On a five hour layover in Moscow, changing planes but not airport, would a U.S. citizen need a transit visa?

4 Answers 4


According to the Russian Embassy page you will not need a visa if you're not leaving the airside.


Additional information on the same from Timatic

  • 8
    And Edward Snowden stayed in the airside for a month, though his case was a bit unusual... Oct 26, 2013 at 7:09

Note: The answer was valid at the time of posting in May 2014. SVO has expanded drastically in the last few years and what was not available 5 years ago may well be available now.


Original answer: As an American citizen that has travelled to Moscow and via Moscow many times, I can definitely confirm that you do NOT need a transit visa if your connecting flight is from the same terminal. If you have to change the terminal, then you do need a transit visa and you must get this visa before travelling - you cannot get it once in Moscow.

  • Did you mean to say 'if you change AIRPORT, then you need transit visa'? My understanding if you are simply changing terminals in the same airport you do not need transit visa. (russianembassy.org/page/transit-visa) Feb 18, 2017 at 15:04
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    @user1700890 I did mean to say "changing terminals". In all of Moscow airports, there is no airside terminal transfer - you have to pass the passport control, then go to another terminal, and then go through the outgoing passport control. Hence, in order to get through the first (and the second) one, you need to have a visa.
    – Aleks G
    Feb 18, 2017 at 18:12
  • Thank you for the reply. When did you travel through Sheremtyevo last time? I cannot seem to find official information. tripadvisor.com/… also this svo.aero/en/transit/int-int (says no visa for 24 hours stay in Sheremetyevo) Feb 19, 2017 at 2:38
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    Admittedly it was a couple of years ago. The info you refer to is generally correct as pretty much all international flights from svo arrive and depart from the same terminal. There is a small number of exceptions, mainly to former soviet republics, which are probably not mentioned.
    – Aleks G
    Feb 19, 2017 at 8:35
  • @AleksG I once flew to Serbia from terminal F a few years back (as opposed to terminal D you would expect), so checking terminal is advised. There might be surprises you don't want.
    – alamar
    Jul 30, 2018 at 8:01

There is an exception !! If an American citizen flies from Minsk, Belarus through Moscow, will DEFINITELY need a tranist visa, because it is considered a domestic flight. I was rejected to fly to Moscow from Belarus and I have to purchase another ticket to Warsaw and from Warsaw to Moscow.


I am flying from LAX USA to Israel, via Moscow. On X'Mas. With Aeroflot. I have a 4.5 hr layover in Moscow. I am an US citizen. I asked the same questions the Aeroflot representative. He said, "if you dont leave or exit the airport, you do not need an entry visa. But if you want to go visit the city, during your layover, you do need a visa"

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    Stricktly speaking, that is not correct. If you have to change terminals, you don't leave the airport, but you cross the border. And in that case you'll need a visa. See the Alex G's answer.
    – Neusser
    Aug 7, 2018 at 7:58

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