Male US/Russian dual citizen returning to Russia at 28. Possible risks?



I'm a 28-year-old male with a dual US/Russian citizenship who's going to be entering Russia for the first time in maybe 15 years. I'm slightly nervous about being able to get out once I'm in, since the US consulate won't be able to help me if something comes up. Details about me:

  • I only have a (current) zagranichniy passport. My vnutreniy passport has long expired.
  • I am (apparently) propisan to a flat in St. Petersburg, even though I haven't lived there since I was a kid.
  • I attended university in the US and haven't been back to Russia during conscription age (18-27).

Here's what I'm concerned about:

  • Is propiska the same thing as residency, according to the law? Will it "override" the fact that my permanent residence is actually in the US?
  • Constitutionally, Russians are legally allowed to enter and leave the country at will — unless they've been drafted. Does the voyenkomat know about me if I'm propisan to a flat but haven't lived in the country since the 90's? If there was a conscription notice sent to this address but I never signed for it, could I still be considered "drafted" by some definition of the word (and thus barred from leaving)?
  • Have there been any instances of males older than 27 being conscripted? (E.g. if the government thinks you dodged the draft.)
  • If I'm staying for less than 90 days, do I have to register as a dual citizen (as per the 2014 law)?
  • Could there be any complications if I leave the country directly into the Schengen zone or Japan (by train/ferry) using my US passport, as opposed to flying directly back to the US?
  • Are there any other risks I should be aware of?

Hopefully there won't be any problems, but I just want to make sure I have all my bases covered, since I don't know any male US/Russian citizens who are my age and have visited the motherland in recent years. Thank you!


Posted 2017-04-10T23:59:52.347

Reputation: 91

I don't have answers to all your questions, so I'll just comment on what I know: Pretty sure you do have to register as a dual citizen (though it's a simple form you can file at any post office), and I'm pretty sure you have to both enter and leave Russia using your Russian passport (though it doesn't matter where you're coming/going to/from). As for military service, try contacting a Russian consulate to check your status? – EugeneO – 2017-04-11T03:14:25.827

1@GayotFow and this question is about travel, isn't it? – phoog – 2017-04-11T03:38:27.810

1No, males after 27 years are safe, many of people do dodging, and after that live as there is nothing happen. – VMAtm – 2017-04-11T05:29:06.067

Great question but I am voting to close as too broad. IMHO this makes for several great questions. Also some more background on the Russian expressions may help the stupid, like me. Please edit so that it gets reopened soon! – None – 2017-04-11T06:02:05.127

1@phoog the issues surrounding partial ownership of a flat from the soviet reform era (along with pending legislation affecting non-ruble citizens) makes travel an incidental consideration and I think a higher quality answer would come from Expats, but of course it's the community's call. – Gayot Fow – 2017-04-11T12:00:40.077

Also, you can prove your identity with international passport, if your internal gets expired and you have proof about your other residency (which you clearly have) – VMAtm – 2017-04-11T20:18:11.903



You are most likely safe. Since you have not been in Russia for 15 years, you certainly do not hold a pripisnoe svidetel'stvo. Normally, one obtains it in his later teens, when he registers with the voenkomat.

It is true that in recent years, the Russian laws have been changed to make the conscript responsible for picking up the conscription notice if it cannot be delivered. But since you are not registered with the voenkomat, they do not even realize, that they need to send you such a notice. Most probably, they have sent notices for you to come and register when you were 16-17 years old, but that's not the same thing.

That said, I have been in a more precarious situation. Shortly after relocating to Germany I visited Russia at the age of 23 (in 2012). To avoid problems, I timed my visit to be in between the drafting periods of spring and fall. I had no problems entering and leaving the country, however, anticipating that I would need to visit Russia several more times, the first thing I did was go to the police to deregister from my place of residence. After that, I headed to the voenkomat to deregister there and they took my pripisnoe svidetel'stvo. Now I was legally non-resident in Russia according to all possible documentation, which prevents me from being drafted regardless of age.

Now, briefly, the remainder of your bullet points:

  • To the first approximation, the propiska is residency. Perhaps, in more detail, since so many Russians have the propiska in one place, but live in another, you may argue that you're not really a resident, but see below.

  • As I explained above, the voenkomat most likely is not aware of you.

  • AFAIK, if you're permanently resident abroad, and not in Russia, on the grounds of dual citizenship (as opposed to a foreign residence permit issued to you as a Russian citizen), you are exempt from this. In any case, "90 days" are irrelevant to this, I believe, you have one or two months to register as a dual national, starting from the date of first entry to Russia since this law was introduced. The 90 days rule applies to the duty to register (the propiska business) at your place of stay, if you're a Russian citizen (if not, you have one week). That said, I have never been secretive about my dual citizenship (UK) with officials at the border, most of the time they were annoyed "why are you showing me your second passport, give me your Russian one!" or indifferent.

  • You will have no problems entering third countries. Here's how it goes: you show up at the Russian border, they stamp your Russian passport on entry. As you leave, you get an exit stamp there as well. From there on, your Russian citizenship is irrelevant and they don't care, where you are heading. What the US might think of this, I don't know, but I imagine, they don't care much either.

Summarizing the above, I would advise you to deregister from your place of "residence" once you are in Russia. The most obvious implication of deregistering is ownership rights of the apartment in St.Petersburg, where you are registered. As inheritance from the Soviet era, many such apartments were not in the ownership of those, who lived in them. In the 21st century it became possible to privatize them. Such was also the case with the apartment in Moscow, where I was registered. Before I deregistered, my family privatized this apartment and now 25% of it is mine. After this is done, the propiska is no longer relevant and is in fact more of a hindrance.


Posted 2017-04-10T23:59:52.347

Reputation: 161