit/bank card numbers and their emergency phone numbers in a safe place in case your cards are stolen. Keep these with copies of your passport, visa and immigration form.

Traveler‟s Cheques

These are not commonly accepted.


It is possible to bring pets to Moscow; there are adequate veterinary services, including ones, which will visit you in your home. Pet products are readily available in Moscow.
Companies supplying complete pet moving and transportation services from:
UK: -
Globally: -

The following offer many veterinarian services including all import and export documentation and are associated with Movet Vet Clinic:
Dr Yuri (DVM) and Valerie Shishmaryov (English speaking)
Tel: - (+7 495) 200-03-88
Tel: +7 (8)-501-439-39-56 Website
Veterinary Clinic Movet (Dogs, Cats and Small Animals)
Ulitsa Vasilisy Kozhinoy d.23, Metro Filyevsky Park ,Tel: 142-01-04, 142-01-05

Regulations, Vaccinations and Quarantine

In order to import your cat or dog, it needs to be vaccinated against rabies. In addition to the original rabies vaccination certificate you need an international health certificate dated maximum 3 days prior to the departure date. Most vets in the Netherlands can issue this certificate but it needs to be attested by the regional office of the „Rijkskeuringdienst voor vee en vlees'. In the United Kingdom a Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries veterinarian must issue the certificate. Rules and regulations change often so check with the Russian embassy in your country before departure to check if anything else is required. You also need the original general vaccination record . Make sure you keep copies of the above three certificates and carry these with you as customs authorities may require them. Your pet should also be de-wormed a few days before coming.

Document Languages

If the original veterinary documents are not issued in English, they should be translated into English and/or Russian if at all possible and the translation should be notarized. This can be done either through a Russian Embassy, Russian Consulate or a certified translator's/notary's office in your origin country. Documents issued in English are acceptable for Russian customs.

Import and Registration of Your Pet at the Airport

It is recommended that you register your pet with the airport veterinary station upon your arrival at the airport in Moscow (Sheremetyevo II or Domodedovo). This customs veterinary station is called Pogranichney Veterenarney Poonkt . The vet at this customs point will stamp your pet's health certificate and will put a date on it, thereby officially admitting your pet into the Russian Federation.
Registering your pet for import into the Russian Federation is the only way to prove that you brought it into the country. This is especially important for dogs and any exotic animals and will facilitate an eventual re-export of your animal from Russia. It is essential that you keep all documents concerning the import of your pet to Russia in a safe place until you re-export the animal from the Russian Federation. The vets and customs officers at Moscow's airport will most likely not speak English . Dr Yuri and Valeria Shishmaryov (telephone numbers given above) can meet you at the airport and help you facilitate the import customs clearance and registration of your pet.

Air Sea freight

Air freight

Normal excess baggage entitlements apply to staff and their families travelling to Moscow. Since these entitlements may vary from time to time, staff should seek advice from the Expatriate Transfer Advisors or HR department in Moscow before departure.

Sea freight

The company will assist in clearance and delivery of your unaccompanied personal effects. Shipments usually arrive within 4 to 6 weeks.

Hand luggage

Duty free allowances for persons over the age of 18 years are:

  • 400 cigarettes or 500gm of other tobacco products
  • 2 litres of alcoholic beverages
  • A reasonable amount of perfume for personal use
  • Other goods to the value of US$ 1,000 for personal use only.

Travelling with children

Russia is still one of those places where, if young children accompany you, it is acceptable to walk to the front of a queue, for example at immigration. It is advisable to approach the immigration officer in as small a groups as possible and handover passports one at the time.

The essentials

What to take

Electrical plugs are the two pin European standard 220V Electricity. It is possible to buy all electrical appliances here in Moscow.
Electrical Store and see the Living in Moscow book for details of more shops.

Recommended things to bring with you:

It is hard to sum up a list of food items, most products are available in Moscow, it is just a matter of knowing where to get it! Due to import regulations products are not always “in stock”, so whenever you see a special item, it is advisable to stock up.

Baby and children‟s equipment and clothes
Virtually all necessities can be bought here but you must remember that all imported items are likely to cost anything from 10-30% more than in the West. Dyestsky Mir is a local children's shop were you could find car seats, pushchairs and so on. The British Chain store "Mothercare" has several shops in Moscow. The Early Learning Centre can be found as well.

Sports equipment
Downhill and Cross-country skis, boots, snowboards, ice skates, tennis rackets and all other sports equipment are worth bringing if you already have them but they are widely available in Moscow to purchase and are not significantly more expensive. However squash rackets and baseball equipment are not available.

Bikes are useful if you are going to live in a residential compound on the edge of the city or if you are prepared to transport it to a park. It is not however recommended that you use them in the city.
English or your own Language Items

Christmas and other occasion cards – although most charities do produce Christmas cards.
Books and magazines (There is a limited range available)
Board games
Magazines and newspapers – it may be worth taking out subscriptions for these as, unlike most other European cities, it is virtually impossible to buy international newspapers and magazines here (even at the airports). If you do see them in Stockman they will usually be between $10 and $20 a copy.

Recommended things to leave behind;
Wooden antiques and favourite pieces of furniture might be better of if you leave them in your base country. The humidity level can be as low as 20% so some wooden furniture develops splits and cracks.

Humidifier machines are widely available in electrical stores and most expats have one or two going 24 hrs. in their apartment or house, especially in winter, but it is not enough to save some types of wooden furniture.

