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markmarkov
10-10-2007, 12:55
Hi everyone! I have a story to share with you guys along with some questions regarding driving in Russia. I have been in Russia for 4 months now, driving for ~ 6 weeks.

I was stopped at the GAI post outside the city of Bogorodsk, driving towards Nizhniy Novgorod.
The officer checked all my documents (registration, insurance policy, "texosmotr", "doverennost'", etc.) and everything was in order. Except there was one little problem: He decided that my California driver's license is only valid for driving a truck! As it turns out, "Class C" in Russian terms indicates that the license is for driving a big rig only and not a passenger car! No matter how hard I tried to describe the procedure of me getting this DL at the DMV in San Francisco and then driving with it in the U.S. for many years, he didn't react and began to write an "akt izyatiya" (confiscation). I also showed him a printout of the Russian traffic law which among other things states:
<<44. В Российской Федерации лица, временно пребывающие на ее территории, имеют право управлять транспортными средствами при наличии международного или иностранного национального водительского удостоверения, соответствующего требованиям Конвенции о дорожном движении 1968 года, записи в котором произведены или продублированы буквами латинского алфавита. >>
When he saw this, he said "Yes, it is ok to drive on a foreign DL but yours is for driving a truck and you cannot drive a passenger car!"
He seemed like he is actually going to confiscate the DL. Only my calls to the local city administration (that I happen to work with) solved the problem.

I know there's at least several hundred Americans driving in Moscow. Has anyone had a similar problem?
I know the initial recommendation of most people would be to get a notarized translation, but HOW IS IT GOING TO HELP? THE TRANSLATOR IS NOT GOING TO CHANGE "CLASS C" TO "CLASS B" (Class "Russian letter B" is what is should be to drive a passenger vehicle in Russia).

P.S. One suggestion I have for others is to show your American (or other foreign) passport right away. The question of my passport did not come up until about 40 minutes of him torturing me. He was very nasty in the beginning, but once he saw the passport, he showed a lot more respect. I don't think any American has ever been stopped in Bogorodsk personally driving a car.
When I showed him my passport, I have already placed a call to the Administration -- he may have let me go anyway after he saw it.

P.P.S. Did anyone know that headlights must be turned on when driving on a federal freeway outside the city? That's what I was initially stopped for!

Pobman
10-10-2007, 12:58
P.P.S. Did anyone know that headlights must be turned on when driving on a federal freeway outside the city? That's what I was initially stopped for!

Yes I believe that rule came in at the same time as the red indicator lights were banned... both rules are normally ignored, I simply have my lights on almost all the time.

TD
10-10-2007, 13:10
i have never had them pay any attention whatsoever to the "class" of license... but logic would dictate that if you are licensed to drive a big rig, you would of course be allowed to drive a passenger car as well

basically you were being extorted, or the guy had a hair up his a$$

by the way, you SHOULD have a translation of your license in any case to make it legal...

Fsigda Svami
10-10-2007, 13:12
This from another posting I happened to remember on that other site:

The GAI, now DPS, or traffic police, are really very easy to deal with regardless of any violation you may have committed. The first thing to remember is that they understand better than most people that time is money. And they understand that foreigners are easily frightened and don't want to get involved in some complicated procedure with a traffic ticket or retrieving their license from them later.

So the first thing they want to do is frighten you. They will tell you how bad the violation is, how much money it will cost you, how long it will take and so on. If you did nothing wrong or if the violation is so small that the fine is laughable, they might try to find something else, check your passport, visa, and registration. During this whole procedure they will continue to insist that they cannot take a fine from you right there on the spot. All of this is very routine and differs little from one officer to another.

The second thing they want to do is delay you. Not for very long, but for long enough to see if you'll just pay to get moving again.

Always be sure you have all the proper documents for your car and your right to drive with you. At a minimum you need the title for the vehicle (tek passport), proof of insurance, and a drivers license, preferably international. If you are driving a car with foreign numbers, you will need temporary import documents (vreminy vos). If you don't have all the right documents, you can still get by but it will cost you more and/or take longer.

I always travel with 200 rubles tucked inside my drivers license because I don't want to fumble with my money in front of them so they can salivate over the 1000 ruble notes. 200 is the minimum amount you need if you are just going to pay them off quickly.

If you are stopped, don't get out of the car unless they demand it. Just wait for them to come to you. This irritates them ever so slightly but it puts you in control. And if you've been drinking, it keeps you in a space where your breath cannot so easily be detected while you try to work out a quick and cheap payoff.

When they finally come up to the driver window, they will introduce themselves and ask for your documents. Give them the documents, one at a time, very calmly and deliberately, saving the drivers license for last. If all your documents are in order and this is a routine traffic stop, remove the 200 rubles before you give them the license. Most of the time, they just wave me off before they even get to the license because by then it's obvious to them even before they get to the last document that everything is in order.

