Journal Pictures Tracks Links About
Accommodations Formalities Maintenance Miscellaneous FAQ

  28.07.2006 & 28.08.2006 Formalities: Russia
Date of Border Crossing 28.7.2006
Point of Entry
  1. Semy coming from Kazakhstan
  2. Tashanta coming from Western Mongolia
Passport and Visa Passport has to be valid for at least another 6 months and you need a visa to enter Russia. See Additional Information on how to get a visa for Russia in Ankara.

We did not have a valid insurance for Russia. So we were issued an insurance at the border. We bought the minimal insurance which is valid for 14 days.
It is the same insurance at both borders, but not the same price. When we came in from Kazakhstan we paid 480rubles per bike. At Tashanta we paid almost double 862 rubles (each). Go figure!

Drivers License Did not get checked, but I am sure that officially you are required to have one.
Motorcycle papers All you need is your 'vehicle passport' (vehicle registration papers).
License plates Own license plates are sufficient.
How it went

More likely than not, there will be other cars in front of you. Walk up to the officers at the front of the line and hand them your passport and vehicle registration paper. He will copy this information into a big book and then hand you a docket. Get back into line and wait until they wave you on.

At the Immigration office fill out an Entry/Exit form. Again the challenge here is that there are no English forms available. Either use a dictionary or check against any other custom form you might still have leftover form another Central Asian country!
With the filled out Entry/Exit form and docket in hand go up to the counter hand  in docket, passport and form. Hopefully your visa is ok, then you get an entry stamp and the bottom half of the Entry/Exit card back. Don't lose this thing. On this you have to have a least one registration stamp when you leave the country or you will be in trouble!

Customs office:
Guess what: here you have to fill out the Customs forms. Fill in your passport details at the top. Answer the questions on the bottom of the form (all with no except the last one), fill in the bottom part in the back with your vehicle info and leave all the other information blank or cross it out.
They will check your insurance here. If you don't have a valid insurance you have to buy insurance here. Also you have to pay for the vehicle registration paper.
Insurance: 862 rubles

Registration: 100 rubles
They will only accept rubles as payment. So you best have rubles handy! There is nowhere to change money at these borders.
In the end you are handed insurance form, vehicle registration paper and the stamped docket.
You are almost free to go. At the gate they want to see the passport and the stamped docket and then you are free to go.

The procedure is more or less the same at both borders. But be aware of the fact that the officers at the Tashanta border are extremely arrogant and don't like to work. So unless you show up really early be prepared to come back the next day! Oh, and don't show up at lunchtime or an hour before or after lunch!

Point of Exit
  1. Tashanta into Mongolia
  2. Pavlodar into Kazakhstan
How it went

Don't expect an easy for fast exit. As with the entry you will be doing a lot of waiting! Well at least at the Tashanta border. The process at the border in Pavlodar was actually quite efficient and friendly. A pleasant surprise!
The Tashanta border is special, because there is a long stretch of 'no mans land' between the Mongolian and the Russian side. Important here is that you show up really early in the morning, otherwise the Russians might not let you through!
When leaving Russia in Tashanta you go through Customs first and then through Immigration, because the office is set up that way.


You better have your Entry card and it better have at least one registration stamp on it or you will be in trouble!

On leaving Russia they make you fill out the same custom paper as on entering. Lots of stamps and entries in big books later they will let you go.

Additional Information

Getting a visa for Russia:
We got our visa for Russia at the Embassy in Ankara, Turkey. The Embassy is a little hard to find, so here are the GPS coordinates: N39 53.564 E32 51.184

If you want my personal opinion: I think the whole Russian visa system is a shameless fraud intent on robbing you of your money and  making you as miserable as possible while making sure it is iffy enough, so that you are vulnerable to further extortion schemes from officials within Russia!

Now that I got that of my chest a friendly suggestions: let someone else take care of it! You don't want the hassle. Just pay an agent to do the work for you. Best contact David Berghof at Stantours.

We needed a 3 month double entry visa, which spells out to a Business visa. Which in turn means you need an invitation. We got that through David Berghof without any problem, however it sent us back 140 US dollars each!. (no fault of David's, that is just how much it costs). The invitation comes in form of a telex number and some information for the visa application form . With that we showed up at the Russian embassy in Ankara. After a long wait we ended up in front of an extremely unfriendly Russian who reluctantly handed us visa application forms. We filled these out, added a passport picture and conveyed the telex number of our invitation. Also we asked for a same day visa! (It was going to be expensive anyway!)So we were handed a receipt and asked to come back at 5 in the afternoon.

At 5 it was another long wait to retrieve the visa which set us back another astonishing 190 US dollars each!
Just for the record. That is not the end of it. Once you are in the country, you have to get the visa registered! Actually you are supposed to register at every place where you stay more than 3 days. This registration when done through an agent costs another 35 US dollars! So do your self a favor: splurge on one hotel and have them do the registration!

Changing money:

Coming into Russia:
At neither border was there a bank to change money or any other money changers. You need rubles to pay for the vehicle registration and the insurance so buy some rubles before showing up at the border!

Leaving Russia for Mongolia:
There was nowhere to change money at the border. First place to get Mongolian currency is in Oelgy!

Leaving Russia for Kazakhstan:
There was nowhere to change money at the border. We had leftover currency from our last stay in Russia. Otherwise I am sure there is moneychangers in Pavlodar.

These are the details of the border crossing into this particular country. The information is correct as of the date on which the border was crossed. But, due to the stability and vagaries of the regimes involved, it is prudent that you get additional data directly from the embassy involved, preferably in your own country. Also you should keep in mind that the procedure can vary depending on exactly who is on duty. So never assume anything is a particular way, and regardless of what anyone says, the impossible is often possible if you are in the right place at the right time. Good Luck.


©2010 Khim Rojas & Fernweh AdventuresHomeTop


AccommodationsFormalitiesMaintenanceMiscellaneous FAQ