Owning car in Russia for foreign citizens

Вue to the situation with COVID-19, you must make an appointment at the following phone number before going to the State Traffic Safety Inspectorate: +7 (495) 485-13-98

Entering the territory of the Russian Federation by own car

1) When entering Russia by own car, it is necessary to present the following documents at the border control:

a) passport with visa (if visa is necessary);

b) medical insurance;

c) international driving licence;

d) vehicle registration certificate;

e) Green Card insurance;

f) authorization letter to drive a car with mandatory permit to travel abroad / vehicle registration certificate (if you are not the car owner);

2) The following documents are issued in the diplomatic customs office:

a) temporary import of a car for the period of the visa validity,

b) filling in the migration card.

3) The entire specified procedure should be repeated at each exit-entry.

4) A foreign JINR employee registered in the State Protocol Department (SPD) of the MFA cannot change national car licence plates to Russian ones.

Import of a Customs Union car

1)     If a car is imported for less than a year (until 31 December of the current year), then according to the Customs Code of the Eurasian Economic Union and the Decision of the Council of the Eurasian Economic Commission "About particular issues related to the goods for personal use", transport means from Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan can be imported without paying customs duties and recycling charges. They do not need to be registered in the STSI (State Traffic Safety Inspectorate). If a car is imported for a longer period, you should issue a temporary registration.

The purchase and sale of a foreign vehicle are illegal, and a guilty foreign citizen will be liable under part II of article 16.24 of the Administrative Violations Code of Russia (illegal operations with temporarily imported vehicles). As penalties, there are administrative fines as well as confiscation of the object of the violation as an additional measure. The buyer will not be able to use the purchased car, will have the right neither to prolong the period of temporary import of the car nor to register it in the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority.

2)     Vehicles (except for those temporarily imported into the customs territory of the Eurasian Economic Union for more than a year) are subject to state registration in registration divisions.

3)     The recycling charge

This charge should be paid only if the car is imported in Russia for more than a year. If there is not a mark of payment of the recycling charge in the vehicle title, then it will be impossible to register a car in the STSI. When importing a car by a private person for personal use, the charge is 3,400 rubles (as of June 2020).

Registration/prolongation of temporary import

Information for the JINR staff:

After entering the Russian territory by own car and issuing a necessary declaration at the border, a staff member* fills in an application form in Dubna to the diplomatic custom office for a temporary import of a vehicle (link to the document) and sends the filled document in the electronic format to the JINR International Cooperation Department (currently the contact person is an ICD leading specialist Anatoly E. Vasiliev, avasiliev@jinr.ru). The ICD prepares two applications on a blue blank form signed and sealed by the JINR Director (or a Vice-Director). After receiving the prepared application in the ICD from A. E. Vasiliev (6, Joliot-Curie str., room 12, telephone: +7 (496) 216-51-59), an employee should visit the diplomatic customs office by own car located in Moscow at the address: 16, General Belov, str., bld.4. It is necessary to have all the documents listed in the application as attached to it.

Working hours of the customs office "Diplomatic":

Monday - Thursday: 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM; Friday: 9:00 AM - 4:45 PM. Saturday, Sunday - days off.

Vehicle use

1)     Temporarily imported transport means for personal use should only be located in the territory of the Customs Union in the actual possession and use of the declarant. Moreover, it is possible to delegate control to another foreign citizen indicated in the insurance certificate.

2)  Without the permission of the customs office and the customs declaration, it is possible to pass a vehicle to another person for maintenance, repairs (except for major repairs, modernization) and/or storage.

3)  Technical inspection of a car is carried out in an ordinary mode.

Purchase of a car by a foreign citizen

The process of buying a car by a foreign citizen does not differ in any way from that by a Russian citizen. The buyer and the seller sign a standard car sale and purchase agreement.

The only important difference is when filling in the buyer field. As far as the buyer has not got a passport of a Russian citizen, it is necessary to specify in the agreement the data of the existing identity document (a foreign travel passport or a foreign civil passport). Moreover, you should specify in the agreement information about the buyer's place of registration in the territory of the Russian Federation (in the JINR case: Moscow region, Dubna, 6, Joliot-Curie str.).

A JINR employee can get Russian car licence plates, red diplomatic plates for the purchased car (those registered in the SPD MFA) or national plates. In the latter case, it is necessary to get temporary licence plates and enter the native country to register the car there.

If the car is then registered in the RF territory, the agreement should be issued in Russian. The data about a foreign citizen should be specified according to the identity document (not necessarily in Russian letters).

