Using Russian Passport Numbers in Investigations

Russian passport numbers are important pieces of data that can be useful to an investigation. At minimum, passport numbers can help distinguish between individuals of the same name. Upon closer examination, they also contain personally identifiable information (PII) about the passport holder.

The first step to decoding a Russian passport number is determining what type of passport it is. Russian passports can either be internal or international.

What is the Difference Between the Two Types of Russian Passport?

The internal Russian passport (Внутренний паспорт or Общегражданский паспорт) serves as the primary document used for personal identification and domestic travel. All Russian citizens residing in Russia age 14 or older must have an internal passport.

The international Russian passport (Заграничный паспорт) is used by Russian citizens to travel abroad. Unlike the internal passport, international passports are not obligatory.

Internal Russian Passport Numbers

An internal Russian passport number consists of 10 digits. The first group of numbers, consisting of two digits, is a code for the region in which the document was issued. The second group of numbers, consisting of another two digits, indicates the year the passport was issued. The third group of numbers, consisting of the remaining six digits, is an arbitrary sequence of digits from 0 to 9 that distinguishes the passport from other documents issued the same year.

For example, given the passport number 45 12 ХХХХХХ, we can determine the following:

Based on the total number of digits, this is an internal passport number, so it belongs to a Russian citizen residing in Russia.

– Based on the first group of digits (45), this passport was issued in the city of Moscow.

– Based on the second group of digits (12), this passport was issued in the year 2012. The passport holder must have been at least 14 years old at that time and, therefore, must be at least 21 years old now.

International Russian Passport Numbers

An international passport number has nine digits, one digit fewer than the internal passport number. The first two digits can indicate that the passport holder (or a family member) is a government official (10) or a diplomat (20). However, international passport numbers do not offer as much insight as internal passport numbers. Region and year of issue do not form part of the number as they do in internal passport numbers.

Beyond Russia

Passport numbers for Russian citizens can be found on documents outside of Russia. Registries that provide passport numbers for shareholders and/or individuals in leadership positions include the Latvian Official Gazette, the Malta Companies Register, the Albania Trade Register, the Hong Kong ICRIS Corporate Registry, and the China LHNB MOFCOM Foreign Investment Directory—all of which are available on the Sayari Graph platform.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) also sometimes provides passport numbers for sanctioned Russian individuals. The full OFAC sanctions list is also available on Sayari Graph.

Whether you are trying to distinguish between two individuals with the same name, or whether you are trying to gather personally identifiable information on an individual, Russian passport numbers can be integral to your investigation.

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