Relocation to Russia: FAQ

What residence permits shall I get, if I plan to relocate to Russia?

If you plan to stay in Russia for a long term or to relocate, there are 3 consecutive stages of obtaining a permission to reside:

-      Temporary residence permit;

-      Permanent residence permit;

-      Russian citizenship.

May I work in Russia, if I have a tourist/private visa?

No, being on a tourist/private visa forbids you from working in Russia (an exception is a working visa). Moreover, such visas are usually granted for a short period of time, so you will anyway have to leave Russia for a while before being able to come back.

How may I get a temporary residence permit?

A temporary residence permit is a permission that is issued to foreign citizens by the Russian authorities on basis of an established quota.  This quota (a number of foreigners that may obtain a temporary residence permit) is established every year by the Russian government for every constituent unit of Russia (i.e., for Moscow, for St. Petersburg, etc.). This means that before getting a temporary residence permit you would have to apply for a quota (a migration card and a migration registration would be required for this). 

There are also some exceptions. It’s not required to obtain a quota for a foreign citizen who:[1]

-      Has worked in Russia for minimum 6 months before applying for a residence permit on basis of an employment agreement. The profession of this foreign citizen shall be included into the established by the Russian government list of professionals, who are entitled to receive a Russian citizenship according to the simplified procedure;

-      Has graduated from a Russian organization of higher education and obtained a diploma with honours (intramural);

-      Is a Russian native speaker, who has been acknowledged as such in accordance with the Russian legislation;

-      Is a highly-qualified specialist (a residence permit is granted to such a foreign citizen and to his family members);

-      Is under 18 years old, and whose parent (caretaker) is a foreign citizen temporary/permanently living in Russia;

-      Is under 18 years old, and who is getting a temporary/permanent residence permit together with his parent (caretaker), who is a foreign citizen;

-      Is married to a Russian citizen, who lives in Russia;

-      Was born in the territory of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic and who earlier had a USSR citizenship;

-      Has been unlawfully deported from the territory of the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (or his close relatives);

-      Is over 18 years old, who has been acknowledged as disabled (or limited in capacity) according to the laws of a foreign state, who is getting a temporary/permanent residence permit together with his parent (caretaker) - a foreign citizen;

-      Is over 18 years old, who has been acknowledged as disabled (or limited in capacity) according to the laws of a foreign state, whose parent (caretaker) is a foreign citizen and temporarily/permanently lives in Russia;

-      Is over 18 years old, who has a parent/son/daughter-a Russian citizen, if they permanently live in Russia;

-      Has made investments in Russia in amount established by the Russian government (this amount has not been established yet);

-      Lives in Russia and whose Russian citizenship has been terminated;

-      Has enlisted into the Russian army;

-      Lives in Russia and in respect of whom a decision on granting of a Russian citizenship has been cancelled, apart from the persons, in respect of whom such a decision has been cancelled due to a court judgement of conviction (concerning particular crimes);

-      Is a participant of a state program on voluntary relocation in Russia of fellow countrymen living abroad and the members of his family;

-      Is a citizen of a state-former member of the USSR, who has received a professional education at an accredited educational organization within the territory of the Russian Federation;

-      Had a USSR citizenship as to 05.09.1991, who arrived in Russia for a living before 01.11.2002 and who has not yet received a Russian citizenship, if he doesn't have a foreign citizenship and a valid document confirming his right to live in a foreign state (+children of such a person over 18 years old, if they do not have a foreign citizenship and a valid document confirming his right to live in a foreign state+ children of such a person under 18 years old, if they do not have a foreign citizenship and a valid document confirming his right to live in a foreign state);

-      Is an adult disabled person, who is under the care of the persons listed in the paragraph above, if such a person does not have a foreign citizenship and a valid document confirming his right to live in a foreign state;

-      Is a foreign citizen, who obtained a Russian passport before 01.01.2010, in respect of whom the absence of a Russian citizenship has subsequently been established, if such a person does not have a valid document confirming his right to live in a foreign state;

-      Is a citizen of the Ukraine or a stateless person permanently residing in the Ukraine, if they are acknowledged as refugees or have obtained a temporary refuge in Russia;

-      Is relocating to Russia for a permanent place of residence in accordance with the international agreements of the Russian Federation on defense of the relocatees' rights.