If you have made some ordinary traffic mistake, don't remove the money and hand them the license (last, if possible). Usually by the time they find the money they smile, palm the money, say everything is alright and hand back the documents less the money. Easy money makes them very happy. They loose their time and money dragging you back to the patrol car.

If you've done something serious, like you are drunk, you'll have to pay a lot more. 500 rubles is the going rate for routine offenses but you can get it down to 200 for the reasons stated above. Drunk driving is more like 3000 rubles if they have you in the patrol car.

In any event, if you find yourself sitting with them in the patrol car, you're probably going to pay more than 200 rubles. They won't take or discuss your bribe if anyone else is there and they don't like to take the money into their own hands. At some stage rather early in the process, you will be alone with one officer in the car.

Almost always if you are sitting in the car at this point, you have done something wrong. Be nice, let them explain it all, how difficult and expensive this is all going to be, then admit you made a mistake, say you are sorry, you will never do it again, you didn't understand the exact nuance of the law or language, etc. Then just slip your 500 ruble note on an unoccupied seat and say, "I don't have time for all that, how about if we just do this this?" 99% of the time he will simply give your documents back and tell you to be careful when you drive.

Now if you have absolutely no money in your pocket, your situation is a little worse, but not irretrievable. Remember, time is money. Agree with everything they say and sit there. Just sit and be agreeable. Demonstrate that you have nothing to do but spend your time with them. They may start the car up and say they are taking you to the station or they may ask you to start up your car and follow them somewhere. They will certainly start to write up the protocol. Maybe they'll tell you your car will be impounded, or they're gonna take you to the hospital or doctor for some tests.

This is just a ruse to scare you. Play along. Sooner or later they will just wave you off. Why? Because time is money and they make no money hauling you off someplace. It just takes them off the street where there are plenty of rich Russian drivers who will happily slip them 1000 rubles for absolutely nothing.

Remember, these are just ordinary working guys with wives and children and families, trying to live in a very expensive city on a salary that is less than 12,000 rubles a month. What would you do? If you put yourself in their shoes, you'll almost never have a problem with the GAI.

Clean32
10-10-2007, 14:10
I have never had a problem with the GAI, even when i was wrong, ie speeding and U turns etc.

As to paying bribes No forget it, just donít do it thereís no need at all, if you are an expat you are actually more of a problem for them than they are for you.

Russian Law, you offence must be explained to you before writing a protocol.
There are 2 official languages in Russia. Russian and English.
If you do not speak Russian and only English, then the GAI officer must explain your offence in English. thatís the Law. So if you drive on an expat license, why the hell are you speaking Russian?? If your wife is in the car ( assuming she is Russian) she must say to the GAI officer that he must explain to the driver, Thatís the law. At this point and if your documents are all in order they will just wave you on.
they do have the right to hold you on the side of the road until an official translator turns up.
They do have the right to take your license, issue you with a protocol ( which is also a temp drivers license), then you head off to spear bank pay the fine, take the receipt to GAI HQ and pick up your license.
They do have the right to stop you for no reason.

Documents
Car passport
Tech inspection
Insurance
authority to drive the car ( if its not in your name)
If you are an expat, and your car is not registered in RF, no one but you is allowed to drive it PERIOD.
If the car is registered in RF to an NON RF CITZ, no one else is allowed to drive it PERIOD.
If a car is registered to a Russian citz, that Russian citz can give authority to any one they please including an Expat.

Lights on all federal roads so where you see the sign on the other side of the road with the name of the town you are leaving on it but with 3 lines though it. Lines are at about 45 deg angle, you are now on federal road. Also when over taking you must beep your horn and indicate. You can over take on a broken white line, but not on an unbroken (solid ) white line. etc i could go on for hours. LOL

markmarkov
10-10-2007, 14:20
Clean32, thanks for your response! Are you still planning to come over here???
Mark.


I have never had a problem with the GAI, even when i was wrong, ie speeding and U turns etc.

As to paying bribes No forget it, just donít do it thereís no need at all, if you are an expat you are actually more of a problem for them than they are for you.

Russian Law, you offence must be explained to you before writing a protocol.
There are 2 official languages in Russia. Russian and English.
If you do not speak Russian and only English, then the GAI officer must explain your offence in English. thatís the Law. So if you drive on an expat license, why the hell are you speaking Russian?? If your wife is in the car ( assuming she is Russian) she must say to the GAI officer that he must explain to the driver, Thatís the law. At this point and if your documents are all in order they will just wave you on.
they do have the right to hold you on the side of the road until an official translator turns up.
They do have the right to take your license, issue you with a protocol ( which is also a temp drivers license), then you head off to spear bank pay the fine, take the receipt to GAI HQ and pick up your license.
They do have the right to stop you for no reason.

