Tajik citizens will no longer be able to use their internal passports to enter Russia after Jan. 1, 2015 according to a new law.

In most former Soviet states, citizens have an internal passport that serves as a domestic identity document; travel abroad requires a separate, international passport. Since 2005, Tajiks were allowed to enter Russia using their internal passports, but under the new law, Tajiks will have to produce an international passport, a diplomatic passport or a seafarer’s identity document.

Tajikistan is the third-largest country of origin for people entering Russia, according to the Federal Migration Service (FMS). According to FMS statements, as of June 1, 2014, there were 11.1 million foreigners in Russia, including 2.57 million Uzbeks, 1.6 million Ukrainians and 1.17 million Tajiks. Thirty-five percent of foreigners entering Russia go to Moscow and the Moscow region. According to the Foreign Ministry, there are about 1.5 million Tajik citizens in Russia.

International passports are expected to be required for entry into Russia for citizens of all CIS countries, with the exception of Belarus and Kazakhstan by the end of this year. Citizens of Belarus and Kazakhstan are exempt because those countries, along with Russia, form the Eurasian Economic Union.

Russian officials have been pointing out the need to toughen passport regulations since last year. The head of the FMS, Konstantin Romodanovsky, said that the new policies would affect approximately 800,000 foreigners who were living in Russia on internal passports from foreign countries. This month, Romondanovsky said that migration to Russia fell by 20 percent in 2013.

First publishen in Russian at Kommersant.

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