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inessa0923 Aug 6th, 2006 09:55 AM

Declaring Currency in Russia
Have had a quick look around the forum but don't see an obvious answer to my question. What is the limit on USD and EUR that one can take into Russia before having to declare it? Also, if this limit is breached, I assume they're just making sure that people don't leave with more USD and EUR than they came in with, correct? So if I were to enter with $2,000 and leave with $0, it shouldn't be an issue?


Nina66 Aug 6th, 2006 10:20 AM

When we flew into Moscow, we had a little more that $2,000 US cash. No one asked, no one checked. I don't remember it it was on the entry form that we filled out - although it probably was.

When we left, again, no one checked. If you leave with $0, they would probably be thrilled, what country, including our own, wouldn't be?

I think that the U.S. departure/return limit is $10,000, but I'm not sure.

The Volga River cruise that we took, advised us to bring that much - in new US bills. That's what we did, and in some stores we were given OLD crummy US
bills in our change - which I prompty gave back to them, but that's me, I have a real adversion to old yucky bills!

Buy some rubles while you are there - from a reputable source, not on the street. Prices in 'tourist' stores really drop when you are paying in rubles.

Our money belts were bulging, as we took quite a few ones and fives. Don't let anyone give you change in rubles unless you are really fast with the math.

A small toy, in such a store had a price tag in rubles, (about $1.50 US) but we were quoted $8.00 as they wrongly assumed that we would be paying in dollars.

Rubles are very handy when buying from the numerous street vendors and in small shops and delis etc...

We loved Russia and you will to.


Nina66 Aug 6th, 2006 10:29 AM

We came home with more money than we had expected, mainly because we bought small, reasonably priced items, such as books, lacquered boxes, some small pieces of amber etc.. Beware of high ticket items, especially amber, which they sell everywhere. A lot of it is resin and some of the real stuff is very very expensive. As with anything else, you have to know what you are buying. DON'T rely on your guides, especially if you will be on a ship. They will take you to overpriced stores and push the merchandise, for the kickback that they get. Ask me how I know!! Of course this is true everywhere, not just Russia.

We trusted our ship's gift shop people and found that their prices were the same or lower than a lot of the street vendors or smaller stores. But ... did that stop me from shopping off of the ship ..... no way.


katya_NY Aug 6th, 2006 12:01 PM

Don't worry about entering with $2000, and leaving with $0- just don't try to bring too many dollars worth of rubles out of the country.

I have heard conflicting reports about this lately- one of my students just came back from Russia and she told me that a girl in front of her was questioned about how many rubles she had still (probably looking for a bribe). I also read an article that Russia wasn't going to limit the ruble's global movement. So who knows? But just bring home a few as a souvenir if you want- that shouldn't be a problem.

I second the clean, fresh, crisp $ bills. We mentioned this before we went to Russia last fall, and not all of the families sent kids with pristine money. This caused all kinds of issues when it came time to exchange $$- the banks actually give a lower rate of exchange for even slightly damaged bills.

Shopping in Russian will help you! Don't speak English with salespeople- you will get better prices. Also if they sense an accent, don't tell them you are from the US- seems silly, but I have gotten better prices saying I'm from Spain (I speak Spanish too, so I can get away with it).

Odin Aug 6th, 2006 02:10 PM

Take money out of an ATM, like anywhere else. Years ago you had to record all valuables on a custom form which was stamped on the way in and checked on the out and if there was a discrepancy you could be in trouble. But that was along time ago.

Never needed "clean, fresh, crisp $ bills" in Russia since about 1990.

Garfield Aug 6th, 2006 02:12 PM

You can bring in Russia up to $3000 US in cash (or equivalent) without declaring it at all (that is, you can go through the green corridor when you arrive and not fill in the customs declaration form). If you have between $3000 and $10000 in cash, you should fill in the customs declaration form, declare this money when you come in and come out of Russia.

katya_NY Aug 6th, 2006 04:16 PM

I'm sorry to have to disagree with Odin, regarding the crisp bills, but this was less than a year ago. If you are bringing cash, bring new bills- I even had an issue with a student who had an older $20, with a smaller face.

You can certainly use an ATM as well though.

Just like any other int'l travel, tell your bank in advance if you are planning to use your ATM card in Russia.


Nina66 Aug 6th, 2006 04:44 PM

Katya, good advise to shop in Russian - the only problem is a lot of us, myself included, don't speak Russian - except for a few polite phrases. The only thing Russian about me is my name, which was shortened at birth. It was suppose to be Ninotcka.

Go with the rubles for shopping, we saved quite a bit. We rarely paid for anything in dollars.


katya_NY Aug 6th, 2006 04:48 PM

Hi Nina!

I mentioned that Inessa should shop in Russian because she had mentioned in a previous post that she speaks Russian.


inessa0923 Aug 8th, 2006 09:38 AM


Thanks, your advice on all the Russia related topis on this board has been very helpful as we've tried to plan our trip. We're off on Saturday and very much looking forward to it!

Bolshoe spasibo

katya_NY Aug 8th, 2006 12:05 PM

He za shto! Have a great trip!!:)


overlookfarm Aug 11th, 2006 12:04 PM

I just came back from Russia. I carried several hundred dollars American cash plus about $800 in rubles into the country. You only have to declare amounts larger than $3000. I used ATMs which are everywhere and called "Bankomats" to get cash while there. I was careful to chose ones in private locations - hotels are good - and not to flash money anywhere. I wore a money belt under my shirt that I pinned to my pants. I also carried a copy of my passport in it in case I was stopped by the police. I was not, but I did see others who were and I know that some had to pay instant "fines". Take care not to step on the grass in parks or to cross streets against lights. Keep your face bland, your voice moderated and your clothing lowkey and you should be fine and not draw undue notice. I am a woman who traveled indepenently with a teenager. We had a fascinating time, loved the country and would love to go back to see more.

I had to sign a form as I was leaving saying that I was not bringing more than 3000 R out of the country, but nobody checked me either. Nobody cared if my dollars were new or old, they were just happy to have them in the small flea markets. I was amused to be offered something at one for $400 if by American Express or $250 if cash. The Russians are definitely getting sophisticated.

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