About registration of the car in Russia

Documents necessary for a foreign citizen to register his car:

  • Application.
  • Passport of a foreign citizen. You can provide another document instead of the passport which can be considered as an identity one. We should note that there are various agreements with various countries. So, the lists of identity documents differ.
  • Document confirming registration at the residence place or the place of stay. Employees of the diplomatic missions, consular bodies, international (interstate) organizations, honorary consuls accredited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation who are not citizens of Russia should also provide diplomatic or consular cards issued by the MFA of Russia (MFA card for JINR employees).
  • Authorization letter in case the owner's representative applies to the STSI.
  • Vehicle title.
  • Vehicle registration certificate.
  • Car purchase and sale agreement.
  • OSAGO (compulsory third party car insurance) insurance certificate (the original certificate is provided by the driver at will but the insurance should be issued anyway).
  • Car licence plates (state registration plates) if issued.
  • Receipt of state duty payment for registration (terminal or bank one. Theoretically, you can pay via e-wallets and e-banks as well, but an inspector will have to check your payment through the MIA Financial Department, and if the payment has not been received yet, he can refuse to register a car).

After all the necessary documents are collected, a foreign citizen should apply to the STSI to register his car. It is possible to apply to any registration division in the territory of Russia.

Limitation of the registration period of a car

Please note that cars owned by foreign citizens are registered in the STSI for a limited period (paragraph 35 of registration rules):

  • For the period of stay in Russia: only if there is a notification of the arrival of a foreign citizen in the place of stay.
  • For the period of registration: only if the car owner is recognized refugee or has received temporary asylum.
  • For the period of registration of the car owner: in case of temporary asylum (temporary residence permit or an MFA card for the JINR staff) or permanent residence (residence permit) in the Russian Federation.

If the period indicated above is expiring, then a foreign citizen should first prolong his own registration in Russia. After that, he should once again apply to the STSI to register his car for a new period. In this case, it is necessary to pass the registration procedure once again. However, the second inspection of a car is not required (paragraph 88 of the registration regulations). So if the period of stay/residence is expiring, it is better to prolong it first and then buy and register a car.


The procedure of getting red (diplomatic) car license plates for imported vehicles

A JINR employee registered in the State Protocol Department (SPD) of the MFA who has agreed the import of his car in the Diplomatic customs office can get diplomatic (red) licence plates for it.

1)     To do it, an employee should go to the Department of Services for Foreign Citizens of DIA STSI (State Traffic Safety Inspectorate) in the Moscow Northern Administrative Okrug (20, Lobnenskaya str., 3rd floor) by own car. Please, bring the following with you:

a) document issued by the diplomatic customs office about opening the import of the personal vehicle;

b) OSAGO insurance certificate valid for at least a year (can be issued in Ingosstrakh);

c) a JINR employee card issued in the SPD; d) 2,500 rubles (500 rubles for service charges; 2,000 rubles for the car license plate)*;

e) Before the visit, it is necessary to call the Department and inform about the visit as far as there may be no red license plates available at the time of the visit.   Ph.: 8 (495) 218-41-06.

2)     The service charges in the Department (500 rubles) may be paid on the 1st floor after all necessary document processing on the 3rd floor is done.

3)     Then, it is necessary to go to Vagonoremontnaya str. First, visit 27, Vagonoremontnaya str. and return the possessed licence plate (clean). Do not forget necessary equipment to remove it. You will be given there a certificate of registration of the vehicle (CRV). Bring it to 26, Vagonoremontnaya str. (entrance on the left side of the building) to get the red plate. The charge is 2,000 rubles* as mentioned above.

* - As of June 2020.

Working hours:

Tuesday-Friday from 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM (break from 2:00 to 3:00 PM); Saturday from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM without breaks.

Please, pay attention that the procedure takes about 1 hour.

Advantages of diplomatic car plates:

  • you can cross the RF border out of turn,
  • it is simpler to pass the customs inspection at the border,
  • there are no limits for luggage transported across the border up to 20 kg per person.

A car with red license plates can only be driven by its owner or a family member who has an MFA card.

The tax on cars:

In case a foreign citizen has not got INN (usually it is actually the case), the transport tax should not be paid. If a foreign citizen has a residence permit and, subsequently, INN, then the tax should be paid according to the established rule, as for all citizens of the Russian Federation.


When buying a car from official dealers, you should specify that you are an employee of an international organization. And if you are going to get diplomatic car plates, you can get a discount and a VAT-free purchase which is 13 % (BMW and Volkswagen dealer have practised it previously). To do this, you should make a written commitment to register a car with diplomatic plates.

Information for staff members from Poland

(possibly for other EU countries as well)

It is advantageous for Polish employees to suspend Polish registration of a car and replace Polish insurance with red plates.

In case a car is registered in Poland, you should change red plates to Polish ones when leaving Russia after the end of the contract.

It is possible to cancel the registration of a car in Poland and pay only for OSAGO in Russia but you will need the Green Card bought in Russia to go to Europe, and this is quite expensive. In this case, when leaving Russia after the completion of the contract, it is possible to leave with red car plates and return them to Russia after registration of a vehicle in Poland and getting there new car plates. You can either change them to temporary ones before leaving Russia and enter Poland. However, you will have to buy the Green Card insurance in Russia in this case.

It is possible that the same may apply to the staff from other EU countries.