What is the procedure of obtaining a temporary residence permit?

An application to the Russian state authorized body (territorial subdivision of the Ministry of Internal Affairs) shall be submitted by a foreign citizen who is temporarily staying in Russia (on basis of a visa, for example). The application may also be submitted abroad via a Russian consulate or a Russian diplomatic mission.

A foreign citizen-applicant after submission of an application (if it has been submitted within the territory of Russia) has to go through the procedure of dactylography (fingerprints are taken and registered). If the application has been submitted abroad at the home state of the foreign citizen, then fingerprints are taken in Russia at the place where a temporary residence permit would be issued to him.

The following documents[2] shall be submitted (together with an application in 2 original copies):

-      2 photos;

-      A foreign passport;

-      A document issued by a home state of an applicant confirming absence of previous convictions;

-      A document confirming the right of the applicant to reside in a foreign state different from his home state (if an applicant lives outside his home state);

-      Documents confirming that the applicant does not have HIV-infection (a certificate), is not drug-addicted and is not ill with the diseases dangerous to the society;

-      A document confirming knowledge of Russian, basics of Russian history and basics of Russian legislation by the applicant (a certificate is issued by the Russian accredited educational organizations).

The list of required documents differs, depending on the grounds for obtaining of a temporary residence permit and on a legal status of the applicant.

The state duty for submission of an application is 1600 Rubles. If the state authority makes a decision on granting of a temporary residence permit, a stamp is plaсed into the foreign passport of the applicant.

Please note that a procedure of obtaining of a temporary residence permit differs for the applicants who arrived in Russia without having to get a visa.

What are the advantages of having a temporary residence permit?

A temporary residence permit would grant you as a foreign citizen with the following rights/advantages:

-      You may reside in Russia without a visa for a term of the residence permit (up to 3 years);

-      You may work in Russia without a necessity to get a work permission (but you will only be allowed to work in that area of Russia where your temporary residence permit was issued);

-      You may register as an individual entrepreneur;

-      Although the temporary residence permit is issued for 3 years, you can apply for a permanent residence permit after only 1 year. As a temporary resident you may file the application for a permanent residence permit no later than six months before the expiration of your temporary residence permit.

Can my temporary residence permit be cancelled?

Yes, your temporary residence permit can be cancelled, if you have violated Russian legislation, for example, if you:

-      Have submitted forged documents or false information about yourself;

-      Have 2 or more times been held liable for commission of an administrative offence within 1 year (for an established range of offences);

-      Have not enough money to support yourself or your dependent relatives;

-      Have moved from Russia to a foreign country for a permanent residence;

-      Have been outside Russia for more than 6 months in total during 1 calendar year;

-      Are drug-addicted or/and do not have a certificate confirming you do not have HIV, etc.

What are the disadvantages of getting a temporary residence permit?

It gives the right to work and reside only in the territory of the particular region of Russia where the temporary residence permit has been issued[3]. For example, the city of Moscow and the Moscow Oblast (province) are 2 different regions. The same applies to the city of St. Petersburg and the surrounding province, the Leningradskaya Oblast.

Another particularity is that obtaining a temporary residence permit takes a significant time – Russian authorities make a decision to decline or satisfy an application within 4 months. Moreover, if you have no grounds to obtain a temporary residence permit without a quota, there is little chance that you will actually get the quota. After receiving a rejection, the applicant may only submit an application for a temporary residence permit again after 1 year.

If you have received a temporary residence permit, you must inform the state authorities within 2 months of the end of each calendar year about your residence status in Russia, your address, place of work, and the period that you spent outside of Russia in the past year. An income report shall also be submitted[4].

What is the difference between a temporary residence permit and a permanent residence permit?

A permanent residence permit is granted for an unlimited term (except for the highly-qualified specialists and his family members)[5], whereas a temporary residence permit allows a foreign citizen to stay in Russia only within 3 years (this term cannot be prolonged/renewed).

Both temporary and permanent residence permits allow a foreign citizen to live and work in Russia without a visa or a work permission. Unlike temporary residence permit, a permanent resident can live and work anywhere in Russia (the territorial restrictions that apply to the temporary residence permit do not apply to the permanent residence permit).

