Russia Altai permit

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Russia Altai permit

Post by Ronnie79 »


In a week or two we are planning to drive with own cars from Kazakhstan to Mongolia through the Altai region. We are planning stay on the main road apart from some offroad driving in the are area. Within maybe 20km from the main road and stay away from the border regions. Will we need a permit for the Altai region?
Have heard so many different rules. Our Russian visas is in order.

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Re: Russia Altai permit

Post by DAEMO79 »

Ronnie 79,

I assume you have since travelled through the Altai region? How was it in regards to the 'Border Permit rule?

I was planning on driving through to Ust Kan then along the p/r373 rather than going to Gorno altaysk then south on the Chuyskiy trakt p/256.

I have heard a permit is need south of Ust koksa which would put a stop to this adventure route.

Any info on this would be great.

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Re: Russia Altai permit

Post by DAEMO79 »

So far the only information I have found through tour companies is that they will organize a permit if I purchase a trekking tour. Applications take up to 2 months. Real Russia conveniently ignore the questions as they removed the region from my LOI Application ( guess they didn't want to deal with it from day one). As per usual i'll update as I find relevant information.
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Special Permits in Russian Altai

Post by shirleymbk »

Does anyone know whether special permits are needed to travel along the charish river (by road), курья > харлово > Чарышское > коргон > усть-кан > туекта?

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Re: Special Permits in Russian Altai

Post by shirleymbk »

Yeah i find a lot of questions and few answers. Does anyone know what I can expect to happen if I turn up without a permit where one is needed? Will there be road checkpoints that I cant get past, or will the first I know about being in a permit zone be when I get arrested? Considering just giving it a go and seeing what happens.... Alternatively maybe asking the local police is a good idea? Or a really bad one.... :)
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Re: Russia Altai permit

Post by steven »

So, I don't have the time yet to summarize this into an article, but I decided to quickly read up on the situation and see what I could find. I am sure you also read the same stuff as it comes from the first 20 results in Google. Anyway, it seems to me that as long as you stay on the main road to Mongolia - no worries, no permit needed. Wanna get off the main road? Need to register in Gorno Altaisk and need some type of permit, which takes ages or alternatively, 10 days and is best applied for in advance. There are signs on the road saying don't go any further unless you have a permit, so you are warned. I didn't research further but I remember seeing the name of a travel agency called Aguna. Can give that a go.

Here are the articles I read: ... uur-border ... -in-Russia ... -mongolia/ ... 20_22.html ... ai-concern

This sums it up the rules again. I think they still stand, but details might vary obviously.

According new border zone rules (effected from Nov., 19 2008, rule #572):!id ... sbNpa.html (in Russian only)
to visit border zone area one must send an request to the corresponding FSB (Federal Security Service) office in 1 month advance (was 1-3 days) for Russian nationals and 2 month advance (was 10 days) for foreign visitors. The forms are available (and must be filled in) in Russian only. According these forms, the group of visitors should be granted with the permit only if the request is sent by a Russian company in behalf on it's representative (and this representative must obtain the permit and accompany the team in person). In other words, the independed travels in border zones are unavailable.
For Altai mountains, the following popular destinations are situated within border zone:
- Mt. Belukha area (trekking, mountaineering, horse riding)
- Ukok Plateau (archaeological sites, fishing, trekking)
- Altai Range, South Chuya and Katuski (Jazator village, Argut river) Ranges from the South (mountaineering, trekking, rafting, horse riding, archaeological tours)

What is possible to visit without entering the border zone (so, to prepare to the trip in a resonable advance):
- Aktru area (Northern Chuya Range), Maashei Gorge and Kurai Range (trekking, mountaineering, horse riding and archaeological sightseeing) - most developed facilities for such a remote place here.
have a look for some info: ... altai3.htm
- Chuya, middle Katun, Chulyshman, Bashkaus rivers- rafting, fishing, archaeological sightseeing
- Teletskoe lake
- Shavlo Lakes (Katunskiy Range)- trekking, horse riding:
- Beltyr village area (trekking, archaeological sightseeing, horse riding)
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Re: Russia Altai permit

Post by matruc »

Hi everybody!
I just want to summarize my recent experience from Altai Mountains regarding the permits and registration, coz there seems to be a lot of confusion about that issue.
I did a six days trek over the Norhern Chuya Range (Aktash, Mashei Valley, over the saddle to Shavlovskoe lakes, little bit up the valley and then back to Chibit on the main road). No special (border) permit needed for this region. It's quite a popular trekking destination for locals. Good trails, amazing scenery.
On the road from Gorno Altaisk to Aktash and back no check point whatsoever. Never even heard about someone being checked for permits/registration.
Also before going to Altai I found couple posts on travel forums mentioning some special registration duty for the Altai region different from the normal OVIR registration, which you are supposed to do, when you visit Russia.
Well, I wasn't asked nor have I heard anything during my stay about the special Altai registration duty, so I don't think it's a real thing. Personally I think people just mistake it for the Altai border permit, which again is NOT needed for the Northern Chuya Range and neither for the Chuyskyi trakt (the road from G.Altaisk to Mongolia).
You need to get the border permit only if you go to the Belucha area or any other place in the immediate proximity of the Russian border (like couple kilometres). Northern Chuya range is about 100km from the actual border.
I did my OVIR registration in Severobaikalsk and that's all. Actually I haven't been checked for the registration not even once during the whole month in Russia. Not even when leaving Russia for Kazakhstan.
That would be all. Safe travels to all and enjoy Altai. It's magnificent.
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Re: Russia Altai permit

Post by tabf2010 »

Hey guys,
I have some updated information about the permit situation. I was just in Altai for about 2 weeks and met some local couchsurfing hosts who shared a lot of info with me.