Documents
Car passport
Tech inspection
Insurance
authority to drive the car ( if its not in your name)
If you are an expat, and your car is not registered in RF, no one but you is allowed to drive it PERIOD.
If the car is registered in RF to an NON RF CITZ, no one else is allowed to drive it PERIOD.
If a car is registered to a Russian citz, that Russian citz can give authority to any one they please including an Expat.

Lights on all federal roads so where you see the sign on the other side of the road with the name of the town you are leaving on it but with 3 lines though it. Lines are at about 45 deg angle, you are now on federal road. Also when over taking you must beep your horn and indicate. You can over take on a broken white line, but not on an unbroken (solid ) white line. etc i could go on for hours. LOL

thva
10-10-2007, 14:25
Yes I believe that rule came in at the same time as the red indicator lights were banned... both rules are normally ignored, I simply have my lights on almost all the time.

what lights were banned?

Clean32
10-10-2007, 14:28
what lights were banned?

Red lights, as indicators or red to the frount of the car. now its the same as the US or Euro.

also banned is Blue lights. the GAI are nasty on this one, its there colour you see LOL

ronl
11-10-2007, 18:24
you should get an international drivers license, probably issued by the AAA in the US. It is a standardized format used in all countries that have signed whatever international convention it is that governs international drivers licenses, and includes information in Russia clearly stating which category of vehicle you are allowed to drive based on your home country license. With one of these you should have no problems with GAI.

ezik
11-10-2007, 18:30
Yes I believe that rule came in at the same time as the red indicator lights were banned... both rules are normally ignored, I simply have my lights on almost all the time.

My car is too small to be noticed. :rolleyes:

ezik
11-10-2007, 18:35
Hi everyone! I have a story to share with you guys along with some questions regarding driving in Russia. I have been in Russia for 4 months now, driving for ~ 6 weeks.

I was stopped at the GAI post outside the city of Bogorodsk, driving towards Nizhniy Novgorod.


When did this happen?

If it was on Saturday, you can be sure that they were just out to collect some bribe money, so they could celebrate the president's birthday on Sunday.

Clean32
11-10-2007, 19:15
My car is too small to be noticed. :rolleyes:

and no GAI is going to stop a pigion poo camofaged little un. thay may think your FSB checking on them LOL

markmarkov
11-10-2007, 19:42
Ronl, do you know if it is possible to get it if I am NOT in the U.S. and don't plan on being there anytime soon? Tnx.


you should get an international drivers license, probably issued by the AAA in the US. It is a standardized format used in all countries that have signed whatever international convention it is that governs international drivers licenses, and includes information in Russia clearly stating which category of vehicle you are allowed to drive based on your home country license. With one of these you should have no problems with GAI.

ezik
11-10-2007, 19:43
and no GAI is going to stop a pigion poo camofaged little un. thay may think your FSB checking on them LOL

...indeed, only to find beer in the trunk.

Anyway... off to Chemical Brothers now. By taxi :rolleyes:

markmarkov
11-10-2007, 19:44
Ezik,
It happened on Tuesday of this week. Perhaps they were planning their holiday in advance :D


When did this happen?

If it was on Saturday, you can be sure that they were just out to collect some bribe money, so they could celebrate the president's birthday on Sunday.

ronl
13-10-2007, 11:19
Ronl, do you know if it is possible to get it if I am NOT in the U.S. and don't plan on being there anytime soon? Tnx.

as far as I know you need to be in the US to get it from the AA, but I have seen websites that sell them online... I don't know how legitimate such international drivers licenses are... but whether they'll be accepted by the GAI or not is not necessarily dependent on the legitimacy... ;)

Benedikt
13-10-2007, 13:51
and even official one. it would be interesting if you please could point me to that law that says so.

TropicalFish
13-10-2007, 16:15
2 Clean32
I am also eager to know where the law or Constitution state that "there are two official languages in Russia".

Clean32
13-10-2007, 17:20
Easy next time you are at the prosecutors office ask them to show you the statute.

But as far as thios thread is consurned a GAI officer must inform you of your offence before issuing a prodacol.

ridcully
13-10-2007, 19:54
you should get an international drivers license, probably issued by the AAA in the US. It is a standardized format used in all countries that have signed whatever international convention it is that governs international drivers licenses, and includes information in Russia clearly stating which category of vehicle you are allowed to drive based on your home country license. With one of these you should have no problems with GAI.

Only problem with these (or at least, the one I have which was issued in the UK) is that they are valid for only one year :cry: .

Clean32
13-10-2007, 20:29
Only problem with these (or at least, the one I have which was issued in the UK) is that they are valid for only one year :cry: .

correct

Bels
13-10-2007, 20:55
What about if the police officer explains all this crap to you that you have'nt got a clue what he is talking about. And simply say Angliskee. Nye panemayo Rooskee.


This from another posting I happened to remember on that other site:

The GAI, now DPS, or traffic police, are really very easy to deal with regardless of any violation you may have committed. The first thing to remember is that they understand better than most people that time is money. And they understand that foreigners are easily frightened and don't want to get involved in some complicated procedure with a traffic ticket or retrieving their license from them later.

