Navigating Russia’s Travel Ban Landscape

In line with a recent government decree, Russians facing travel bans must submit their passports to authorities within five days of receiving notification. This regulation underscores the responsibility of individuals barred from international travel to promptly adhere to the directive by surrendering their travel documents.

Extent and Reasoning Behind Travel Restrictions in Russian Law

Under Russian law, travel bans can be imposed on various individuals, including :

  • Conscripts : Individuals currently serving in mandatory military service.
  • Federal Security Service (FSB) employees : Personnel affiliated with the FSB, a Russian security and intelligence agency.
  • Convicts : Those who have been found guilty and sentenced for a criminal offense.
  • Individuals with access to state secrets or classified “information of special importance” : This category involves individuals entrusted with sensitive government information, requiring heightened security measures to prevent unauthorized disclosure or access.

These restrictions are established under Russian law to regulate and restrict international travel for specific groups based on their roles, responsibilities, or access to confidential or sensitive information.

Safe Custody Protocol : Handling Returned Passports under Travel Bans 

Upon surrender, the passport of an individual subjected to a travel ban will be securely held by the issuing authorities, which could include entities like the interior ministry or foreign ministry. This protocol ensures that the confiscated travel document is carefully preserved and managed by the relevant governmental bodies responsible for passport issuance and oversight. This measure aims to maintain strict control and accountability over the returned passports, preventing unauthorized use or travel while the ban remains in effect.

Passport Return Process Post Travel Ban : Government Guidelines

Upon the revocation of the travel ban, individuals may retrieve their passport by following a prescribed application process, as outlined in the government decree. This procedure typically involves formally requesting the return of the passport through an application submitted to the relevant authorities. Once the ban is lifted and the application is successfully processed, the passport is typically reinstated to the individual, enabling them to resume their international travel activities. This structured approach ensures that the return of the passport aligns with regulatory protocols, reinstating the individual’s freedom to travel abroad once the ban is lifted, while maintaining oversight and compliance with legal requirements.

Passport Confiscation 

If someone’s travel was temporarily restricted because they were serving in the military or in a civilian role instead, the resolution says they need to show a military ID. They also have to prove that they finished their service. This rule makes sure that those affected by service-related travel limits can prove they completed their duties. Showing both the military ID and proof of service helps them regain their full travel rights after the temporary restrictions.

In March, as reported by the Financial Times, individuals close to the issue, who chose to remain unnamed, disclosed that Russia’s security services were taking away the passports of high-ranking officials and executives from state-owned companies. This action aimed to prevent these individuals from traveling abroad. The move was purportedly part of a larger strategy to regulate and control the international movements of key figures within the government and state-affiliated organizations.


In conclusion, Russia’s travel ban regulations underscore the government’s commitment to controlling international movements, primarily affecting specific groups based on roles, responsibilities, or access to sensitive information. From the imposition of bans to the meticulous handling of passports and the requirements for their return, these measures prioritize security while balancing individual freedoms. The reported passport confiscation incident adds a layer of insight into the broader strategy to regulate the travel of high-ranking officials and executives. Overall, these regulations exemplify the government’s proactive approach to oversee and manage international travel within the country’s legal framework.

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