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A cross-border guide to Russian ecommerce, shipping, and importing goods 


If you are looking to grow your ecommerce business into Russia, you’ve come to the right place. In our guide, created by Zonos' cross-border experts, you will find up-to-date duty and tax rates, landed cost breakdown examples, and detailed information on restrictions, trade agreements, required import documentation, and more.\

Zonos grade for Russia - D 

Ease of doing business2/5- The Federal Customs Service of Russia tends to be strict.
- Russia’s World Trade Organization membership adds some ease to doing business in the country.
Landed cost fairness3/5- Russia has a relatively high duty and tax de minimis and a relatively low duty rate, which are beneficial for those importing into the country.
  • Russia has a high VAT rate.
  • Russia has a weight and de minimis threshold that, when exceeded, cancels de minimis privileges, and a broker is required to clear the shipment. | | Flexibility of legal regulations1/5 | - Russia has many regulations in place designed to protect its citizens, including safeguarding consumer data and preventing “unfair” competition, which can make advertising and compliance difficult for those seeking to expand their sales internationally to Russia.
  • The Federal Customs Service of Russia is rigid and unwavering with their regulations. | | Availability and accessibility of shipping2/5 | - The major international carriers ship to Russia, but with limitations (see Shipping and compliance section below).
  • Because of Russia’s strictness at customs, and the large size of the country, it can take a while for the package to clear customs and ship to your consumer’s location. This may result in premature customer complaints of lost packages. | | Accessibility and variety of payment methods1/5 | - Russia accepts a variety of popular payment methods, but their preferred method is cash upon delivery, which is not feasible for international online retailers. | | Market opportunity3/5 | - With a little over half of the population shopping online, Russia’s ecommerce market is an opportunity worth looking into. |

The Zonos grade for this country is based on the scores earned in the above categories.

Key stats for Russia 

Population146 million (2022)
GDP$1.483 trillion USD (2020)
GDP per capita$10,126.72 USD (2020)
Internet penetration85% of the population use the internet. (2022)
Ecommerce users52.4% of the population shop online. (2022)
Leading product categoriesHousehold appliances, electronics, fashion
Preferred online payment method(s)Debit card, eWallet, credit card, bank transfer, cash upon delivery
Language(s)Russian, Tatar, Cechen, Bashkir, Ukranian, Chuvash, Armenian, Avar, Azeri, English, German, French, etc.
CurrencyRussian ruble/RUB/₽

Landed cost for Russia 

Russian duty, tax, and de minimis

Value-added tax (VAT)Average duty rateDuty and tax de minimis

| - Standard rate: 20%

  • Reduced rate (for certain goods*): 10%
  • Applied to the CIF value of the goods. | - 7.6%
  • Applied to the CIF value of the goods | - Duty de minimis: €200
  • Tax de minimis: €200
  • Based on the CIF value of the goods |

*Goods such as children’s clothing, medical products, printed publications, and certain basic foodstuffs qualify for the reduced VAT rate.

De minimis value

Duty and tax will be charged only on imports into Russia where the total CIF value of the import exceeds Russia’s minimum value threshold (de minimis), which is €200. Russia also operates a weight de minimis of 31kg. Anything under the de minimis value and weight will be considered a duty and tax-free import.

VAT - Value-added tax

Value-added Tax (VAT) is a 20% tax that is applied to all imports into Russia valued at greater than the tax de minimis (€200). VAT is calculated on the CIF value (cost of goods plus freight and insurance) plus any applicable duty.

Import excise tax

Certain goods being imported into Russia are subject to an excise tax (extra tax) and are regulated per Article 193 of Tax Code of the Russian Federation.

Import duty

Like VAT, duty is charged on the CIF value of the item, which means that duty is calculated based on the price of the goods, plus the cost of packing, freight, and insurance. Duty is only applicable to shipments where the CIF value is greater than the duty de minimis (€200).

Landed cost examples for Russia

Below are sample landed cost breakdowns for [country name] (one below and one above the de minimis threshold) calculated using Zonos Quoter:

Landed cost for a shipment below the de minimis value:

Landed cost for a shipment above the de minimis value:

Trade agreements

Russia has at least 12 trade agreements that offer a zero or highly discounted duty rate for goods made in a participating country. The most prominent trade group of which Russia is a member is the Eurasian Economic Union.

Member of Eurasian Economic Union (EEU)

Russia is part of the Eurasian Economic Union and has minimal trade allowances between the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Kazakhstan, and the Kyrgyz Republic. The union was launched between all five members on January 1, 2015, and since then, it focuses on multiple trade aspects.

Russia is a member of the World Trade Organization

Russia is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Therefore, Russia must abide by the most-favored-nation (MFN) clause, which requires a country to provide any concessions, privileges, or immunities granted to one nation in a trade agreement to all other WTO member countries. For example, if a country reduces duties by 10% for one country, the MFN clause states that all WTO members will have their duties cut by 10% into that country.

