1. Article 20 of the Federal Act ‘On the Procedure for Departure From the Russian Federation and Admission Into the Russian Federation’ № 114-FZ dated by August 15, 1996 (Act), provides that, in general, a minor child, who is a citizen of the Russian Federation, leaves the Russian Federation together with one or both parents.
2. At the same time, Article 21 of the Federal Act provides that, if one of the parents declares his or her disagreement with a minor child’s travel outside the Russian Federation, all issues regarding the child’s travel outside the Russian Federation are resolved in court. It means that either parent can prevent the child's travel outside the Russian Federation by submitting a statement of disagreement to the territorial body of the Federal Migration Service at the place of residence (stay), or to the border control authority, or to the diplomatic mission (consular office) of the Russian Federation, without specifying the reasons for that disagreement.
Position or opinion of the second parent as to such statement has no legal significance in the imposition of the travel ban. The disagreement of one parent is sufficient to ban travel by a minor child outside of Russia until the resolution of the judicial dispute.
3. The number of travel bans is not limited by law. The law does not provide for any penalties or repercussions for abusing the parent’s right to ban a child from traveling outside the Russian Federation.
4. I reviewed the court order issued by Tverskoy District Court of Moscow, the Russian Federation. The actual issue of how and whether son [his name keeps in secret] should travel internationally was not litigated during the proceedings and no agreement with respect to this issue was reached.
5. I found that the order of the Tverskoy District Court of Moscow is not an effective remedy to prevent future bans on the child’s international travel outside Russia as either parent may impose such travel ban unilaterally by exercising Article 21 of the Federal Act ‘The Procedure for Departure From the Russian Federation and Admission Into the Russian Federation’ in the future. Since the Russian Federation and the United States did not agree to legal reciprocity, no decision made in the USA on the child’s custody and visitation has any legal power on the territory of the Russian Federation. The issue of lifting a travel ban if either of the parents imposes it will be under exclusive authority of the Russian court.
6. Furthermore, Russian Federation will retain jurisdiction over this matter, regardless of the length of residence of the child outside of the Russian Federation or his US Permanent Resident status. Under such circumstances, if a court finds a parent’s intention to take a child outside the Russian Federation for permanent or temporary residence to any foreign country, and the other parent disagrees with that intention, the chances of the court lifting the travel ban are minimal.
7. Judicial practice in the Russian Federation is to view parents’ rights as completely equal in exercising their parental rights (Art. 61 of the Russian Family Code).
8. In the present case, if a parental access schedule allows the child’s presence in Russia with either parent and return back to the custodial parent in New York, such order will not be enforceable in Russia and will not guarantee the child’s ability to come back to New York from Russia. If a parent decides to impose such a ban it may become effective immediately upon submission of a hand-written statement to appropriate authorities pursuant to Article 21 of the Act and will then require litigation in Russia in order for it to be removed. This type of litigation takes 8 to 10 months on the average and its outcome is at the very least uncertain.