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Someone I know is a dual citizen of Sweden and Russia, holding a Swedish ID card and Russian internal passport, but neither a Swedish passport nor Russian external passport.

She's planning to travel overland Sweden - Finland - Russia - Georgia - Armenia.

Georgia accepts Swedish IDs while Armenia accepts Russian internal passports. And obviously entering Russia on an internal passport shouldn't be a problem, as it proves she's Russian.

The problem is: I've heard that Russia doesn't let you exit on an internal passport other than to countries accepting them for entry, which the next country, Georgia, doesn't.

Is this true? What if she explains that she's a dual national and using another document for Georgia?

UPDATE: OK, so I spoke to the concerned person as you had some questions. Her father registered her birth with the embassy in Stockholm and got her an international passport (she's had two, one between 2004-2009 and one between 2009-2014), with which her family visited Russia on several occasions, most recently in 2012. In 2013-2014, she spent an exchange year in St Petersburg, during which she got the internal passport, which is valid until 2019. Shortly after returning to Sweden, her international passport expired and she hasn't got a new one since.

UPDATE 2: I finally convinced her to get an (old template) Russian external passport. So apparently she'll use all three documents during the trip: Swedish ID at Schengen and Georgian borders; international Russian passport at the Russian border, and Russian internal passport at the Armenian border.

  • Fly Russia-Belarus-Georgia? – JonathanReez Apr 11 '17 at 21:11
  • @JonathanReez In that case Mineralnye Vody-Yerevan or Sochi-Yerevan due to the routing – Crazydre Apr 11 '17 at 21:24
  • Also, is your friend aware she must declare her second citizenship of she visits Russia? – JonathanReez Apr 11 '17 at 21:25
  • @JonathanReez To whom specifically? The Russian embassy in Stockholm knows - her father had to register her birth for her to get Russian citizenship. – Crazydre Apr 11 '17 at 21:28
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    I've added some information about russian passport and ways to get them – VMAtm Apr 12 '17 at 0:49
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Not possible. There are only a few countries to which Russians can exit with the internal passport, and Georgia isn't one of those. Russian citizens can only use the internal passport to visit Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia (a recent addition), the Russian-occupied territories of Georgia that Russia recognizes as independent and Russian-annexed territories of Ukraine.

Possible solutions, other than obtaining a Russian external passport, would involve doing part of the journey by air, such as flying from Russia to Armenia using the internal passport.


There are also complications for entering Russia. You write:

And obviously entering Russia on an internal passport shouldn't be a problem.

That's not so obvious at all. The law that governs entering and leaving Russia is the law "О порядке выезда из Российской Федерации и въезда в Российскую Федерацию". Article 6 of the law states:

Выезд из Российской Федерации и въезд в Российскую Федерацию граждане Российской Федерации осуществляют по действительным документам, удостоверяющим личность гражданина Российской Федерации за пределами территории Российской Федерации.

It says, briefly, that Russian citizens have to use the external passport both for entering and leaving the country. In practice, this should not mean that entry will be denied, but the usual situation would be that the person gets detained at the border until the authorities are convinced they are who they claim to be, then the person gets fined and allowed into the country. If your friend also happens to be a resident of Sweden, and not Russia, it might further delay the process of being allowed in on an internal passport.

  • "There are only a few countries to which Russians can exit with the internal passport, and Georgia isn't one of those" She doesn't plan on using the internal passport for Georgia itself though. Question is whether the Russians would let her exit if she clearly states she has a second nationality and is using that country's document for Georgia – Crazydre Apr 11 '17 at 21:03
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    @Crazydre It's one and the same - according to that law, Russia doesn't allow leaving the country with an internal passport unless the destination country accepts it (and by the way, if she hasn't notified the Russian authorities of her dual citizenship, she's in additional legal trouble). – DUman Apr 11 '17 at 21:20
  • Her father (who's Russian - hence her citizenship) obviously notified the embassy in order for her to get Russian citizenship – Crazydre Apr 11 '17 at 21:25
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    She got Russian citizenship by birth, through the embassy in Stockholm? Strange then that she has an internal passport. Russian citizens who are born and live abroad should, as far as I understand, have been issued a Russian external passport. – DUman Apr 11 '17 at 21:37
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    @FighterJet It's general rule for security - to have the people marked on exit. Russia has some laws to forbid one of the parents to go outside the country with child, if other parent is against it. Other law is about not allowing to exit country if one has some unpaid fees. About Shengen zone - it's a regulation which was achieved, nothing crazy with that. – VMAtm Apr 18 '17 at 20:53
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Yes, you can't exit the Russia with internal passport on border points with countries which have no visa-free agreement with Russia. More over, there are very few countries which do accept Russians without international passport.