A permanent residence permit is also the “last step” to getting a Russian citizenship.

How may I get a permanent residence permit? 

A foreign citizen may apply for a permanent residence permit after 1 year since a temporary residence permit has been obtained.

However, there are cases when a foreign citizen may apply for a permanent residence permit without having to obtain a temporary residence permit first[6]. A permanent residence permit is issued according to this simplified procedure to a foreign citizen, who:

-      Is a Russian native speaker, who has been acknowledged as such in accordance with the Russian legislation;

-      Is a highly-qualified specialist (a residence permit is granted to such a foreign citizen and to his family members);

-      Has worked in Russia for minimum 6 months before applying for a residence permit on basis of an employment agreement. The profession of this foreign citizen shall be included into the established by the Russian government list of professionals, who are entitled to receive a Russian citizenship according to the simplified procedure;

-      Has graduated from a Russian organization of higher education and obtained a diploma with honours (intramural);

-      Was born in the territory of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic and who earlier had a USSR citizenship;

-      Is under 18 years old, and whose parent (caretaker) is a foreign citizen /permanently living in Russia;

-      Is under 18 years old, and who is getting a permanent residence permit together with his parent (caretaker), who is a foreign citizen;

-      Is over 18 years old, who has a parent/son/daughter-a Russian citizen, if they permanently live in Russia;

-      Is over 18 years old, who has been acknowledged as disabled (or limited in capacity) according to the laws of a foreign state, who is getting a permanent residence permit together with his parent (caretaker) - a foreign citizen;

-      Is over 18 years old, who has been acknowledged as disabled (or limited in capacity) according to the laws of a foreign state, whose parent (caretaker) is a foreign citizen and permanently lives in Russia;

-      Has been unlawfully deported from the territory of the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (or his close relatives);

-      Lives in Russia and whose Russian citizenship has been terminated;

-      Lives in Russia and in respect of whom a decision on granting of a Russian citizenship has been cancelled, apart from the persons, in respect of whom such a decision has been cancelled due to a court judgement of conviction (concerning particular crimes);

-      Had a USSR citizenship as to 05.09.1991, who arrived in Russia for a living before 01.11.2002 and who has not yet received a Russian citizenship, if he doesn't have a foreign citizenship and a valid document confirming his right to live in a foreign state (+children of such a person over 18 years old, if they do not have a foreign citizenship and a valid document confirming his right to live in a foreign state+ children of such a person under 18 years old, if they do not have a foreign citizenship and a valid document confirming his right to live in a foreign state);

-      Is an adult disabled person, who is under the care of the persons listed in the paragraph above, if such a person does not have a foreign citizenship and a valid document confirming his right to live in a foreign state;

-      Is a foreign citizen, who obtained a Russian passport before 01.01.2010, in respect of whom the absence of a Russian citizenship has subsequently been established, if such a person does not have a valid document confirming his right to live in a foreign state.

What is the procedure of obtaining a permanent residence permit?

An application for getting a permanent residence permit shall be submitted not earlier than in 8 months of the 1st year, during which an applicant has lived in Russia on a basis of a temporary residence permit, and not later than in 4 months before a temporary residence permit expires.

After a permanent residence permit has been granted to a foreign citizen, he is obliged to yearly submit a notification confirming his residence in Russia. The notification includes information on address of the foreign citizen in Russia, on place of work, on amount of time spent outside Russia, amounts and sources of his income in Russia, etc. 

As a rule, a decision on granting of a permanent residence permit is made by the Russian state authorized bodies within 6 months; in respect of highly-qualified specialists and their family members – within 3 months[7].

The following documents shall be submitted (together with an application in 2 original copies):

-      4 photos;

-      A foreign passport;

-      A document confirming that the applicant can financially support himself and his dependent relatives in Russia;

-      A document confirming title of an applicant to an accommodation in Russia (title of ownership or lease) (submitted by applicants residing in Russia more than 3 years);

-      Documents confirming that the applicant does not have HIV-infection (a certificate), is not drug-addicted and is not ill with the diseases dangerous to the society;

-      A document confirming knowledge of Russian, basics of Russian history and basics of Russian legislation by the applicant (a certificate is issued by the Russian accredited educational organizations).

