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I'm sure I've read over the years about some western countries, definitely USA and perhaps some countries in Europe, or perhaps Australia, that it's your always your right as a citizen to come back to your country. And you only have to prove you're a citizen, even with no passport, let alone an expired passport.

But this doesn't necessarily mean it's the same in every country around the world.

So what about Russia? Is it a problem for a citizen to return with an expired passport, like a friend who was in my hostel in Latvia yesterday?

  • Does your friend have any other passport, or just the Russian one? – AussieJoe Dec 16 '19 at 23:31
  • @AussieJoe: I think he only has the Russian one. But he's not here anymore to ask. In any case, AFAIK all countries require you to enter with their passport if you're a citizen that also has other passports. – hippietrail Dec 17 '19 at 9:02
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(Disclamer: this is a fairly sensitive topic, and I'm not a lawyer. If you have any doubts, seek legal help.)

In theory, the Russian constitution states that Russian citizens always have the right to return to Russia. However, it's best to follow the standard procedures to avoid complications at the border or during the flight check-in. This depends on whether it's the internal or the foreign passport that has expired.


If your friend has an expired internal Russian passport he or she will need to apply for a new passport upon arrival, otherwise they'll face a penalty of up to 5000 RUB (~80 USD). The internal passport is normally not verified upon your departure or arrival so there should be absolutely no problems going back to Russia with an expired internal passport.

References: Code of the Russian Federation on Administrative Offenses, pravoved.ru.


If your friend has an expired foreign Russian passport, they need to get in touch with the nearest embassy or consulate and (likely) fill in the re-entry application. It should take 2 days for the re-entry certificate to be issued.

References: rg.ru, garant.ru.

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Timatic will note if a country allows its citizens to enter on expired passports. A quick check there indicates that "passports must be valid on arrival." A Russian embassy or consulate can issue such a person a certificate for returning to the Russian Federation, and probably replace the passport.

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  • 1
    That is true of the US, too. But Russia (like the US) may be reached by means other than air. A Russian citizen in the EU with an expired Russian passport can travel to Russia by land. What happens in that case? – phoog Dec 16 '19 at 17:33
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    @phoog Now that's a good question. I don't know offhand and my Russian doesn't seem to be good enough to do the required Internet searches. – Michael Hampton Dec 16 '19 at 17:35
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    Usually, most countries should accept any citizen showing up in border, provided they can prove that. process may be lengthy. But showing up at border is a challenge by Air, if airline won't accept you without a valid travel document. – Anish Sheela Dec 16 '19 at 17:40
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    @hippietrail Even if your friend might be able to enter Russia with an expired passport, I would expect problems leaving Estonia. The friend is probably, right now, not allowed to stay in Estonia with the expired passport. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Dec 16 '19 at 18:05
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    @AussieJoe: He's not flying, he's crossing the land border from Estonia. Are you saying all countries deny entry to their citizens with expired travel documents, or only Russia? In either case can you provide a link or is this an assumption? – hippietrail Dec 17 '19 at 9:06

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