So the first thing they want to do is frighten you. They will tell you how bad the violation is, how much money it will cost you, how long it will take and Rooskeeso on. If you did nothing wrong or if the violation is so small that the fine is laughable, they might try to find something else, check your passport, visa, and registration. During this whole procedure they will continue to insist that they cannot take a fine from you right there on the spot. All of this is very routine and differs little from one officer to another.

The second thing they want to do is delay you. Not for very long, but for long enough to see if you'll just pay to get moving again.

Always be sure you have all the proper documents for your car and your right to drive with you. At a minimum you need the title for the vehicle (tek passport), proof of insurance, and a drivers license, preferably international. If you are driving a car with foreign numbers, you will need temporary import documents (vreminy vos). If you don't have all the right documents, you can still get by but it will cost you more and/or take longer.

I always travel with 200 rubles tucked inside my drivers license because I don't want to fumble with my money in front of them so they can salivate over the 1000 ruble notes. 200 is the minimum amount you need if you are just going to pay them off quickly.

If you are stopped, don't get out of the car unless they demand it. Just wait for them to come to you. This irritates them ever so slightly but it puts you in control. And if you've been drinking, it keeps you in a space where your breath cannot so easily be detected while you try to work out a quick and cheap payoff.

When they finally come up to the driver window, they will introduce themselves and ask for your documents. Give them the documents, one at a time, very calmly and deliberately, saving the drivers license for last. If all your documents are in order and this is a routine traffic stop, remove the 200 rubles before you give them the license. Most of the time, they just wave me off before they even get to the license because by then it's obvious to them even before they get to the last document that everything is in order.

If you have made some ordinary traffic mistake, don't remove the money and hand them the license (last, if possible). Usually by the time they find the money they smile, palm the money, say everything is alright and hand back the documents less the money. Easy money makes them very happy. They loose their time and money dragging you back to the patrol car.

If you've done something serious, like you are drunk, you'll have to pay a lot more. 500 rubles is the going rate for routine offenses but you can get it down to 200 for the reasons stated above. Drunk driving is more like 3000 rubles if they have you in the patrol car.

In any event, if you find yourself sitting with them in the patrol car, you're probably going to pay more than 200 rubles. They won't take or discuss your bribe if anyone else is there and they don't like to take the money into their own hands. At some stage rather early in the process, you will be alone with one officer in the car.

Almost always if you are sitting in the car at this point, you have done something wrong. Be nice, let them explain it all, how difficult and expensive this is all going to be, then admit you made a mistake, say you are sorry, you will never do it again, you didn't understand the exact nuance of the law or language, etc. Then just slip your 500 ruble note on an unoccupied seat and say, "I don't have time for all that, how about if we just do this this?" 99% of the time he will simply give your documents back and tell you to be careful when you drive.

Now if you have absolutely no money in your pocket, your situation is a little worse, but not irretrievable. Remember, time is money. Agree with everything they say and sit there. Just sit and be agreeable. Demonstrate that you have nothing to do but spend your time with them. They may start the car up and say they are taking you to the station or they may ask you to start up your car and follow them somewhere. They will certainly start to write up the protocol. Maybe they'll tell you your car will be impounded, or they're gonna take you to the hospital or doctor for some tests.

This is just a ruse to scare you. Play along. Sooner or later they will just wave you off. Why? Because time is money and they make no money hauling you off someplace. It just takes them off the street where there are plenty of rich Russian drivers who will happily slip them 1000 rubles for absolutely nothing.

Remember, these are just ordinary working guys with wives and children and families, trying to live in a very expensive city on a salary that is less than 12,000 rubles a month. What would you do? If you put yourself in their shoes, you'll almost never have a problem with the GAI.

Clean32
13-10-2007, 23:01
What about if the police officer explains all this crap to you that you have'nt got a clue what he is talking about. And simply say Angliskee. Nye panemayo Rooskee.

Thats what i do, last trip into moscow i got stoped 4 times ( Bad Trip) haveing said that i always get stoped under ringroad on yaroslavski ( 76 plates i think).

once i got stoped by a cop in Yaro and i had No documents at all, left my bag cell phone the lot at home. cop asked where i lived, he had a few words of english, he keept repeting Dorma Dorma, he wanted my adress. so i said
zaa volga, over river, first turn right second left 4th house. at that he just burst out laughing and said bugger off. my russian is bad LOL

Fsigda Svami
14-10-2007, 09:14
An international drivers license, issued by AAA, is not a complicated document. Nor is there any way for the GAI to check its validity. They have to simply accept at face value whatever the document says.

Remember, the International Drivers License is not really a license at all. It's a covering document that attests to the validity of the drivers license that is issued to you by your home state or country. It's only valid when presented together with your original drivers license. Of course, this is ignored here, a fact you can readily exploit.

