Russia Allows Headscarves on Passport Photographs

Russia has relaxed regulations for foreign nationals. Individuals applying for citizenship can now wear headscarves and hijabs in passport photos.
a woman wearing a face mask
Photo: Rahadiansyah

Individuals can apply for Russian citizenship with headscarves and worn photos.


  • Russia allowed using headscarves in passport photos.
  • This rule allows people to follow their religious rules.
  • President Putin says that Russia respects all cultures.

Moscow has announced a relaxation of regulations for foreign nationals. This includes individuals who are seeking Russian citizenship. The news is for the ones who were worried about using headscarves and hijabs in passport photographs.

This decision has been stated by the Russian Interior Ministry last Wednesday. This marks a significant shift in the country’s approach to religious expressions.

The new law is set to be effective from May 5, ten days following its publication. It outlines specific guidelines for religious attire in identification photos. Applicants whose religion makes head coverings mandatory can now submit photographs with such coverings. However, scarves that hide any part of the chin will not be accepted.

These laws have allowed individuals to submit photographs while wearing the scarf for official documents. This includes passports, driver’s licenses, work permits, and patents.

Biysultan Khamzaev is a member of the State Duma Security and Anti-Corruption Committee. The updated rules enable believers to adhere to their religious customs without compromising the state’s security measures.

As he explained to the Russian Parliamentary Gazette, facial recognition is crucial for the nation’s video monitoring systems to identify individuals accurately.

During the Soviet era, headscarves and hijabs were not permitted in passport photos. This changed post-1991, with Muslim women adopting hijab-inclusive photos until a 1997 ban. The Russian Supreme Court overturned this ban in 2003, recognizing it as unlawful.

Since 2021, amendments to passport regulations have allowed for religious head coverings in official photos, provided they do not hinder identification. 

President Vladimir Putin has emphasized Russia’s identity as a multicultural and multi-faith society. This update shows the nation’s commitment to respecting and accommodating diverse religious practices. 

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