Russia - Country Commercial Guide
Import Requirements and Documentation

Includes import documentation and other requirements for both the U.S. exporter and foreign importer.

Last published date: 2021-10-16

This chapter summarizes the general requirements and standards for import requirements and documentation in Russia.

To import/export products into the Russian Federation, legal entities will need to take the following steps:

  • Conclude an agreement and receive all necessary primary documents
  • Execute the necessary contract of shipment with a transportation company
  • Pay for customs clearance
  • Preliminarily inform the customs of the Russian Federation about crossing the border with the cargo
  • Submit a transit declaration, if required
  • Deliver the cargo within a specific timeframe from the border to the place of delivery to the internal customs post and place it in the customs control zone or a temporary storage warehouse
  • Prepare and submit customs declaration (see the general list of documents required to obtain the declaration below)
  • Pay customs fees
  • Transport the product from the customs warehouse

List of documents for obtaining a customs declaration:

  • Transport documents: CMR, bill of lading, air waybill, railway waybill. They are filled in by the exporter. In some cases, the broker will help to make them on the carrier’s letterhead or blank letterhead, followed by certification with your seal and the carrier’s seal.
  • Commercial documents: invoice, documents for payment for goods, proforma invoices.
  • Contract and its annexes. It is important to prepare the contract and additional agreements in advance in Word or another text editor, as they will be needed to prepare them in electronic form (formalization). The formalized document is sent simultaneously with the declaration to the customs authority via electronic data exchange.
  • Unique contract number. From March 1, 2018, the transaction passport has been ceased to exist as such. Instead, one needs to obtain a Unique Contract Number (UNK) from an authorized bank. It is necessary to obtain a unique contract number when the amount of the import contract exceeds 3 million ₱ (approx. $ 43000).
  • Technical information about the product. The document should come from the manufacturer of the product. These can be catalogs, user manuals, quality certificates, safety data sheets. These documents must reflect the data that is mentioned in the declaration to confirm the HS Code. Such data may contain (depending on the type of product) information about the manufacturer, material of manufacture, manufacturing method, technical characteristics, purpose, and use of the product.
  • Country of origin certificate.
  • Payment orders. One or two days before the submission of the declaration, neither payment of customs duties should be submitted.
  • Data on insurance or non-insurance of the cargo. If the cargo was insured at the stage of transportation, one should provide an insurance contract in Word and an insurance policy. If the cargo was not insured, there should be an information letter prepared, that states that the cargo was not insured. It can be written in free form. Some customs offices do not require this letter.
  • Documents confirming the declared customs value. The minimum list of documents is as follows: price list (official offer of the seller), export declaration of the country of the seller with translation, documents for setting previously released goods under this contract for accounting, and if the delivery is the first under the contract, then a letter stating that the delivery is the first and you cannot provide such documents.
  • In special cases, they will additionally request accounting documents for the implementation of previous and/or current deliveries, calculation of the sales price, information from open Internet resources on the price level for similar goods in the Russian market, information on the level of exchange prices for such goods, explanations on price changes downward (if the price has decreased) and other documents limited by the imagination of the inspector.
  • Declaration of conformity

Article 183 of the Federal Law  on customs regulation in the Russian Federation regulates this list.

Customs payments generally include import/export customs duties, taxes, and customs processing fees. Some goods may also require payment of utilization fees (e.g., wheeled vehicles), or the new ecological fee, introduced on January 1, 2015, for the following groups of goods and packaging subject to recycling:

  • Textile articles (other than apparel)
  • Plastic building products
  • Carpets and rugs
  • Other articles of plastic
  • Protective overalls
  • Shaped and treated sheet glass
  • Other outer garments
  • Hollow glass
  • Underclothes
  • Barrels and similar containers of ferrous metals
  • Other clothing and accessories
  • Light metal packaging
  • Knitted and crocheted garments
  • Computers and peripherals
  • Wooden building materials and millwork
  • Communication equipment
  • Wooden packaging
  • Consumer electronics
  • Corrugated paper and paperboard packaging
  • Optical instruments and photographic equipment
  • Household and sanitary products and toiletries
  • Accumulators
  • Paper stationery
  • Storage batteries
  • Electric lighting equipment
  • Oil products
  • Electric domestic appliances
  • Rubber tires, casings, and inner tubes; retreading of rubber tires
  • Non-electric domestic appliances
  • Other articles of rubber
  • Power-operated hand tools
  • Plastic packaging articles
  • Industrial refrigeration and ventilation equipment

Rates of the ecological fee may be revised annually.

The website of Russia’s Federal Customs Service (https://eng.customs.gov.ru/) contains the link to the portal for electronic declarations.