The International Drivers License is intended only as a convenience for local police who don't speak the same language as the language of your original drivers license. That's why taking your International Drivers License from you is completely ineffective. If you actually go to the place that issues your International Drivers License, you can buy several copies of it. I usually buy them two at a time ($10 each) for convenience.

In a pinch, you can just make an International Drivers License at any copy shop. Of course, you need an original to start with, but that's not a big problem. And you need a photo of yourself. And some kind of stamp in a contrasting color, red is best, and it should be strictly in English, better if it says "AAA" on it, but hell, they don't really know what they are reading anyway as far as the stamp is concerned.

Last year mine expired (again) and I just dug up an old one that had the date 2001 on it and changed the "1" to a "7." (Date of issue is penned in in ink.) I've been using it for over 6 months and nobody has said a thing about it. In fact, the previous license I was using was from 2000 and I changed the last "0" to a "6." I suppose next year that old "6" will have to become an "8."

vox16
23-10-2007, 01:45
i have never had them pay any attention whatsoever to the "class" of license... but logic would dictate that if you are licensed to drive a big rig, you would of course be allowed to drive a passenger car as well

Assumption is wrong. One of their most favorite trick is 'E' category ( articulated vehicles ) that does not exist alone, but only with B, C or D. Most truck drivers have C+E ( >3.5 tonnes truck + trailer ) category, and officers aim on something small like Gazelle with a trailer ( requiring B+E), assuming that most truck drivers have no right to drive it.

vox16
23-10-2007, 01:51
There are 2 official languages in Russia. Russian and English.

I have a gut feeling it's wrong but I can't prove it right now.



If you do not speak Russian and only English, then the GAI officer must explain your offence in English. that’s the Law. So if you drive on an expat license, why the hell are you speaking Russian?? If your wife is in the car ( assuming she is Russian) she must say to the GAI officer that he must explain to the driver, That’s the law.


I think it wouldn't be a problem - they can wait on the post until they find some interpreter speaking English ( or any other language that driver can speak) , even if it take them forever to wait for him.

Clean32
23-10-2007, 02:22
I have a gut feeling it's wrong but I can't prove it right now.



I think it wouldn't be a problem - they can wait on the post until they find some interpreter speaking English ( or any other language that driver can speak) , even if it take them forever to wait for him.

3 hours is the maxim they can hold you, and them they have to take you back to the station, ( they are also responsible for you car during this time)

So thatís 3 hours off the street for them.

another point in west Moscow mainly, is they get radio calls every time a big Audi flyís though with a blue light, God help them if no one is on post to keep the way clear for them LOL so result is. Your to hard so bugger off.

vox16
23-10-2007, 03:25
3 hours is the maxim they can hold you, and them they have to take you back to the station, ( they are also responsible for you car during this time)

So that’s 3 hours off the street for them.


And then car is nevertheess confiscated, something like 'протокол подписывать отказался' is written in report ( if he is insisting to converse in anything but English ) and driver is going ahead without his car wasted 3 hours.


Your to hard so bugger off.
My to (do?) what?

Clean32
23-10-2007, 11:00
And then car is nevertheess confiscated, something like 'протокол подписывать отказался' is written in report ( if he is insisting to converse in anything but English ) and driver is going ahead without his car wasted 3 hours.


My to (do?) what?

My point is, not refusing to talk russian cant talk russian, GAI must explane the offence in english ( but be nice to them thay are just doing there job)
to confiscte the car the ofence must also be exsplaned, so that just doint happen, maybe to russian yes but not to expats, not unless thay have been complete arogant pricks to the officer any way

vox16
23-10-2007, 11:32
My point is, not refusing to talk russian cant talk russian, GAI must explane the offence in english

Why English and not Mandarin or Hindi?



( but be nice to them thay are just doing there job)

Such tactics ( like he is an officer, they are doing their job, law blah blah) in that situation lead to the only outcome - he has to license for this category, car is confiscated. Only if officer decide it is not worth to waste his time with
such 'minor' infringement...

Clean32
23-10-2007, 15:56
Why English and not Mandarin or Hindi? ...

I have no idea, thats just what the local egg on head cop said to me.




Such tactics ( like he is an officer, they are doing their job, law blah blah) in that situation lead to the only outcome - he has to license for this category, car is confiscated. Only if officer decide it is not worth to waste his time with
such 'minor' infringement...

Well for this offence, being wrong class of license, the vehicle would not have been confiscated. But he was driving illegally, with out a translation or an AA.
But you are 100% correct about it being up to the officer deciding if it worth wasting his time with, and thatís the crux of the matter.

Proper Bostonian
23-10-2007, 16:36
You can get an int'l. license through the mail from AAA. Check their web site.

vox16
23-10-2007, 16:40
I have no idea, thats just what the local egg on head cop said to me.

Do you still believe to what they ( egg or head or cops ) say?





