From today every foreigner wishing to enter Russia will have to receive an immigration card. According to the Russian Interior Ministry's press office, the immigration card will be filled in at the border and will contain complete information about the foreign citizen.
The press office underlined that the introduction of the new document was intended to reduce the level of illegal immigration. According to some estimates, there are currently around 3.5 million illegal immigrants in Russia.
Foreigners already in Russia will have until March 25 to obtain immigration cards from their local branch of the Interior Ministry's Department for Visas and Registration. Foreign citizens will not need to be registered in order to receive their cards. The Interior Ministry has set up a special agency to keep more effective control of the movement foreign citizens in Russia. Police officers will start checking immigration cards from tomorrow. A range of administrative measures will be taken against people without immigration cards - from verbal warnings to deportation from Russia.