Since February 10, 2003 all foreign citizens entering Russia are requested to fill out the Migration Card (see sample) that contains your personal information, terms of stay, purpose of visit and prospective place of residence. Migration Cards are presented to the Border Control Officer along with a passport upon arrival and departure.
Foreign visitors shouldn't worry where to take Migration Cards, as they will be given such cards upon entry to Russia. Every time you enter Russia a new card is given.
Please note that you cannot stay in Russia longer than stated in your Migration Card. For instance, if your visa is valid for 1 month, and you have written that you would stay for 20 days, you are not allowed to stay more than 20 days.
One should present the Migration Card when registering a visa in Russia, since foreign citizens entering Russia should register their Russian visa within 72 hours upon arrival, excluding days-off and official holidays. All types of visa should be registered, except for transit visas. Visitors who have not put a registration mark in the Migration Card will be considered illegal.
Visitors staying in a hotel can receive their visa registration upon check-in. The hotel administration will register your visa for the period of your stay. Sometime a small registration fee can be imposed. Visitors not staying in a hotel can receive their visa registration through a company that issued an invitation or through a local Passport and Visa Service (OVIR).
Delays in registering a Russian visa may lead to fines on departure and detention by the police. We strongly recommend you to register your Russian visa and avoid possible unnecessary inconveniences.
The proof of visa registration is a rectangular stamp in your Migration Card indicating period of validity, date of registration, registration number, name of registering authority and signature of executing officer.
In case of loss of migration cards foreign visitors should report the loss to regional bodies of domestic affairs domiciliary within 3 days. Foreign visitors not submitting migration cards during their last stay in the Russian Federation will be restricted to reentering the country.