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Foreign nationals in Russia

Бачурина Елена

Elena Bachurina

Head of the Department of Registration of Legal Entities

Tel. +7 (495) 287-73-94


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All foreigners have a chance to work in Russia, but before they have a chance to do so, they must obtain a work permit and visa. There are some restrictions concerning the types of activities that a foreigner can take part in (for example in public services). There is a quota for the number of foreign employees allowed to live and work in Russia. The quota is established by the Russian Government. If the quota is fulfilled, no more foreigners can be recruited for the remainder of the year. The only exception is for highly qualified specialists.

Work permit and visa

According to the Russian law, the only legal way to employ foreigners is if they possess employment permits. The exemption is foreigners, which have relatives permanently residing in Russia on a permanent residency or several categories of foreign employees. For example foreigners that work in the area of assembly of technical equipment delivered to Russia. The same exemptions apply to employees from CIS countries, however foreigners from CIS countries have to notify the state authorities of their employment.

As pointed out earlier on, there are quotas for foreigners. Companies must submit a request for a quota to the Russian Authorities. Every year, the Russian Government provides a list for foreign employees who are not obliged to get a quota. However, all foreigners have to notify authorities each time they enter or leave the territory of Russia.

There are different types of Russian visas. The work visa permits the person to work, but a business visa can only be used for business trips (exhibitions, business meeting etc.). Business visas used to be issued for a maximum period of a year. However, after some changes in the law were made, some foreigners may now obtain a business visa that is issued for a 5 years period. However, it is forbidden to stay in Russia for more then 90 days during half a year time, when using the business visa to enter the country.

Accompanying family members could also apply for a separate work permit, or they will be given the same business visa after a special request and invitation from the Russian Federation.

Important changes for foreigners who want to visit Russia

A new procedure for granting foreigners without citizenship residence permits in Russia was adopted. This procedure should be faster and more convenient. Only adults that have a temporary residence in Russia can apply for it and it is now not necessary to show the temporary residence permit and some other documents. The period for obtaining is the same as before — 6 months. A residence permit is valid for 5 years. To obtain a temporary residence permit, it is necessary send in an application to the local FMS Russia at the place of residence.

The procedure for applying for the visa is the same. It is necessary to apply to the FMS of Russian Federation with the invitation. The foreigner could apply on his own, or with the help of his/her host. As a result, the foreigner could get a visa, and have the chance to extend it or reduce it, however the person could also be refused a visa. The visa should be obtained within 20 work days, from the date of obtaining all the necessary documents. According to the law, all reasons for refusing visas are listed on the documents. For example: the person has been previously convicted of a serious, extremely serious, or intentional crime in Russia or abroad; in this case it will be decided that the foreigner will be refused a visa of temporary residence in Russia.

Highly qualified specialist (HQS)

A new simple procedure was adopted in Russia. The new law has many advantages for highly qualified specialists (HQS). A highly qualified specialist is a person, who earns a salary of a minimum of 2,000,000 rubles a year. No quota is required for highly qualified specialists desiring to work in Russia. There is a simple procedure for HQS in applying for a work permit in Russian Federation. The process only takes 15 work days, and they are issued a long-term (3 year) visa. After receiving a work permit in Russia, it is necessary for the HQS to register in the Tax Authorities and he will receive a Russian taxpayer’s individual number (TIN). The HQS’ employer is considered the taxpayer in relation to the foreign employee’s personal INCOME and must pay personal income tax (PIT) on behalf of the HQS.

The accompanying family members of the HQS can apply for residence permits, that are valid for the period of HQS’s contract.

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