Well for this offence, being wrong class of license, the vehicle would not have been confiscated. But he was driving illegally, with out a translation or an AA.

Well... not confiscated but detained. Unless you find someone with open b cat in dl (listed in insurance!).

MissAnnElk
24-10-2007, 22:00
I've done AAA International Driver's Licenses through the mail (google it . . . I think I needed to go to my embassy for a notarized version of my driver's license . . . this was in Slovakia . . . so that costs $$). The problem is paying the postage . . . Americans often have no idea what to charge you for postage, so you have to ask so you can send a check for the right amount. I over paid once and got a dime taped to my cover letter. Okay, they were being honest, but what am I going to do with a dime?

Lola7
01-12-2007, 02:07
Um Guys, now you have me worried. What the he#$ is an "EXPAT LICENSE?"

I have an international drivers license (obtained in Canada) my normal license, and a whole bunch of documents that my company gave me to keep with me in the car when I drive. am I covered??? this place makes me more nervous with each day. Every day something even weirder happens? Is it just me???

Chris Parker
01-12-2007, 02:54
I have an international drivers license (obtained in Canada) my normal license, and a whole bunch of documents that my company gave me to keep with me in the car when I drive. am I covered??? this place makes me more nervous with each day. Every day something even weirder happens? Is it just me???
What the hell do you mean by an international driver's license? Do you mean the International Driving Permit (IDP), or did you buy a scam IDL?

As I understand it, if you have a temporary visa, you may drive in Russia with a foreign license for up to 6 months with an IDP, notarized translation of the license, and notarized letter of permission from the vehicle's owner. You may also apply for a Russian driver's license, but you need to get a driving medical certificate and pass the written test in Russian (all other tests and educational requirements are supposed to be waived).

VladSkywolf
01-12-2007, 03:28
Hi everyone! I have a story to share with you guys along with some questions regarding driving in Russia. I have been in Russia for 4 months now, driving for ~ 6 weeks.

I was stopped at the GAI post outside the city of Bogorodsk, driving towards Nizhniy Novgorod.
The officer checked all my documents (registration, insurance policy, "texosmotr", "doverennost'", etc.) and everything was in order. Except there was one little problem: He decided that my California driver's license is only valid for driving a truck! As it turns out, "Class C" in Russian terms indicates that the license is for driving a big rig only and not a passenger car! No matter how hard I tried to describe the procedure of me getting this DL at the DMV in San Francisco and then driving with it in the U.S. for many years, he didn't react and began to write an "akt izyatiya" (confiscation). I also showed him a printout of the Russian traffic law which among other things states:
<<44. В Российской Федерации лица, временно пребывающие на ее территории, имеют право управлять транспортными средствами при наличии международного или иностранного национального водительского удостоверения, соответствующего требованиям Конвенции о дорожном движении 1968 года, записи в котором произведены или продублированы буквами латинского алфавита. >>
When he saw this, he said "Yes, it is ok to drive on a foreign DL but yours is for driving a truck and you cannot drive a passenger car!"
He seemed like he is actually going to confiscate the DL. Only my calls to the local city administration (that I happen to work with) solved the problem.

I know there's at least several hundred Americans driving in Moscow. Has anyone had a similar problem?
I know the initial recommendation of most people would be to get a notarized translation, but HOW IS IT GOING TO HELP? THE TRANSLATOR IS NOT GOING TO CHANGE "CLASS C" TO "CLASS B" (Class "Russian letter B" is what is should be to drive a passenger vehicle in Russia).


I also ran into a similar situation because of this and eventually they let me go without confiscating my car and license.

To possibly avoid this situation in the future, my solution may work for you.

I got another copy of my driver's license translated and notarized, but this time I added a page from my State's DMV regs which clearly explains what each classification letter is. Also, my translator put in parenthesis next to the letter classification the type of vehicle it is valid for, so there was no change to the original text, just additional info (to make sure GAI would see it!). Now when GAI looks at my license, they can see for themselves what it means, referring to the other page with all classifications explained if they wish, and can no longer use their previous argument. :)

I've had no problems since.

By the way, I realize many of us would not travel around the world with a copy of DMV driving rules (I didn't) but I managed to find what I needed on my state's DMV website.

Chris Parker
01-12-2007, 03:38
IBy the way, I realize many of us would not travel around the world with a copy of DMV driving rules (I didn't) but I managed to find what I needed on my state's DMV website.
This is a good idea that I already had planned to do for myself---thanks for mentioning it. Though I am a bit weary about translating the whole document for every class description (which gets very complicated very quickly!)---maybe I can ask the translator to just translate the relevant class description for my license and skip the full details on the others. Also, I don't think I can get an apostille on an informational form like that, as it has no signature or stamp to be authenticated (except the motor vehicel agency's emblem on the letterhead?). Still, better to have something about the state's license class definitions than to have nothing if the issue comes up.