Antiques and artworks must be registered with Russian customs during import customs clearance. The removal company at your departure country must take photos and make a list of the items and send them to the destination agent in Moscow before your shipment arrives. If this is not done you might have trouble re-exporting those items when you finish your contract in Russia, in particular, this concerns any item over 50 years old.

What to wear

Clothing of good quality is expensive in Moscow so it is advisable to bring plenty for all occasions. All buildings are very warm inside year round so heavy woolen clothes and thermal underwear is not useful except maybe for long walking excursions into the countryside. Shopping malls are very warm, so to dress in layers is a good tip. Even when cross-country skiing you will quickly become very warm. Trousers are much more common than skirts for winter wear due to the cold. Boots lined with wool, fur or fake fur are widely available for outdoor winter wear and essential.
A thick below-knee or full length coat, fur or down (waterproof) is the most necessary outer garment for women and they are widely available in a multitude of colours and styles at reasonable prices. Children wear all-in-one suits or ski-trousers with jacket and snow boots.
All of the European chain fashion and shoe stores can be found in the main streets and shopping malls. In the large local clothing markets bargains can be found from Turkey, China etc but are generally poor quality.
Theatres, museums and most restaurants have coat check facilities, which are mandatory but a very convenient service. In winter time it is common to carry a pair of dressy shoes in a bag to change into on arrival and you can then leave your winter boots at the “garderobe”.

On Arrival

At the Airport

Migration Card

The migration card completed upon arrival (or sometimes handed to you by the flight attendants on the plane) to Russia contains arrival and proposed departure details and will be stamped at passport control. Recently the procedure has changed, at Domedovo and Vnukova airport the migration card is filled in electronically (sometimes). If you arrive at Sheremeytova the card has to be filled in by yourself. Absolutely all travelers MUST complete the migration card and retain part of it to hand in upon leaving Russia. If it is not completed problems may occur upon leaving the country and with visa registration and so on. Everybody travelling to Russia and staying for a period of more than 7 working days has to register their visa with the local authorities. If your hotel registers your visa you will have to re-register when you leave the hotel if you go into private accommodation. The registration will be stamped onto this migration card and must be carried at all times as you may be asked for your documents at any time. Handover your passports to the visa department in the Shell office within 7 working days.

Foreign nationals are requested to fill in both parts of the Migration Card ("A" and "Б") and present it to the Border Control Officer along with their passports or other travel documents. Please see the attached sample of a migration card.

Please fill in the Migration Card clearly, without blots or corrections by pen in Russian or Roman block letters according to your travel document strictly in the correspondent blanks.
For section "Purpose of the Visit" please mark:
Employment (Работа) if you or your dependants are traveling with on a working visa;
Business (Коммерческий) if you are traveling on a business visa;
The Name of the "Organisation to be visited in Russia" is advised in the visa support/telex confirmation you get from Shell office in Russia.
Please use mark "Х" to indicate your sex in the correspondent boxes.
Please be advised that according to the legislation in force foreign nationals entering the territory of the Russian Federation/Republic of Belarus must register in the local registration office of the Ministry of the Interior at the point of destination within 7 working days upon arrival or within 1 day in case of stay at a hotel or other organization rendering accommodation services.

It is important to know that:
The registration process is to be repeated upon every visit to Russia.
For these foreign nationals staying in a hotel, the registration will be handled by the hotel.
Your visas and migration cards will not be the proof of your registration.

Penalties for non-compliance:
Please note that violation of this law will result in the following heavy penalties levied on the person who breaks the law, on the president and chairman of the company, on the company. Alternatively the police may halt Company operation for investigation for 90 days.

Please keep your part "Б" of the Migration Card during the period of your stay in the territory of the Russian Federation/Republic of Belarus and submit it to the Border Control Officer while passing departure passport control procedure.
Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Travel and Immigration Administrator Irina Klimova on irina.klimova@shell .com or your local company Administration (SPD,SGS,STRU, SEECO, CPC etc.)


Information regarding your transfer from the airport and initial accommodation arrangements is available from your HR contact and the Shell International Mobility Policy. Please refer to this before you travel.
You can request the VIP service at the airport to provide help with clearing customs and claiming luggage. The cost will be for your own account.

First night accommodation

The normal practice is a hotel or serviced apartment pending arrival of personal effects until suitable permanent accommodation is found. It is generally expected not to be in temporary accommodation for more than 30 days after initial arrival. However suitable housing is becoming difficult to find so stays in temporary accommodation do vary.


A member of Outpost Moscow team will contact you as soon as possible after your arrival - usually within a few days. At the first meet and greet you will receive a welcome package with useful information about life in Moscow.
If you have not already received a copy of “Living in Moscow” (4th edition), please request this book from Moscow Outpost department.

Note: There are several Shell companies and joint-venture companies in Russia, some of which are located in different offices. To assist communication with the new spouse and family – in particular where the employee is traveling at the time of their arrival or soon afterwards - we would ask the employee to contact an Outpost Team Member by email or by telephone either before his/her spouse/family arrive in Moscow - or as soon as possible thereafter.

-Welcome committee
Outpost holds monthly meetings to give you the opportunity to meet other spouses living in Moscow. You will be informed by email and the newsletter which is also available on the website.

-Transit accommodation, initial transport and company orientation.
Your HR contact will advise you regarding these arrangements. See also International Mobility Policy.

-Cultural Awareness Course
This can be organized by HR and is an interesting and informative introduction to Russia. The course will be held upon request.

Outpost Moscow

Office hours: On request
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