|Customs & Airport meetengs|
Most international flights arrive at Sheremetyevo II airport. This airport has had very little renovation, and is rather dim and crowded. On the descent into Moscow you will be asked to complete a customs declaration form which you will present to customs. The first thing you will encounter after you get off the plane is passport control. There is no order here. Passengers simply shove and push to get and stay in line, which, when really busy, doesn't resemble a line but a crowd of people. |
Be patient, stand your ground, and you will eventually get through. On the other side of Passport Control is the baggage claim. If you need a cart to help carry your things, you can rent one for a few dollars (you must pay in rubles). Go to the right after you exit Passport Control to find the cart rental desk. There is also a bank near the baggage claim area to exchange some money into rubles. The exchange rate at the airport is usually very low, therefore don't change more than
After you collect your bags, you will stand in line for Customs. The lines usually here move faster than Passport Control. If you have a reasonable amount of luggage, they will rarely check the contents of your bags. Be sure to declare all money you are carrying and hold on to your customs declaration until you depart, otherwise you will not be permitted to leave the country with more than US$1,500 (as of March 3, 2000). Lost or stolen customs forms should be reported to the Russian police, and a police report (spravka) should be obtained to present to customs officials upon departure. Travelers without stamped customs forms may take only
US$1,500 or less out of Russia. Those with stamped declaration forms may take out a sum no greater than the sum declared upon entry. There is a Russian law issued in July 1996 that permits the taxation of personal items taken into Russia. The law states that if you are bringing in over 50 kilograms (about 100 pounds) or baggage, you are subject to tax. The limit is higher if you are a resident. The tax can be as high as
$10 a pound. Some travelers have had to pay this tax, but most tourists and foreign residents aren't confronted with this unpleasant issue.
There is also a "green channel" at customs control for those who don't have more than
US$ 500.00 in cash. Fell free to go through it and you don't have to wait in a long line for a half an hour.
Travelers should obtain receipts for all high-value items (including caviar) purchased in Russia. Any article which could appear old to the Customs Service, including icons, samovars, rugs, and other antiques, must have a certificate indicating that it has no historical value. It is illegal to remove such items from Russia, without this certificate. These certificates may be obtained either from the vendor of the item or from the Russian Ministry of Culture. For further information, Russian speakers may call the Customs Service of the Russian Federation in Moscow at telephone (7) (095) 265-6629 or 208-2808.
Russia has very strict rules on the importation of large quantities of medication. Travelers should check with the Russian Embassy or Consulate in their area about the requirements for importation of large quantities of medications before attempting to bring them into Russia.
Drug Penalties: U.S. citizens are subject to the laws of the country in which they are traveling. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Russia are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines.
CUSTOMS DUTY FREE ALLOWANCES
DIRECTION FOR THE MEETING IN THE AIRPORT SHEREMETYEVO-2
CAMERAS....2 STILL CAMERAS
CURRENCY...MUST BE DECLARED ON ARRIVAL
AGRICULTURE ITEMS....REFER TO CONSULATE
Once you get through customs, you will walk out into the dark public area where you can be met. It is best to have someone with a vehicle to meet you as taxis are extremely expensive (up to US$100 to go downtown) and sometimes dangerous. Bus service is also available between the airport and the nearest Metro (see the map) station, but this is inconvenient with luggage and not advisable if you do not speak Russian or know precisely where you are going.