Message for U.S. Citizens: Departure Options from Russia (February 28, 2022)
Russia remains at Level Four – Do not travel to Russia due to the unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces in Ukraine, the potential for harassment against U.S. citizens by Russian government security officials, the embassy’s limited ability to assist U.S. citizens in Russia, COVID-19 and related entry restrictions, terrorism, limited flights into and out of Russia, and the arbitrary enforcement of local law. U.S. citizens should consider departing Russia immediately via commercial options still available.
Current flight availability from Russia is extremely limited, especially to European destinations. Travelers may also experience difficulty securing airline tickets to depart Russia due to disruptions in the Russian financial system.
Further, an increasing number of airlines are cancelling flights into and out of Russia, and numerous countries have closed their airspace to Russian airlines. In addition, air space around southern Russia is restricted and a number of airports in the area have closed.
The U.S. government’s ability to provide routine or emergency services to U.S. citizens in Russia is severely limited, particularly in areas far from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow due to Russian government limitations on U.S. staffing and the suspension of services at U.S. consulates.
Those seeking to depart Russia should consider taking some of the following steps to facilitate their travel.
- Explore commercial air routing through non-European destinations. Flights remain available, for example, through Middle East transit points on major airlines including Qatar Airways, Gulf Air, Emirates, and Etihad.
- Travelers should also explore flights out of Russia on smaller carriers to a third country and then look to book onward flights to the United States through a separate reservation originating in the third country.
- Family/Friends outside of Russia may be able to assist in securing an airline ticket for the traveler in Russia and provide the flight/ticket information electronically.
- Private global travel agencies may be able to assist in securing onward travel through commercial airlines. Some global travel agencies include:
Note: This is just a sample of global travel agencies. Inclusion on this list does not necessarily represent an endorsement by the U.S. Department of State.
Departure by land or ferry from St. Petersburg via Finland remains an option, especially for U.S. citizens in that region of Russia. In order to travel by train to Finland, the traveler must hold either a Russian or Finnish passport. Commercial airline routings, capacity, and availability are changing rapidly in response to events and travelers seeking to depart should regularly check airline websites for the latest information.
Use of Credit Cards: As a result of sanctions imposed on Russian banks in response to the unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian forces in Ukraine, some credit and debit cards may be declined, and/or merchants may be unable to process credit card transactions. Travelers may consider using alternative credit cards, cash, or other forms of payment. It is unclear at this point what the impact will be on the use of various credit cards, or how long credit and debit cards will continue to be accepted. U.S. citizen should take this into account when making their plans.
- Read the Department’s country information page and travel advisory for Russia.
- Familiarize yourself with information on what the U.S. government can and cannot do to assist you in a crisis overseas.
- Have a contingency plan in place that does not rely on U.S. government assistance. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.
- Monitor local media for breaking events and adjust your contingency plans based on the new information.
- Ensure travel documents are valid and easily accessible.
- Visit the CDC’s website on Travel and COVID-19.
- Get a COVID vaccine to facilitate your travel. Understand the COVID testing and vaccine requirements for all countries that you will transit through to your destination.
State Department – Consular Affairs
+1 202-501-4444 (from overseas) or + 1 888 407-4747 (from the U.S.)