The state duty for submission of a temporary residence permit is 5000 Rubles.

Can my permanent residence permit be cancelled?

Yes, your permanent residence permit can be canceled, if you do not fulfill your obligations, such as:

-      Not informing the authorities (in time) about your place of residence. A permanent resident should inform the authorities who have provided him with his permanent residence permit about his place of residence in Russia. This should be done before the end of each calendar year, following the year in which he received his permit.

-      Not informing the authorities about your income. You can do this on the basis of an income tax statement from the employer. The salary stated on this may not be less than the minimum amount. Other confirmations of income sources are also allowed. If you do not have any income you have to prove that you have enough resources to support yourself. This can be done by providing of a bank statement.

-      Spending more than 6 months outside Russia during the past year.

What is the difference between a permanent residence permit and a Russian citizenship?

Getting a Russian citizenship means that you’ll be considered a Russian citizen and will have to carry all the obligations (as all other citizens do) of a Russian citizen and you may exercise all the rights granted to a Russian citizen.

Some of the duties to be carried by a Russian citizen include:

-      You’ll carry a duty to serve in the Russian army;

-      You’ll carry a legal obligation to care about and financially support your children and parents;

-      You’ll carry a legal obligation to have your children get a basic general education, etc.

Some of the rights/benefits of being a Russian citizen are:

-      You cannot be deported from the country;

-      You may live abroad for an unlimited period of time without losing your Russian citizenship;

-      You’ll have full electoral rights in all national elections;

-      You’ll have a right to work in the Russian state bodies, etc.

Your legal status of a Russian citizen will be confirmed with a Russian passport.

In which cases is it not necessary to confirm my knowledge of Russian, Russian history and Russian legislation?

It is not necessary to provide confirming documents for applicants-men over 65 years old; applicants-women over 60 years old; participants of the State program on relocation of the fellow countrymen and their family members; foreign citizens-native Russian speakers; foreign citizens-highly-qualified specialists and their family members; foreign citizens of a Union comprised by Russia and Belarus.

If an applicant receives a Russian citizenship, then it is not necessary to provide confirming documents for applicants-men over 65 years old; applicants-women over 60 years old; disabled persons; invalids of 1st group[8].

Who is a highly-qualified specialist?

A highly qualified specialist is a foreign citizen who has specific skills or achievements in any field of activity. As a rule, employees of leading positions (directors, heads of departments, managers) or technical personnel (engineers, skilled workers of rare specialties, etc.) receive HQS status. The Russian employer on his/her own determines the qualification of the employee and recognizes him as highly qualified.

In order for a foreign citizen to obtain a HQS status in Russia, his Russian employer shall submit an application to employ an employee as a HQS and ensure that the employee receives a work permit in Russia. The employer is also obliged to pay a highly qualified foreign employee a wage of at least 167,000 rubles per month (as a general rule).

For example, if a foreign citizen establishes a company in Russia or accredits a branch/representative office of a foreign company in Russia, it is possible to have him employed with this entity as a HQS and then use the simplified procedure of getting a residence permit. 

The advantage of receiving a HQS status is that such a foreign citizen doesn’t have to take Russian-language exam, undergo medical examinations and provide medical certificates for obtaining a work permit (of the absence of infectious diseases, HIV). In addition, HQS can issue invitations for the entry of their families’ members into Russia. Members of HQS’s family can study and work (with a work permit) in Russia. There is also a simplified procedure to obtain a residence permit for a HQS and his/her family members.

May I use a simplified procedure of getting a temporary/permanent residence permit, if I own property in Russia or act as an investor?

No, these circumstances are not the grounds for a simplified procedure of getting a temporary/permanent residence permit.

However, an investor may use a simplified procedure of getting a Russian citizenship. As a foreign investor is considered a person, who owns a share in charter capital of a Russian legal entity located within the territory of Russia, which is minimum 10% of the charter capital within 3 years before an investor applies for the Russian citizenship[9]. Such a Russian legal entity shall conduct kinds of business activities listed by the Russian government. The amount of the charter capital shall not be less than 100 million Rubles, and the amount of taxes and other obligatory payments to the Russian budget shall be not less than 6 million Rubles for each calendar year. Nevertheless, before a foreign investor may apply for a simplified procedure of obtaining a Russian citizenship, getting a temporary residence permit and then a residence permit is required.

