The importation of goods into the Russian Federation is regulated by a wide range of laws and regulations, mainly the Customs Code of the Customs Union (hereinafter – the "Customs Code").

Customs Transit

When crossing the Russian state border, goods imported by road or by rail are placed under a customs procedure of customs transit to the destination customs authority (customs control zone).

In this respect, a transit bill of entry is to be submitted to the customs authority in the checkpoint on the Russian state border.

Instead of a transit bill of entry, the following documents may be submitted: carnet TIR; ATA carnet; transport (shipping), commercial and/or other documents (e.g. CMR, invoices).

Upon arrival to a destination point, a transit bill of entry or substituting documents must be submitted to the destination customs authority within one hour. After verification of the bill of entry data, the customs authority issues a confirmation of a vehicle arrival. Thus, the customs transit procedure is completed, and the declarant must submit a bill of entry and documents to the customs authority within three hours of completion of the customs transit or place the goods under a customs procedure of temporary storage (not more than four months).

Import of Goods Into Russia

When importing goods to the customs territory of Russia and placing them under a customs procedure of release for internal consumption (import), the declarant (buyer, seller, representative) must execute the following documents and submit them to an authorized customs authority:

  1. Bill of entry. The bill of entry form and the filling-in procedure are approved by resolution of the Customs Union Commission (hereinafter – the "Commission") No. 257 dated May 20, 2010.
  2. Documents confirming the data specified in the bill of entry:
    1. Documents confirming the authorities of the person submitting the bill of entry (passport, power of attorney, a document confirming that the person submitting the bill of entry is an employee of the declarant (customs representative)
    2. Documents confirming making a foreign trade transaction, and in the case of non-existence of a foreign trade transaction, other documents confirming the right of ownership, usage and (or) disposal of goods, as well as other commercial documents available to the declarant (contract, invoice, pro-forma invoice)
    3. Transport (shipping) documents
    4. Documents confirming compliance with interdictions and restrictions (licenses, certificates, etc.)
    5. Documents confirming upholding of restriction in connection with taking special protective, antidumping, and countervailing measures
    6. Documents confirming the country of origin of goods (declaration of origin, certificate of origin)
    7. Documents on the basis of which the classification code of the goods under the Foreign Economic Activity Commodity Nomenclature was declared (manufacturer's technical documents, vehicle or equipment passport, photos, pictures, etc.)
    8. Documents confirming payment and (or) security of payment of customs fees (payment order, bank bond, surety agreement, etc.). Calculation and payment of customs fees including taxes shall be performed in accordance with the EurAsEC common customs tariff approved by the resolution of the Council of the Eurasian Economic Commission No. 54 dated July 16, 2012, with the Government Decree of the Russian Federation No. 863 dated December 28, 2004 "On the Rates of Customs Fees," with the Tax Code of the Russian Federation
    9. Documents confirming the right to relief for the payment of customs fees, to full or partial exemption from customs fees and taxes in accordance with the customs procedure established by the Customs Code or to base erosion for calculation of customs duties and taxes
    10. Documents confirming change of the due date for payment of customs duties and taxes
    11. Documents confirming the declared customs values of the goods and the chosen method for determination of the customs value of the goods
    12. A document confirming observance of the currency control requirements in accordance with the currency laws of the member states of the Customs Union (transaction certificate). It is not required to submit the transaction certificate when submitting a bill of entry. It is still necessary to specify the transaction certificate number in the bill of entry (Order of the Federal Customs Service No. 1470 dated July 20, 2012 and No. 836 dated May 06, 2014 "On Non-Submission of a Transaction Certificate when Declaring Goods").

The customs authority examines the submitted bill of entry and the documents attached thereto and makes a decision on release of the goods for free circulation or on refusal to release such goods. Before release of goods for free circulation, a declarant must pay all customs duties, fees, and VAT.

Attention to Details

When declaring goods, special attention is to be paid to the determination and specification of the customs value of goods because it is subject to the control from the customs authorities, and to determination and specification of the classification code of the goods under the Foreign Economic Activity Commodity Nomenclature.

When selling identical goods to Russian buyers and importing these goods to Russia, it is necessary to determine equal value of these goods and specify it in bills of entry. Otherwise, there is a risk of additional charge of customs duties and taxes.

Many goods may be used in Russia only provided that they comply with the mandatory technical requirements and standards established both in Russia and the Customs Union.

This is why, before importation of goods into Russia and submission of a bill of entry, it is necessary to obtain special documents for the imported goods in advance. Usually, this is done by a manufacturer (seller) through its representatives in Russia or by a buyer (but possessing respective documents from the manufacturer (seller) and authorities from them).

Intellectual Property Rights Protection

Customs authorities within the scope of their competence provide control over goods comprising intellectual property items.

Any organization owning rights to a trademark, a service mark, copyright item, or neighboring right item protected in the territory of the Russian Federation has the right to apply for inclusion of its intellectual property object into the Customs registry of intellectual property with the purpose of its protection by the customs authorities of the Russian Federation.

If a trademark is included into the Customs intellectual property registry (the information is published in the Federal Customs Service website at, and goods with this trademark are imported to the territory of Russia not by their right holder or their authorized importers, in order to exclude the possibility of suspension of goods release for 10 business days, it is necessary to submit to the customs authority during a customs clearance procedure written or electronic documents confirming the consent of the right holder to introduce the goods for sale in the Russian Federation (contract, distribution agreement, a letter of the right holder, etc.).

It is forbidden to import to the Russian Federation goods labeled with a trademark without approval of its right holder.

The following usage of a trademark without consent of its right holder is illegal:

  • Placement on the produced (imported) goods (packages, labels, etc.).
  • Public demonstration (on equipment or on another item).
  • Performance of works / rendering of services under a trademark.

All rights to use trademarks are owned by their right holders. The usage of trademarks by other persons for their purposes without the consent of the right holder is prosecuted and, depending on the way and the scope of the infringement, it results in a certain form of liability established by the Russian laws.

Current laws of the Russian Federation establish the following types of liability for illegal use of a trademark:

  • Civil liability
  • Administrative liability
  • Criminal liability

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.