Air tickets

Air tickets

There are five airports in Moscow where you may arrive: Sheremetjevo-1, Sheremetjevo-2, Domodedovo, Bykovo or Vnukovo. Here you will encounter passport control and then customs.

Sheremetyevo IISheremetyevo II, where the most international flights arrive, is not very well lit and a bit crowded. First you will have to pass the passport control. People try to stay in a line that often turns into a crowd, and then everybody shoves and pushes. Stay patient, stay quiet and remember this is not forever. You will get through to the baggage claim. You can rent a cart for your baggage. The cart rental desk is on your right when you have come out of the Passport Control. There is a bank near there where you can change money to pay for the cart. Do not change more than $20 as the exchange rate is very low in the airport. Take note that there are baggage handlers in the airport who will ask you if they can assist you with your luggage. Say no or negotiate a price before they touch your luggage. Some foreigners have been charged as much as twenty American dollars to have their luggage put on a cart and wheeled out to a vehicle!

For Customs you will have to stay in the other line, which usually moves faster than the one at the Passport Control. Don't be afraid of them checking your luggage - if you have a reasonable amount they will not check it. You will have to present a customs declaration form, which you should have completed during the flight.

Declare all money you are carrying and hold or you will not be permitted to leave the country with more than $1,500. If you have unfortunately lost your customs form, you should report to the police immediately to get a "spravka" to present to customs officials upon departure. Other wise you, will not be permitted to take out of Russia more than $1,500. When you leave Russia, you shouldn't carry more money than you had when you arrived.

There is a law, stating that you have to pay tax (up to $10) if you bring luggage weighing more than 50 kg. For residents the limit is higher. Most tourists and foreign residents aren't confronted with this unpleasant issue.

If you don't carry more than $500 in cash, you can pass through a "green channel", so you won't have to stay in the line and happily leave the Customs sooner.

Beware the High Cost Of Airport Transportation
As you leave the airport you will see many taxi drivers offering you their service. The rates they propose are very high - up to $100 to get to downtown. It's difficult to find a reasonable one. If nobody meets you at the airport with a vehicle, you can rent a car and drive yourself. It would cost you the same $100 for the whole day. It is better to take an express-bus, which will get you to the nearest metro station.

Some information concerning leaving Russia
If you have high-value items with you (including caviar), you need receipts for all of them. For icons, samovars, rugs, and other antiques there has to be a certificate indicating that the item has no historical value. You can get it from the vendor who sold it to you or from the Russian Ministry of Culture.

Customs Service of the Russian Federation in Moscow telephone (7) (095) 265-6629 or 208-2808.