My situation is that I have a valid visa for entering Russia on 27/11/2016, and my flight arrives in Moscow at 02:00 same morning, this is only transit for going deeper into Russia.

I'm leaving Amsterdam Airport at 20:40 on 26/11/2016 (when my visa isn't valid yet).

Do you think there will be any problem during my travel? I have European citizenship.

UPDATE: Hello - Everything went as expected! They checked my VISA at Amsterdam Airport and gave me green light to go on the plane :))

  • 4
    I think there's a related question here where someone had trouble checking in; the desk agent called the supervisor, who said of course it's fine, and then they proceeded to check the traveler in. I don't see that question now, though.
    – phoog
    Commented Nov 10, 2016 at 20:20
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    @pnuts I don't think it was this one, but this one is nonetheless related: travel.stackexchange.com/q/37336/19400
    – phoog
    Commented Nov 10, 2016 at 21:32
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    @pnuts I agree.
    – phoog
    Commented Nov 10, 2016 at 22:00

1 Answer 1


In the comments to a similar but opposite question (‘Can I enter Russia 1–1.5 hours before the visa validity period starts?’), David Richerby noted:

1-1.5 hours before the visa validity starts is a time at which the visa is not valid. If you rephase "1-1.5 hours before the visa validity starts" with "without having a valid visa", your question becomes "Is it possible to enter Russia by train without having a valid visa?" The answer now seems pretty obvious.

And the opposite is true here: You are arriving two hours after your visa validity starts. You can rephrase that as ‘Can I enter Russia with a valid visa?’, to which the answer obviously is ‘yes’.

From the point of view of the Russian immigration officer handling you once you enter Russia, he doesn’t know which plane you just came from. While unfortunately there is no actual flight as far as I could tell, you may just have taken a much shorter flight, e.g. from Lithuania or the East of Ukraine which left at midnight. Or maybe you flew in from Singapore, arrive sometime in the afternoon but actually left the night before. The immigration officer won’t care; he will check the date your visa becomes valid, check if that is today or earlier and then continue to stamp you in.

Of course, the airline knows this, too. The people at the check-in desk should be aware of this; although they may slip up for a second. Politely point out that you won’t be landing until after midnight and everything should be resolved. Their job is to make sure you have a valid visa at the time you arrive not at the time you leave (which, additionally, is a time zone away from Moscow).

  • Thank you! My questions may seem obvious, but I just have to be sure - this is my first travel outside EU alone. Don't they check the visa on departure or is it only on arrival? Can the airline/officer deny me boarding the plane?
    – Christian
    Commented Nov 10, 2016 at 23:11
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    @Christian The airline staff checks your passport/travel documents either at check-in, luggage drop-off, the gate or somewhere in-between. They are required to make sure you provide sufficient documents, which for Russia means passport + valid visa. However, this is typically just a basic sanity check; they can get fined for letting a person on the plane who requires a visa but does not have one. The check you want to be ‘worrying’ about, however, is the check the Russian immigration officer performs at Sheremetyevo somewhere between leaving the plane and exiting the airport.
    – Jan
    Commented Nov 10, 2016 at 23:14
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    In this check, they decide whether they want you in the country or not, whether they will let you in or not. However, they don’t care when your visa validity started, they only care if it is valid now.
    – Jan
    Commented Nov 10, 2016 at 23:15
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    Hello - Everything went as expected! They checked my VISA at Amsterdam Airport and gave me green light to go on the plane :))
    – Christian
    Commented Dec 4, 2016 at 6:50

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