Blog - International passport

Added on Thursday, 2013-04-25 09:30 CEST in category Moscow

Internal passport

I've had my Russian passport for about a month now, but like I wrote there, this wouldn't be Russia if that was that. Unlike most passports, my Russian passport is not a valid travel document (well, mostly anyway), but merely my primary identity document. Besides my name, date of birth etc., it also mentions my place of registration, my marital status, my military status, etc.

This internal passport is a remnant from the Soviet Union, when being able to leave the country was more the exception than the rule. With an internal passport, you could travel within the Soviet Union, and up till this day you still can to Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine, but, just like then, it won't get you anywhere else.

International passport

Thus was already back then introduced the international passport, with which you could actually go abroad. Originally, in the Soviet Union, such an international passport had to be handed back in upon return from abroad, but nowadays of course you get to keep it.

Because even now not everyone is allowed to leave the country (e.g., secret service personnel, draft dodgers, tax evaders, etc.), they run a lot of background checks, which takes time: it takes up to 30 days before you can collect your international passport (so usually exactly 30 days :P)

Stuck…, or?…

In the meantime, I couldn't leave Russia. My Dutch passport is of no value here, because here I'm Russian, not Dutch, and without a valid international passport, I couldn't leave.

Although, there might just be some ways around this. E.g., my Dutch passport does still have a valid Russian visa, on which I entered, and on which I could enter again. But then again, at the border they might also just see that I'd already been granted Russian citizenship, so why am I trying to leave/enter again as a Dutchman?

Alternatively, I could travel to Ukraine on my Russian internal passport, "switch" to being Dutch (I don't need a visa there either as a Dutchman or as a Russian), and leave from there a Dutchman. Sometime later I can go back the same route. But then again, you're not supposed to switch citizenships within a country, and I have no idea what checks they have at the border.

Possible or not, in any case it'd be too much bother, so I decided to just sit it out. I needed to take care of my military ticket anyway, and besides, I work here.


But now that my international passport is finally done, it's five down, and zero to go, and I'm free again to go home :) Hello 30+ hour train ride! :)