Even if you don't need a visa, you need a valid passport, because Russian internal passport is intended to prove your identity within Russian borders, and not outside them (it's a Federal Law about Russian internal passport, link in Russian)

So, basically, your friend can't prove her identity with internal Russian passport outside Russia. Moreover, the absence of it may lead to problems with entering the country, as, strictly speaking, you're still outside the Russia, so you need the international passport.

Another update:
But! The Federal Law about rules for enter/exit the Russia says that no Russian citizens can be denied from entrance the Russia. In case of losing the passport outside the Russia one should contact local Russian embassies/consulates for getting the document proving one's identity during entrance the Russia.

In another words, your trip is still an option, but may lead you to numerous checks on entrance the Russia, even if you'll manage out to get the temporary identity document. This is an unusual case for border officers, so you may lose a lot of time.

I suggest your friend to contact the Russian Consulate in Sweden and ask them about this problem. Maybe they will provide an easy way to resolve this (like providing her the temporary document), but it looks like your friend had to get her international passport, either from Sweden or from Russia. It's about the protocol - she needs a legal id proving that she can enter and exit the Russia, no matter where she goes from/to.

Update about the international passports: Right now there are two types of IP for Russians being available. First type is so called "old template" (иностранный паспорт старого образца), which is still available to get, and it's validity is 5 years from issue date. Second type is so called "new template" (иностранный паспорт нового образца) or "biometrics passport" (биометрический паспорт), which validity is 10 years.

What are the differences?

  1. Old is cheaper
  2. Old doesn't contain biometric information, and has a simple photo in it, so for a new one Embassy need a technology update.
  3. Old is valid two times less comparing to old one.
  4. Old passport can be issued for a child under 12 years without bringing the child in Embassy, and can be done in two weeks.
  5. For old one you need photos, for new one you don't.

So I assume that the old one was the easiest option, that's why the passports were valid only for a 5 years.

All in all, I strongly suggest your friend to contact the Embassy for a passport renewal, and only after that do the trip. This is safest and easiest way to resolve this problem. She can do that in Consulate General of the Russian Federation in Gothenburg (Russian link). It will be done in up to 3 months, price is 276 SEK for old template, and 736 SEK for a new one.

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    "More over, there are very few countries which do accept Russians without international passport.". She'll use her Swedish identity card for Finnish and Georgian border control. Would the Russians refuse her exit even if she clearly explains (her Russian is pretty good) that she's a dual national and using another document for Georgia? – Crazydre Apr 11 '17 at 20:58
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    @Crazydre The problem is not the border control worries about her passing the border. The problem is that the protocol of the border passing states that she had to have the international passport. I in serious doubt that she can manage it out no matter how her Russian good is. – VMAtm Apr 11 '17 at 21:07
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    As @DUman said, Armenia is a country which allows that transfer. However, the problem still persist on entrance in Russia. – VMAtm Apr 11 '17 at 21:11
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    FSB do the checks, MID do the rules. I found additional information, will update the answer. – VMAtm Apr 12 '17 at 2:47
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    @Crazydre get it into your head. What she's trying to do (entering Russia as a Russian citizen without a Russian international passport) is going to get her into trouble with Russian border authorities. While she might be able to wiggle her way into Russia using her Swedish passport (if she has one) she'd be guilty of crossing the border under false documentation even if afterwards she's legally in the country because of her Russian citizenship. This may go well, but if she gets into say an accident things can spin out of control quickly. Far easier to get an international passport. – jwenting Apr 12 '17 at 7:38

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