Nevertheless, if you have an authentic International Driving Permit (IDP), the licensed vehicles classification system developed by the UN convention in 1949 and indicated on the IDP is supposed to override the class indicated on the foreign license. That was (together with translation issues) the big reasons why the IDP was created in the first place. The original problem that the OP created this thread for (license class code differences) could have been avoided if the OP had a proper IDP to present with the license in the first place.

BTW - the 1949 UN convention also recommended, but did not require, the national driver license's format and class system, which Russia follows, and so the GAI officer was reading the California license class correctly according to the standards developed in the convention when no IDP is presented (standards which California does not follow; hence the need for an IDP).

Lola7
01-12-2007, 11:03
Chris, looks like the bottom line here is that everyone has and gets different information and we all have to take our freakin chances when we're out on the street! This seems to be the case in most informational threads. I'll just do my best to piece together what seems like the solution with minimal risk and least money going into the pockets of these bureaucrats! Thanks anyway everyone.

Clean32
01-12-2007, 12:16
Look its east and simple
Yes you can drive on an american DL in russia, if you also have a translated and notarised copy for up to 6 months.
Or you can drive with an Intrenational drivers permit for up to 12 months, but you must also carry your original licence as well

Documents you need to have when driving
DL as above
Tech, is laminated yellow
Vechical passport also laminated yellow
Madatory insurance, usally a couple of copys A4
Permision to have control of the vehical, this can be hand writen on any thing but i strongly recomend you use the GAI version, have the owner fill this out etc, do a new one every 6 months just to be on the safe side.

Rustralian
04-12-2007, 00:43
I have been driving here for ages and have a car and have been stopped by the Mititsia hundeds of times (also experienced the same fun in the Ukraine and the answer is the same) and I have never had any problems nor even unreasonable Militsia, even if I have been breaking the rules - which sometimes I do :)

Drivers Licence - use the International Driving Permit. Russian Militisia understand it and expect it from a foreigner. It also has a proper Russian translation and the driving classes are all set out in a nice easy to follow table. It is also a form of photographic ID which can be useful. You are supposed to also carry your local MDL - I have been asked for it once in all the times I was stopped and that was because the Militisia guy was curious to see what we used in Australia.

For the car itself you need to have:

Technical document (laminated - colour changes depending on the year). It is the same as the registration sticker many countries have that you stick on your windscreen. That should be displayed on your windscreen and not carried in your wallet, which also helps reduce Militisia random stops as they can see that the car has a valid technical document.

Car "registration certificate" - laminated also (multi-colour pastel yellow, green, red and pink usually). That details the car information - VIN, Number Plate etc and your name (in Russian and English), your registered address, and the validity of the document (usually 6 months for expats, but they did my last one for 12 months - managed to get 12 month registration).

Car passport papers. Half A/4 bluey/green document that records the details of the vehicle and the history of the vehicle ownership. The number of the Car "registration certificate" will match the last number showing on the passport for the current owner. I have changed ownership of my car several times as they keep changing the Russian spelling of my name on my visa invitation/visa - despite my requests that they keep them the same and each time they change the spelling I need to record a sale to the new me to make sure the records all match exactly. It may seem a pain, but the Militsia are sticklers for detail and if you cover your bases at the outset, there is nothing you need to explain to the Militisia as it is all recorded and done properly.

Compulsory insurance. I use Ingosstrax and it is another bluey/green A4 page that is stamped and signed and shows you have paid your compulsory insurance. That comes with a little sticker that shows the year it has been paid for and that should also be stuck on your windscreen (although I don't bother with that).

You should also carry the actual vehicle general insurance as a precaution in the event of an accident. For me it is another A4 page from Ingosstrax and they also include a credit card sized card with the relevant details for you as well.

If it is not your car then the rental agreement giving you the right to use the car or the letter of authority that allows you to use the car.

Buy a car passport cover from a shop and it has enough pockets for all the things that you need - including one where you can place some discreetly folded cash that is visible through a clear plastic flap and that is easily accessed.

I also carry the card for one of my local Militisia - he is an Australian and Russian passport holder and speaks both languages obviously. Is always useful for any issues that may arise that need help beyond regular sources.

thva
24-01-2008, 12:31
There are 2 official languages in Russia. Russian and English.
If you do not speak Russian and only English, then the GAI officer must explain your offence in English. that’s the Law. So if you drive on an expat license, why the hell are you speaking Russian??
Do you have a link to the Russian law where it says that offences must be explained in English? It would be great to have a copy to carry with me in case of having to discuss this with the DPS guys! Or do you have a statute number and I can look it up myself in a book of the Russian traffic laws?
Thanks - Tom

Steve_W
13-08-2008, 12:04
Originally Posted by Clean32
There are 2 official languages in Russia. Russian and English.
If you do not speak Russian and only English, then the GAI officer must explain your offence in English. thatís the Law. So if you drive on an expat license, why the hell are you speaking Russian??