1. Non-stop transit through border zones without a permit is perfectly legal (unclear whether this is only for cars or also bikes).
2. The fine if you're caught is only 500 rubles (<$10).

For the main road from Barnaul to Mongolia, there is no permit required. Up to Aktash, you can go off the road without problems. After Aktash you enter the Kosh Agash region, where a permit is required in order to leave the main road and villages along it. You don't need a permit to go into the villages along the road, but anywhere further than the boundaries of the villages is a restricted zone in Kosh Agash region (the last 100km or so before Mongolia).

For Ust-Koksa region, where Beluha mountain is, you officially need a permit. There is a sign along the road towards Ust Koksa which says where the border zone begins (in Russian). Along the road, there is a very small border zone near the town of Ust Kan, and then the border zone starts again a ways before Ust Koksa and continues until just after the town, then there is a break for roughly 15km as the border zone boundary follows the river, and the road reenters the border zone just after Nizhny Uimon until it dead ends in Tyungur. There's a path from Tyungur to Inya which is fine for bikes but too narrow for cars, so if you're on a bike or horse you may be able to do a loop and only stop in the non-restricted zones...but just know that it's unclear whether police will accept biking/horse riding as a form of transit through the border zone or not. Transit through the border zone is perfectly legal as long as it's just transit and you don't stop (the definition of "don't stop" is pretty vague...). So, if you're caught without a permit, you can say that you're going to Nizhny Uimon. It's a beautiful area, so don't let the permit scare you off!

In the summer, there are quite often police checking for permits in Ust Koksa, Tyungur, and along the trail towards Beluha Mountain. Therefore, it's a good idea to avoid those locations if you don't have a permit. In the off season you're less likely to encounter police, but it's still possible. Police rarely stop cars with local plates, so your best bet to not get stopped is to hitchhike with locals (license plate 04). Hitchhiking is super easy in this region. Like everywhere in Russia, there are occasional random police checkpoints on the road which you can't predict. If you get dropped off in Ust Koksa without a permit, ask your driver to at least take you to the far end of the town.

If you are caught without a permit, the official punishment is a 500 ruble fine. You can say that you're just transporting through the region and you stayed/will stay in Nizhny Uimon, which will work and you won't have to pay if you're stopped in a car along the main road, but is less likely to work if you're caught walking around a town or are off of the main road. It's possible that the police will ask for more money, but any more than 500 is just a bribe, so just say that you only have 500 rubles and can't pay any more. Nobody will follow you out of the region but if you're caught a second time you risk deportation, so it's probably a good idea to leave the border region as quickly as possible if you get caught and fined. If you're caught by a different police officer, it's quite unlikely that they would know you were caught already...well just weigh the risk for yourself.

I transited through the border zone to Nizhny Uimon and back without a permit and without any problems. On the way there, I hitchhiked in a local car and wasn't stopped. I was lucky to get a direct ride. On the way back, I hitchhiked in a car from Novosibirsk. They were pulled over at a police checkpoint just after Ust Koksa. Everyone else in the car (Russians) gave their passports and I didn't give mine, hoping the police would just ignore it. After a few minutes he asked for my (USA) passport and permit and I handed him my passport and said that I'm just hitchhiking from Nizhny Uimon to the Chuiskiy Trakt so I don't have a permit. He just handed the passport back and didn't ask any more questions.

If you want to get a permit, it's easy but you need to plan in advance. It takes 2 months. You can do it by emailing the border police at [email protected]. It's very unlikely that they speak English so have a Russian-speaking friend help you. It's free and the max time you can apply for is a year. So, ask for a year to give yourself the most flexibility. You can ask to pick up the permit in Gorno Altaisk or in Ust Koksa (if you're caught in Ust Koksa on your way to picking up the permit, just show the police your correspondence with the border agency and you'll be fine). You can ask for a permit for all Altai border regions at the same time, which is definitely worth doing. Maybe you can convince them to do it in less than 2 months, but that's unpredictable. Best to just order the border permit now if you think you might be in Altai some time in the next 2-14 months, since it's free and easy to do. If you decide to go to Altai less than 2 months in advance, the potential 500 ruble fine is definitely worth seeing this place!

Here's the official regions where a permit is required (in Russian, but you can use google translate): ... sbNpa.html
you can find the exact borders of these regions on open street maps (links below)

Contact info for the border organization with whom you can apply for a permit:!id= ... vsion.html

Maps of the border zones:

Ust-Kan region:
Mendur-Sokkonskoe : ... 33/84.4837

Ust-Koksa region:
Karaiskoe: ... 870/85.660
Amurskoe: ... 22/85.3802
Ust-Kokinskoe: ... 45/86.0168
Ognyovskoe: ... 64/85.5656
Taldinskoye: ... 84/86.0065

Kosh Agash region:
Mukhor-Tarkhatinskoe: ... 96/88.2806
Kazakhskoe: ... 72/89.0140
Tashantinskoe: ... 54/89.3031
Kokorinskoe: ... 86/89.3079
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Re: Russia Altai permit

Post by tspoon765 »

Hi, and thanks for the fantastically detailed information. With regards to the maps you have posted, can you tell me how to search for similar maps for border areas in other Russian localities? I am interested in travelling off the main highway in the Republic of Tuva, and would like to know for which areas, if any, I need to apply for a border area pass.
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Re: Russia Altai permit

Post by glumet »

Hi guys, I am still little bit confused. Me and friends of mine are going to visit Altai this July. We would like to make a trip starting from Barnaul, then go to Gorno-Altajsk - Usa Koksa - Tjungur - along the Kucerla River - Kucerla Lake - Karatjurek - Lake Akkem and through Tjungur back to Kucerla village.

Do you know if some special permit is necessary to visit these places? It quite close to border zone.
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