How may I or my family members get a Russian citizenship?

There are 3 basic methods to acquire a Russian citizenship:

-      By birth;

-      By naturalization;

-      By restoration of citizenship (for former Russian and USSR citizens).

Getting a Russian citizenship by birth. A child may be granted with a Russian citizenship by birth if any of the following conditions are present:

-      both parents are Russian citizens (or one parent if single);

-      one parent is a Russian citizen and the other is a foreign citizen, if the child is born in Russia;

-      one parent is a Russian citizen and the other is a foreign citizen, if the child is born outside Russia and hasn’t been granted citizenship of any foreign country;

-      both parents are foreign citizens living in Russia, if the child is born in Russia and hasn’t been granted citizenship of any foreign country;

-      Some other cases.

Getting a Russian citizenship by naturalization. You as a foreign citizen may apply for Russian citizenship by naturalization if you meet the following requirements:

-      You have a valid permanent residence permit;

-      You have lived as a permanent resident in Russia for 5 years (with no periods living outside Russia exceeding 3 months in any year);

-      You can confirm that you’re able to financially support yourself and your family members (underaged children, disabled family members, etc.);

-      You can confirm your knowledge of Russian, basics of Russian history and Russian legislation;

-      You have renounced the citizenship of your home country (except for the countries that have dual citizenship agreements with Russia);

-      some other conditions.

Restoration of a Russian citizenship. Former Russian citizens who have given up their Russian citizenship voluntarily may have their Russian citizenship reinstated after three years of residence in Russia.

May I keep the citizenship of my home country, if I plan to obtain a Russian citizenship?

Russian dual citizenship is a complex issue. As a rule, if you become a Russian citizen through naturalization, you are required to give up the citizenship of your home country during the Russian citizenship application process.

Russia officially allows dual citizenship, if there is an international agreement on dual citizenship with a particular country. Russia has dual citizenship treaty only with Tajikistan, where the citizenships of both countries are treated as equal.

If there is no international agreement between Russia and a particular country, but a person has passports of both these countries, it is considered to be not a “dual” citizenship, but a second citizenship. In this case the Russian state (from its side) treats such a person only as a Russian citizen. This means that such a person must use only Russian documents while entering and leaving Russia, turning to Russian state bodies, etc. and cannot use a foreign passport.

How can I find in Russia a place to live and register at the address?

For relocation you would need to be registered at a place of residence, i.e. you need to establish a permanent address in Russia.

As for renting of an apartment/house in Russia, you may find private offers and advertisements on rent in Russia on the Internet.

Please note that Russian lessors (owners of an apartment/house) would ask you to provide them with the documents confirming your legal status (passport, visa/permission to stay, etc.), because this information would be required for conclusion of a contract with you. As well as that, Russian lessors have to inform migration authorities of the fact that they have concluded a contract with a foreign citizen. A term of the contract may not exceed the term during which it is allowed for you to stay in Russia. However, many lessors avoid informing authorities about the fact that they have leased out their apartment, in order not to pay additional income tax.

 



[1] Art. 6 of the Russian Federal Law “On legal status of foreign citizens in the Russian Federation”.


[2] The Order of the MVD of Russia dated 27.11.2017 N 891.


[3] Art. 11,13 of the Russian Federal Law “On legal status of foreign citizens in the Russian Federation”.


[4] Art. 6 of the Russian Federal Law “On legal status of foreign citizens in the Russian Federation”.


[5] The term of the permanent residence permit is limited to the term of a work permission granted to such a person.


[6] Art. 8 of the Russian Federal Law “On legal status of foreign citizens in the Russian Federation”.


[7] Order of the MVD of Russia dated 09.11.2017 N 846.


[8] Decree of the President of Russia dated 14.11.2002 N 1325.


[9] Art. 14 of the Russian Federal Law “On citizenship of the Russian Federation”.



We use cookies on our website to enhance your browsing experience. If you continue to use our website, we assume that you are happy for us to do this. Privacy policy.