Do you have a link to the Russian law where it says that offences must be explained in English? It would be great to have a copy to carry with me in case of having to discuss this with the DPS guys! Or do you have a statute number and I can look it up myself in a book of the Russian traffic laws?
Thanks - Tom

Same request from me..... I have the latest Russian road traffic law book but I cant find it in there....nor can my Russian wife. This would be REALLY USEFULL for me.......

Steve

Bels
13-08-2008, 12:20
Perhaps they are thinking about, as I remember a news article on tv about six months ago, that Russian police had to go for English lessons.

Bels
13-08-2008, 12:22
Where is clean32 by the way?

Reverend
13-08-2008, 18:21
Just get a Russian license if you are going to be here for a while. For a little money you can have one good for up to 10 years.

moscowbni
14-08-2008, 11:16
The new rules for expats getting Russian DL's is that the DL is only issued for the duration of your registration.

My 1996 Russian DL expired, and I thought that I'd just get another 10 year extension...not the case.

But the new Russian law also lets you drive on your USA licenses if you have a notorized translated copy of your USA DL. The GAI also normaly request to see the origional DL...even though you have a notorized copy!

antonsakharov
24-09-2008, 10:50
LOL, AAA sells international driving license for 10 dollars, and it includes translation into Russian. It looks like a passport and only valid along with your CA driving license. BTW, it is valid for 1 year, but I have been using for much longer since most GAI officers can't read front cover.

However, I believe the law states that you can only drive with them for 2 months, but I could be mistaken.

XRM
26-10-2008, 07:50
So, what is the answer on the USA Class C license in Russia?

I was stopped 50 km outside of Moscow with all other documents in order and was told that my USA Class C license (translated by an official Russia translating agency - and in their translation, they verbatim translate the USA C Class to Russian language as "C Class") is illegal for me in Russia to drive anything but a truck.

Please, only serious answers from people who can pass on accurate information.

I will get an international license if necessary, but after being routinely stopped during the past 5 years for document checks in Moscow - NOT ONE GAI has ever commented that the USA class C (with a Russian official translation) was inappropriate for Russia.



Hi everyone! I have a story to share with you guys along with some questions regarding driving in Russia. I have been in Russia for 4 months now, driving for ~ 6 weeks.

I was stopped at the GAI post outside the city of Bogorodsk, driving towards Nizhniy Novgorod.
The officer checked all my documents (registration, insurance policy, "texosmotr", "doverennost'", etc.) and everything was in order. Except there was one little problem: He decided that my California driver's license is only valid for driving a truck! As it turns out, "Class C" in Russian terms indicates that the license is for driving a big rig only and not a passenger car! No matter how hard I tried to describe the procedure of me getting this DL at the DMV in San Francisco and then driving with it in the U.S. for many years, he didn't react and began to write an "akt izyatiya" (confiscation). I also showed him a printout of the Russian traffic law which among other things states:
<<44. В Российской Федерации лица, временно пребывающие на ее территории, имеют право управлять транспортными средствами при наличии международного или иностранного национального водительского удостоверения, соответствующего требованиям Конвенции о дорожном движении 1968 года, записи в котором произведены или продублированы буквами латинского алфавита. >>
When he saw this, he said "Yes, it is ok to drive on a foreign DL but yours is for driving a truck and you cannot drive a passenger car!"He seemed like he is actually going to confiscate the DL. Only my calls to the local city administration (that I happen to work with) solved the problem.

I know there's at least several hundred Americans driving in Moscow. Has anyone had a similar problem?
I know the initial recommendation of most people would be to get a notarized translation, but HOW IS IT GOING TO HELP? THE TRANSLATOR IS NOT GOING TO CHANGE "CLASS C" TO "CLASS B" (Class "Russian letter B" is what is should be to drive a passenger vehicle in Russia).

P.S. One suggestion I have for others is to show your American (or other foreign) passport right away. The question of my passport did not come up until about 40 minutes of him torturing me. He was very nasty in the beginning, but once he saw the passport, he showed a lot more respect. I don't think any American has ever been stopped in Bogorodsk personally driving a car.
When I showed him my passport, I have already placed a call to the Administration -- he may have let me go anyway after he saw it.

P.P.S. Did anyone know that headlights must be turned on when driving on a federal freeway outside the city? That's what I was initially stopped for!

vladimir_seroff
26-10-2008, 07:57
LOL, AAA sells international driving license for 10 dollars, and it includes translation into Russian. It looks like a passport and only valid along with your CA driving license. BTW, it is valid for 1 year, but I have been using for much longer since most GAI officers can't read front cover.

However, I believe the law states that you can only drive with them for 2 months, but I could be mistaken.

That is why AAA in the US issues translations of US licenses. They are not translations in the literal sense. The document contains multiple pages, one for each jurisdiction (in the language of that jurisdiction), and the class is determined by looking at the appropriate page to see which class in that jurisdiction corresponds to the class of the US license.