Visiting Russia with adopted child

Families have in recent years expressed interest in taking their now older adopted Russian children to back Russia for a visit to their orphanage, city or extended biological family.

While this visit can have positive benefits for these children, adoptive parents should factor into their planning the realities of their children’s Russian citizenship.

  • In effect, Russian children adopted American parents hold dual citizenship in both the US and Russia.
  • Russian children adopted and living in the US as American citizens are still considered by Russian authorities to be Russian citizens only.
  • When these Russian-born children travel to Russia, they must do so on a valid (non-expired) Russian passport rather than in their US passport with a Russian visa.

According to Russia’s federal law “On citizenship,” every Russian citizen with dual citizenship is treated by the Russian Federation and its authorities as a citizen of Russia only.

Anyone who emigrated from Russia to the USA, even if by adoption, in 1992 or later, is still a Russian citizen unless specific steps have been taken to renounce the individual’s citizenship. Children adopted from Russia remain Russian citizens until they are 18 years of age, at which point they can choose to renounce citizenship. If no steps are taken to renounce citizenship, Russian citizenship is retained by default.

Russian law does NOT forbid carrying US citizenship as well as Russian. However, Russian law does not officially recognize dual citizenship, either. Russia requires their citizens, including those holding dual citizenship, to enter Russia with Russian passport only. Russian citizens may not receive a student (or any other) visa. It is illegal for a Russian citizen to enter Russia on a visa.

If someone decided to renounce Russian citizenship he should take to the account that  the process of renouncing can take at least 6 months. To renounce Russian citizenship, one must have a valid (not expired) Russian passport. Renewing a Russian passport usually takes an additional 3 months. If someone in this dual-citizen situation is planning to study abroad in Russia at any point, or simply travel to Russia, this issue should be addressed to the Consulate as soon as possible.

For further information please contact Citizenship Section at:

Email: otdelgrdc@gmail.com

fax: (202) 939-8909