Customs resources 

Customs refund in Russia

Customs refund in Russia

Customs Authorities

The Federal Customs Service of Russia

Eurasian Economic Union

Shipping and compliance 

Top courier services

  • DHL Express

    • DHL only allows residential delivery in Russia with pre-approval. Talk to your DHL representative to learn how to get this approval.
    • DHL packages are screened for value and weight prior to being allowed into Russia.
  • FedEx

    • FedEx only supports business-to-consumer (B2C) shipments from ecommerce websites if the website has registered with the Russian government. Talk to your FedEx representative for assistance.
    • FedEx packages are screened for value and weight prior to being allowed into Russia.
  • UPS

    • UPS packages are screened for value and weight prior to being allowed into Russia.
  • USPS

Documentation and paperwork

Always needed:

  • Bill of lading or air waybill
  • Commercial or proforma invoice
  • Packing list

Sometimes needed:

  • Product description from the manufacturer (catalog, user manual, etc.)

  • Country of origin certificate (when applicable)

  • Cargo insurance document

    • If the cargo is not insured - Letter disclosing that the cargo was not insured
  • Price list (official offer from seller)

  • Export declaration of the seller’s country with translation

  • If previous goods were released from customs and fall under this contract, a document that includes those previously-released goods for accounting purposes

  • Declaration of conformity

  • Sanitary certificates (when applicable)

Restricted, prohibited, and controlled items

Many various government agencies may be involved in regulating imports.

Prohibited items

  • Service and civilian weapons, their major parts, and their ammunition
  • Dangerous wastes
  • Special technical means, meant for secretly obtaining information
  • Ozone-destroying substances and products containing ozone-destroying substances
  • Means of plant protection (pesticides) and other persistent organic pollutants
  • Means of extraction (catching) of aquatic biological resources (fishing supplies, etc.)
  • Poisonous substances, which are not the precursors of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances

Restricted items

  • Printed or audio-visual information and other data storage devices
  • Narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances, and their precursors, except limited amounts of narcotic and psychotropic substances in the form of medical agents for personal administration on medical indications when supported medical documents and prescriptions are present
  • Human organs and/or tissues, blood, and their components

Carrier-specific prohibitions and restrictions

  • DHL

    • DHL’s prohibited items for Russia are listed in addition to Russia’s standard global list of restricted and prohibited items.
  • FedEx

    • You can select the country of your choice from the dropdown list.
  • UPS

    • For this website, choose the ship-from/origin country of your choice and set Russia as the destination country in order to see the specific prohibited and restricted items for that shipment.
  • USPS

    • This resource contains country conditions for mailing to Russia through USPS.

Legal regulations for businesses

Russia has regulations in place to protect its consumers when shopping via ecommerce with respect to the following:

  • Consumers' personal data

    • Any extraction or storage of a consumer’s data in Russia initially happens in a Russian database.
  • Consumer rights

    • The consumer has the right to reject goods at any time before they are delivered, or return them within seven days of delivery.
    • The consumer can reject and return purchases within three months after delivery if the seller failed to provide the information on the procedure for returning goods.
    • The consumer has the right to reject goods when the order was incorrect or defective.
    • The consumer has the right to terminate the contract with the seller (through a request to the court) if the terms were unfavorable, and deemed so by the court.
  • Advertising

    • Foreign companies marketing to Russian consumers (through SMS, email, etc.) must gain consent before advertising to them. This can take the form of a checkbox allowing a consumer to select a box to either give or not give consent to an advertisement being shown to them.
  • Competition

    • Unfair competitive practices that mislead consumers or damage other businesses' competitive edge are unlawful, including the following:

      • Slandering another company
      • Falsely advertising your products (being untruthful about the quality, quantity, origin of manufacture, etc.)
      • Comparing your products with those of another business entity

Requirements for a foreign business to sell to consumers in Russia

While Russia does not require foreign companies to have a location in Russia or any special licensing to sell to Russian consumers, the following is required on your website for your online business to legally sell into Russia:

  • Privacy policy
  • Terms and conditions
  • Business legal name
  • Business registration number (for wherever the business is located)
  • Business address
  • Business contact details
  • Integrated accredited payment processor

Next steps

  • Decoding China- Learn more about expanding your sales into the biggest ecommerce market in the world.
  • Decoding Canada- Discover what you need to do to expand your business into Canada, graded an A by Zonos experts.
  • Decoding Australia- Learn about selling cross border to Australia, graded an A- by Zonos experts.

FAQ

Do I have to translate my website to Russian when selling to Russian consumers?

While it is not required, it is recommended. Zonos Hello welcomes and provides customs and duty and tax information to your customers in their language.